Even A Beginner Can Cut Strips Accurately Using A Rotary Cutter.
I’ve wrecked many a piece of fabric when I first started out. The rotary cutter would tilt inwards towards the ruler, then suddenly bounce off and cut a wonky line into the next piece of fabric. After that happening a few times, it left me just short of the fabric I needed to finish my quilt. I’ve also cut going slightly off the grain line when making a small caddy that should have had nice tight corners to stand straight. needless to say, some of the fabric bulged in the corners and there was no way to fix it. Spoilt. It’s a little challenging to cut yardage when you first start out. Using this square up method is really helpful.
Keep the selvage at the top. That way you’ll know you’re cutting with the grain of the fabric. Straight, accurate strips are essential for perfect blocks that lay flat and smooth without pulling. Follow the tutorial for tips on cutting accurately with a rotary cutter.
So, how do you know you’re cutting straight strips? Fold a fabric strip in half. Then hold up the fabric strip, keeping the selvage at the top. If you turn it to the side, you’ll notice it does not line up nice and even. Then, if you grab it at the fold and let it hang, you’ll see that the edges where you folded the fabric, are not lined up at all.
Here’s what to do. Fold it over, then fold it again. Take your time, it takes practice, even to get the folding right! Smooth it out with your hands. Then line up the bottom fold with one of the lines on the cutting mat. Put your rotary cutting ruler down on the side of the fabric. Then put a square up ruler down on the fabric at the fold. You can get a square up ruler with a sticky film on the ruler. When you put it down on the fabric it will hold on to the fabric quite firmly. If not, simply press down firmly on the ruler with your fingers, not the palm of your hand. This helps to prevent the ruler slipping. Make sure that it’s straight all the way across.
Cleaning up the edge with a rotary cutter: Line up the ruler about half an inch in from the edge. Now you’re ready to cut. Hold the ruler down really firmly with fingers as shown, not with the palm of your hand, and slice with your rotary cutter, firmly and smoothly. When rotaring, keep your forefinger on the ridge markings on the cutter and push down quite hard. Slice it right through with one cut.
This video tutorial on how to cut strips accurately really helped me. A few tips was all I needed and now I seldom make those beginner mistakes.