Sunday, April 24, 2011

You HAVE to meet Rachel...

I have been following Rachel's Blog since I started following blogs.. She's Amazing...

Hello there! I'm Rachel from Stitched in Color, where I share my passion for color and modern design in stitches. Looks like you all are having a great time here. Thanks for having me! I'm stepping in today to talk with you about cutting, but I see that Rebecca has already done a great tutorial with all of the basics. Let me see what I can add!

Last fall I led Colorbrick: a beginner's quilt-along, which showed my readers how to make one of my original designs and my very first quilt over a long series of posts. Rotary Cutting 101 included tips like how to keep the ruler from slipping. Your ruler may have a side that's slightly "grippy" or barely textured. Check and see! Always place the grippy side down on the fabric. Also, see how my hand is raised in a "spider" position? This works better to prevent slipping than placing your palm flat on the ruler.
I also check that the fabric is completely free before moving the ruler, and I like to avoid repositioning my fabric at all costs!  This saves time, since you don't have to re-align straight edges.  If you have a small mat, you can simply rotate your mat, while holding the fabric flat, to situate yourself for the next cut.  Or, you can move from one corner of the table to another to access your mat from 2 sides.
My next cutting tutorial in the Colorbrick Quilt-along showed how to cut fat quarters to make the brick blocks used in our quilt. Rebecca's already covered most of those basics! But, if you're new to rotary cutting, you may be wondering how to approach a large piece of fabric. It's one to thing to manage a itty whitty fat quarter, but what about 3 yards! Where do you start to create a straight edge? How do you fit the fabric on a small mat?

My tutorial on cutting yardage and making sashing will help you conquer those big pieces! Your first goal is to accurately fold the fabric so that you can make a straight edge on the true grain of your fabric. You'll want to match up the selvedges and then shift and slide your fabric in the air until it hangs flat.
Wondering why your fabric must be in the air? This is the critical part. Keeping the selvedges aligned, shift the fabric as necessary so that there are no pull lines and the fabric hangs flat. This shifting is similar to how sliding doors move on a track. Depending on how straight the fabric store cut your fabric, you may need to shift just a little or a lot. Having help at this step is critical with a large length of fabric (like 3+ yards).

Next, my tutorial walks you through folding your fabric...
Be very careful when you fold! Every fold introduces an opportunity for wavey edges.  Try to keep the fabric that remains on the table very still and match up the first fold to the selvedges carefully.

The last step before you're ready to cut is to align your bottom folded edge with a horizontal line on the cutting mat.
Try to disturb the fabric as little as possible.  Depending on your situation it may work well to pull the fabric down towards a horizontal line or instead to move the cutting mat under your fabric to align.  As shown in the previous step, use your hand to press down on the crease to see where the fold will hit the cutting mat when the ruler is placed over your fabric.
Place your ruler over the right edge of your fabric and trim off whatever is necessary to make an even edge.

After that you're ready to cut strips of whatever width you desire - for sashing, patchwork, anything!

I hope these tips and photographs give you a little more confidence when wielding a rotary cutter. For more detailed, step-by-step directions, you can find links to my complete tutorials at the Colorbrick Quilt-Along menu.

Thanks again for having me, Rebecca. And you all enjoy your quilt class! I hope to see you again sometime at Stitched in Color!

See, i told you she was great!!... Thanks Rach for stopping by xxx


  1. Oh my goodness!! That's the same quilt design I sent to you for your class and here I thought I was being original. I guess I'll have an extra resource now :) Is that cheating? lol

  2. Thank you for the tips on cutting large pieces of fabric!

  3. I agree! Rachel is one of my favorites!

  4. After just making my first (and second soon after) Colorbrick Quilts, I have to agree that Rachel is quite wonderful!!

  5. I'm loving all the instructional info I'm reading here and now I'm off to investigate some of Rachel's links. Thank you.

  6. Thanks for reminding me of this tutorial. It's helped me very much. I have a small mat and I was quite afraid of cutting large pieces of fabrics. Then I found Rachel's tutorial and it worked very well :)


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