Cutting Fabric for Patchwork

When I made my first quilt as a present for a friend’s baby, I cut all the pieces out by drawing around a cardboard template and cutting with scissors. I cut 36 squares from each of the three fabrics I used making the patchwork making a total of 108 squares. There is only so many individual squares a girl can cut out with one pair of scissors so I folded the fabric into thirds and cut three at a time. This method did have the advantage thar I could adjust the placement of the template to give more pices with full birds on them but the movement of the fabric meant that not all of the squares cut at the same time had the pattern in line with cuts. I did manage to find a way around the problem which you can read about here.

When I embarked on the second quilt, I wanted to cut more accurately to make the sewing part of the project a bit more enjoyable. There are a lot of interesting posts about the best way to cut out fabric on the internet and most of these suggest that a rotary cutter and cutting mat pairing is the best way for accuracy. With that in mind, I decided to splash out on a few more sewing goodies. It has been an expensive couple of months so I shopped around online and manage to find an A3 cutting mat and rotary cutter for about £8 on ebay. The cutter in particular looks as though it is not quite as sturdy as the one that most bloggers use but as an experiment, it is a cost effective tool for trying out cutting fabric this way. I also bought an 18″ ruler to use as a cutting guide.

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If you look at the spots along the raw edge of the pruchased fabric you can see that the print is not aligned with the raw edge.

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In order to cut nice neat square that line up with the print, the first thing to do is quare off the fabric edge:

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Next, using the newly cut edge as a starting point, measure the width you want and mark it.

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The fabric can be folded at this point so it all fits on the mat and then cut. The markings on the mat help to ensure the cutting guide is straight.

If you are cutting a lot of strips, it is worth squaring it off again after a few cuts in case it goes off grain.

Overall, the cutting out took about a quarter of the time that cutting the squares for the first quilt did. Additionally, sewing the suares together was a lot quicker and easier becauseall I had to do was match up the raw edges and use the quarter inch foot to guide the seam. So, without pinning and using the presser foor to guide the seams, I was able to assemble the quilt with almost all of the corners matching up.

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