Secrets/Tips – Cutting Part 1

All of us quilters at one time or another have had to cut some fabric, somehow, some way.  Following are dirty little secrets and/or tips for cutting.

1.  Forgot to close the rotary cutter after each cut.  I know, you lay the thing down thinking you will just pick it up in a second, no real need or reason to pull that blade back and close it up! Right….  So, you cut fabric where you didn’t mean to or nicked yourself on wrist, hand, or finger while moving fabric around or picking rotary cutter back up.   Oops, nobody noticed, right!  But, you did draw blood, didn’t you?  Tip:  Close the blade on your rotary cutter ANY time you lay it down.

2.  Cut yourself SERIOUSLY with a rotary cutter.  These blades are like more than RAZOR SHARP, ya dig?   I’m so very careful when I cut the wrong way (toward yourself or under another hand) (Tip: you really should NEVER do either one of those.)   One night, I did almost cut a part of my index finger of my left hand  (about the size of half a small pea) (I’m right handed)  and I was just straight cutting the “best” way, away from me with the rotary in my dominant hand!  (Tip: do not operate rotary cutters under the influence of drugs [especially the ones that say don’t operate heavy machinery – yeah, I know it’s not heavy or machinery, but it is dangerous!] or alcohol, take it from me, I learned from stupid is as stupid does experience.)  Well it didn’t fall off, but it might/should have.    It bled all over, luckily not on my fabric (I’m not that stupid! Ha!), but enough so I had to stop what I was doing for the night.  As a matter of fact, the next day when I took the bandage/gauze off to redo it, and I’m not that squeamish by any means, I almost had to sit down, not quite fainted, but felt kind of queasy  – didn’t choose to get a tetanus shot, but I seriously thought about it!  Let’s just say, it bled profusely, butterfly bandages are great, and it took 3 weeks before I didn’t have a bandage on my finger. Ya’ll are so lucky I don’t have a picture of that!   TIP:   BE CAREFUL WITH ROTARY CUTTERS, CLOSE WHEN NOT IN IMMEDIATE USE, AND BE EVER SO CAREFUL IN HOLDING YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE RULER. Also, they now make a safety glove you can wear to hold the ruler – has grippers on it, and your fingers are safe.  There are also finger guards for rulers.  Yeah, I should get one of those things, ya think?

3.  Cut part of the finished quilt top or back while trimming threads.    <Insert your favorite curse word here, cause you probably said it when you did this! or go here for your most likely typical expletive> You try to be careful, but every now and luckily very infrequently then, you just screw up and put a tiny nick in your finished quilt!  Ugh, it’s okay.  A) either no one will ever notice, B)  you can put more quilting over it, C) it was on the back and you can put a small patch no one likely will ever notice,  and/or D)  you have you explain you can be a bit of a klutz 1 out of a 1000 times! Tip: You have to be careful even with scissors, not so much to cut yourself, but NOT to cut your fabric/quilt where you don’t mean to.

4.  Cut a block, strip, or border the wrong length or width.  This has to do with either measuring wrong or calculating wrong.  If you cut it too big, you’re okay, just trim a little off.  If you cut too small, then you have to add and have a seam where you might not want one, or use more fabric, and cut again, or worst of all, have to go buy more fabric.  Don’t beat yourself up over it, seriously, we have all done it.  Just move on and fix it.  Tip:  Measure and calculate twice and cut once. 

5.  Put a cut line in your counter or table because you went beyond the mat.  I’m sure I’ve NEVER done this <sheepish grin>.  Luckily, each of my oopsies were only an inch or so, and not very noticeable.   Tip:  fold fabric so it fits on the mat, and if you can’t do that, be very careful OR buy a bigger mat.

6.  Vowed to buy a larger rotary mat. 🙂 See #5 above.  Truthfully, there are times when an 18″ X 24″ mat is just not quite big enough, especially when cutting long borders and trimming the quilt edge before binding or cutting bias binding.   It helps if you use your 24″ cutting ruler as a guide to not go off the mat, except when you cut at an angle across the mat.  Tip: Sometimes, if you have two smaller mats, you can set them next to each other for added length or width.  Only problem is that where the mats meet, your rotary cutter will not cut that tiny groove.  Easy fix, cut the length, then move your fabric that tiny bit towards you and onto the closest mat to get the missed grove OR buy a bigger mat.

With that, I will finish this post.  There is more on cutting though,  at least 10 more secrets/tips!

Leave a comment and let me know if you have every done any of these things!

One thought on “Secrets/Tips – Cutting Part 1”

  1. I learned about not snipping fabric with trimming threads the hard way. Making my home economic apron in sewing class first of high school. I had to have an advance lesson on patching. I can’t look at yellow gingham now, without wincing.

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