Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, & Maintenance

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McQ U - Rotary CuttingWatch the video...

Ellie Brown shares rotary cutting tips, including equipment choices, basic technique, and how to safely change and dispose of used blades. If you have problems running the video, click here for troubleshooting tips.

 

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Step-by-Step Instructions

Rotary cutting has revolutionized quiltmaking! Were it not for these wonderfully handy gadgets, millions of quiltmakers would not have joined the quilting craze. Using cutting tools safely and accurately is very important, so we want to share a few tips for beginning rotary-cutters.

Step 1. After being cut or torn at the store and then washed and ironed
at home, fabric is almost never straight and ready for rotary cutting. It is imperative that you start with a straight edge across the width of the fabric.
Bringing selvages together, allow fabric to drop in front of you.

Keeping selvages even, scoot fabric along with your fingers until it falls perfectly straight. The raw edges where fabric is torn will probably not match up.

McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance

Step 2. Lay fabric on cutting mat with folded edge toward you and raw edge to be straightened facing right (left-handers facing left). Place 6" x 24" rotary-cutting rule on fabric, aligning one of the crosswise measuring lines along the fold. Pressing down firmly on the ruler with your left (right) hand, cut upward, or away from yourself, along the rule edge. Some people prefer cutting part way, stopping the cutting motion but not lifting the cutter, moving the left (right) hand up, then finishing the cut.

McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance

Step 3. Turn cutting board around so that newly straightened edge is facing left (right). To cut strips, find line on rule to match width of strip desired. Place this line exactly on cut edge of fabric and cut strip.

McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance

Rotary Cutting Frequently Used Shapes

McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance

Perfect squares: Align 1 or more strips of the same width and trim ends to get an even starting point. Make cuts the same width as strips were cut.

McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance
Half-square and quarter-square triangles: A square cut once diagonally makes 2 half-square triangles: a square cut twice diagonally makes 4 quarter-square triangles.

Rotary Cutting Strip-Pieced Patchwork

Strip-piecing refers to rotary cut strips of specified widths being sewn together on long edges to make strip-pieced units. McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance
When creating strip-pieced patchwork, it is wise to press seam allowances in opposite directions so that long units can be layered for cutting quickly and will later be easy to sew. In the photo, seam allowances were pressed toward the light floral fabric on both strips. McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance
Strip-pieced units are cut apart, segments positioned to make patchwork, and sewn together. McQ U - Rotary Cutting Basics, Safety, and Maintenance
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