I have only been at this for a couple of years and am new to the community. I finished two twin size quilts for two grandkids for Christmas. I tried the wash, dry, iron and straighten before cutting and still had the same problems with uneven and lopsided cuts. I am now looking at different fabric cutters and my question is, "Do you still have to make sure that your material is perfectly straight?" I tried the rotary cutters but after cutting my thumb really bad I've gone back to using my scissors (like my mother-in-law did). I fondly signed the quilts "Grannies puckered quilts" so will use the same name here :) Thanks for all the help.
I'm fairly new and had the same problem. Here's some things I did. 1) always square up your fabric before starting. If u aren't sure how, ask at your local quilt store and they will be more than willing to show u how. 2) make sure your rotary cutter blade is sharp. 3) firmly hold your ruler down and "walk" your hand up it (again your local quilt store can show u how. 4) don't cut more than 3 or 4 layers. 5) check for square after every 2 or 3 cuts. 6) I took a couple beginners class war JoAnns and they were very helpful. And if u can find some quilters in your community, get to know them. I have NEVER met a quilter that didn't mind helping. They are the nicest people out there. And new quilting friends are like family. Good luck.
Sharon, I would never be able to cut accurately with scissors. Rotary cutters and good rulers really are a must for me. If you have safety problems with rotary cutters you might consider getting a pair of the Klutz gloves.
1. Line up your ruler accurately on your fabric and hold it down firmly
2. If you have a long cut, like WOF, walk your fingers up your ruler to hold it in place while cutting.
3. Be sure to hold your rotary cutter is perfectly straight and not let it tilt side to side. Otherwise you will cut your pieces a smidge too small or too large.
4. Don't "iron" pieces, "press" them carefully to avoid stretching out of shape. I stopped using steam except for when I need somethingbulky to lay really flat.
I rarely pre-wash fabric as I like the sizing which I feel makes the fabric easier to handle. (also, I'm a bit lazy) But others always pre-wash so take your pick
I do like how you signed your quilts, "Grannies puckered quilts". Cute.
In the beautiful Pacific Northwest!
Thanks so much. I really enjoy making things with my hands. Making baby quilts for my youngest grandson when I first started about 4 years ago was a lot of fun, and much smaller than the twin/full that I try now :) I bought a Juki a couple of years ago as I thought mu problems were because of the Singer I had. Finally I've had to admit it's me. I was hoping that the fabric cutters would be an answer as I am beginning to have back trouble and the standing and bending is a little too much for me these days. I'll try the rotary cutter again but for wof pieces it's a little hard to manage. I really appreciate your thoughts and am glad that I'm not the only one who isn't into the pre-wash activity. Are there any video's out there for a "beginning 101" grannie? Thanks again, Sharon
Sharon I use different methods for straightening my fabrics.
For smaller pieces I like to pull a few threads out crosswise and lengthwise to find the true grain line. I then line up lines on my ruler with those pulled threads. I know it's straight. I learned this from hand embroidery where I would pull the thread all the way through then cut the line with scissors.
For larger pieces I use this method. Here's a video demonstration.
Thanks so much for replying. I've moved to a small town (*really small) and am not aware of any quilter's in this area. Will ask around the next time I get to town to grocery shop:) I had asn addiction to Fabric.com before I retired from teaching and my goal is to make a LOT of really nice quilts for my kids and grandkids now. I'm beginning to doubt that I can read the quilt rulers correctly. I'm really excited about learning and hopefully will find a video, etc. that will show me what I'm missing here.
Thank you so much. Watched the video, will go back to see what other video's there may be to help me. What would you do if you have a 4 to 5 yard piece?
I find that if I make a mistake in cutting I can most often make up the difference in the 1/4 inch seam allowance. I don't think I have ever made every single piece cut perfectly for a quilt I have made. In my hands there will always be an oops here and there, it just happens (for me anyway).
I recently started with rotary cutters and find that things are much better using good rulers and rotary cutters, but even then I still have little dips and angles that need correcting.
Compensating on the piecing (sewing) side has been pretty good so far. I piece and quilt everything by hand, so perhaps this cannot be done using a machine, I don't really know. I admit I do get a few small puckers, but nothing too far weird or wonky. Should something not fit together with the seam allowance adjustment, I always have enough extra material to go get another piece cut if it's too far gone.
Missouri quilt company has videos. Friend them on Facebook for frequent offerings
I too started having back issues when cutting so I bought a higher table, counter height, and this has been helpful. You might find using one of the cutting machines helpful that they sell at Joanns. I don't have one just have thought about it.
I live out in the middle of nowhere, Colorado, and we recently formed a quilting group. It's mostly about one very generous quilter who is helping a score of would-be quilters. So if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere. Just ask around. Your local fabric/quilting store will help you organize as well.
Take advantage of classes wherever and whenever you can afford them. It's not only a great way to have your questions answered visually, but a good way to meet people who will be glad to help.
Hello Sharon, I read all the posts and I have something to add. if you go to fabric swaps group, there in the pages you will find guidelines for fabric cutting starting with how to and why to always start with a straight of grain piece. in here you will find information of cutting long yardages as well, BUT if you are new to cutting you may find it easier to cut in 1 to 1.5 yrds at a time. And you will notice that during the cutting if you do go 'off' you can just trim off the slivers and go to cutting straight again. pay very close attention to the slippery rulers, if you need to , purchase some sticky dots for the bottom of the rulers until you do get use to using the mat. ruler and rotary cutters. hope this helps. one more thing it is easy to learn with the two ruler method, & to cut wof by folding into quarters. I wrote the lesson for fabric swaps, so if I can be of further help please do not hesitate to PM and friend me .
If it is puckering, you may want to think about a walking foot. I found I couldn't keep the fabric from puckering without one I'm better now, barely.
I've tried to different ways to get the material "straight" but am still challenged with it. I carefully lined up the Omnigrid at 2 inches for the Churn Dash I'm starting for my daughter. I'm still using scissors and really took my time cutting the w.o.f strips but when I used the smaller ruler to do the 6 1/2 inch cut I still had some wavy places. What I'm considering is the accuquilt, or similar cutting system. My concern is that if I can't get the hang of straightening the material then I'm going to be having the same challenges. I'm not planning on being an 'expert' but all the money I've spent on material already and the amount of time that it takes to produce a quilt challenges me to find a way to finish a product that I can be proud to pass on to my children. I really enjoy making things for my kids and friends. I've read all the posts here and am really thankful for all the help and encouragement. I plan on going to the pages that you recommend tomorrow. After the disappointment this evening I'm going to take a deep breath and sleep on it. Thanks again, Sharon
Lots of good hints coming in. Might I add my two cents? When I start a new cut (even if it is one cut from a local quilt shop, I always tear the fabric to see the true grain line. Don't yell at me quilters....I then cut another two inches down from that for first WOF cut. Sure I lose fabric with tearing and stretching the material but at least I know how it is coming on the bolt and can see the absolute straight of grain. Also, those five inch wide long rulers is a must have. I suction cupped a large bathroom handle onto that big ruler and it never slips for my WOF. I make sure I line up the vertical line of ruler to the bias edge of fabric to double check everything too. My biggest change in cutting was a hint from a well-seasoned quilter. She asked if I cut per the lines on the mat to which I was. Well, now that I flipped the mat to where there are no lines and used two rulers, my cutting was not wider on one end. Seems the lines on mat do separate.Another problem I had with cutting was I did not write down which ruler I used in cutting the first few blocks. Then when I cut the remaining the next day or so, they did not finish out the same. I was shocked that one brand ruler does not necessarily cut the same as another brand. Go figure.