First, let me say how much I have appreciated everyone on this forum. Y'all have been so warm, welcoming, and giving of your time and information. I have learned so much already!
I'm making the "Baby's First Christmas" quilt from the Dec/Jan 2012 McCall's Quick Quilts.
As I'm sure with any quilt, it calls for making a LOT of squares.
The trouble I ran into was in the cutting of the squares. I had 10 different fat quarters and was cutting 2-7/8" squares from them. It was a LOT of material to cut for a newbie like me.
I have a 1-yard wide cutting board, ergonomic rotary shears, and a great ruler. I have all the tools. But man - I just wasn't getting the whole "precise" part of the cutting. Some squares came out 2-5/8", some came out 3"!
Anything I can do to get better at cutting squares - or is this something that comes with time and practice?
Thanks again for your advice and support!
Rachel in East Tennessee
It is so easy when cutting a lot of pieces to misalign your ruler. I've done it many a time. Try putting a post it note or piece of tape next to the proper mark on your ruler. That seems to help me.
Not sure what you mean by cutting board and rotary shears.... do you have a self healing cutting mat and a rotary cutter? You should be able to cut your squares by cutting a strip first, then cutting the strip into squares. I would use a 6 X 24 Omnigrid-type ruler. Check, then double check your mark before cutting. It's easy to make a mistake if you're not careful with your measurements! I bought some bright colored 1/4" rolls of a tape-like product to apply to my ruler to make sure I don't make a mistake. It's sold in packs of 3 by the cutting notions.
Rachel - they have these things called static strips - you place them on the back side of your ruler so that each time you cut - you cut in the same place. they are reusable - movable and easy to get -
It is difficult sometimes to cut the same pieces the same size if you aren't used to it - I always say measure 3 times and cut once.
There is another thing that you can get from June Taylor that you can place over your fabric and it has grooves in it to cut through - only problem with it is that the smallest measurement is 1/4" but I also use static strips on it for the different lines to make sure I am using the right spot.
Althea :they have these things called static strips - you place them on the back side of your ruler so that each time you cut - you cut in the same place. they are reusable - movable and easy to get -
Thanks Thea! I was trying to come up with a name for them and my brain just wouldn't work! I use them all the time because after a while, I'm on auto-pilot and make mistakes. The strips ensure that I place the fabric under the right mark!
Sheri - not a problem - they do sell the static sticker stuff in large sheets to so you can use it for recutting the same type of template... I bought a large package about 15 or so years ago and still use that same stuff - just cut a piece off and go on...lol
Rachel, are you using the ruler or the mat for the measurements? I have better luck when I use the markings on the ruler - that is, the strip I am cutting goes under the ruler to the measurement desired and then I cut.
Here is a video demonstrating that. Hmm, sorry, you may have to put up with an ad at the start of the video.
On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)
Definitely use the ruler for all measurements. I personally like to use the unmarked side of the mat if it has one so those lines don't even tempt me or foul me up.
Also make sure you hold your ruler securely. Mine will sometimes slip on me as I am cutting.
make sure your fabric is straight before you cut strips or squares. QCA has some good videos with helpful tips. In this video Jodie demonstrates how to cut straight strips. Once you have that you can cut squares from your strips.
Rachel, I am so glad you asked this question because I do just fine the 1st couple cuts and then like you I end up w/ strips or squares that aren't all the same measurement. And I don't usually find this out until I start sewing them together. As suggested us the ruler for measuring, this i found is my biggest mistake.Practice is my next best advise and I am awful at taking this advise because I tend to get impatient.
Remember there aren't any quilt police, have fun.
Just thought of something else. Make sure that you true up the edge every time you move the fabric you are cutting. I do this by making sure that the inch line is on the fold before I cut. Often times I have to trim and wouldn't have thought it necessary.