Quick Rotary Cutting

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Everyone needs more time in their life to do the things they want to do, right? As a busy wife, mother, blogger and quilt pattern designer I need to take advantage of every time saving tip I can find!  So when Amy Smart asked me to share one of my quick quilting tips as part of her new blog series, I had a hard time deciding which one!?!

One of my favorite tips these days is one that may seem obvious to many but isn't a method that I've always used.  It's a quick and accurate method for rotary cutting lots of squares or rectangles at once.

Many times in the past I've ignored the grid lines on my cutting mat and just used the lines on my ruler to cut what I needed.  I'd cut a strip and then one by one I'd cut lots of squares.  I felt like it was the most accurate.  But it definitely took a LOT longer.  Am I the only one that did it that way???

These days, when I have to cut, like three hundred and eighty-four squares for one project, I use this quick rotary cutting method:

First, I lay my folded fabric on my mat with the folded edge along one of the lines on the mat.

Then I square off the end of my fabric by lining up my ruler on one of the lines (at the end of my mat) perpendicular to the fold, cutting 90 degrees from the folded edge.

Then I start cutting my strips.  For this particular project I needed to cut 16 strips, crosscut into a total of 384 squares. Since I can't crosscut 16 strips in one shot (because my ruler isn't long enough) I did it in 2 batches of 8 strips each.  As you can see I don't move the fabric at all.  I just use the grid lines on my mat and the lines on my ruler to make sure I'm cutting straight lines the width I need.

After I cut the strips, I start crosscutting.  First I cut off the selvages.  

Then I use the grid lines to crosscut the strips into squares, making sure my ruler is straight along the mat grid lines.  I'm very careful to not bump or lift the fabric when moving my ruler for the next cut.

Cut as many squares (or rectangles) as you can get from each strip and discard the ends.

Then, remove the squares from the mat and cut the next batch of strips!  And, if your anything like me and my silly-self, you can pick them up in a checkerboard fashion just to see a fun pattern!

Oh, and here's another little tip I use all the time:  

After you've done a lot of cutting, use a lint roller to pick up all the leftover fibers from off your mat!  This is especially useful if you ever cut minky!

Well, there you have it.  A quick and accurate way to cut 384 squares in a fraction of the time!

Be sure to stop by Amy's blog, Diary of a Quilter to find the rest of the links to many more fantastic quilting tips!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber