Of all the tasks you must complete when getting a quilt project prepared to load onto a quilting machine, none is more time consuming than that first step of cutting out the individual pieces for your quilt top.
The excitement and anticipation you may feel to get stitching on a longarm like the Grace Qnique 19 quilting machine may be consuming you already; however, you need to get through those initial steps first.
Want to quicken the process of cutting out your quilt pieces so you can get to the actual quilting part faster?
Try these efficient rotary cutter tips to speed things along so you’ll be loading the assembled quilt sandwich on your Q'nique machine faster than ever before!
1. Use the Right Cutting Tools
To achieve clean, quick fabric cuts so you can get to the actual machine quilting faster, it’s essential that you start off with the tools that will work best.
Invest in a sturdy ergonomic rotary cutter and a supply of wheels in multiple sizes so you always have a sharp one in the different sizes you’ll need.
Purchase a reputable brand, as off-brands made with cheaper materials tend to dull faster.
Always use your cutter on a self-healing cutting mat to avoid damage and keep it sharp.
2. Prepare the Fabric First
Make your fabric easier to work with by pre-washing and drying it first, then pressing and lightly spray starching.
That bit of stiffness and crispness makes it easier to cut through the fabric without it wrinkling under the blade and rulers so you get a clean cut with less effort.
3. Match the Selvages
The last thing you want to see as you’re stitching your project together on your quilting machine is that the pattern is off, making the whole project not look right.
Remedy that problem by folding the fabric over and matching the selvages to ensure the pattern is straight before you do any actual cutting.
Once the selvages match, you can trim the top and bottom straight, then continue making your cuts with the pattern properly aligned.
4. Invest in Rulers
Rulers are a quilter’s best friend, at least next to their rotary cutter!
For your cutter to work properly and efficiently, it’s critical to use high-quality rulers that allow you to align the blade properly next to them while providing the grids and measurements that will help to keep all your cuts straight.
Precision cuts that come out straight reduce wastage and the need to cut again, helping you get behind that Grace quilting machine faster.
Rulers should also be both small and large enough for your various cutting needs so invest in a good selection of brand name acrylic rulers with grid markings in multiple sizes and shapes.
5. Alignment and Angles
Use those clear, marked acrylic rulers to keep the fabric straight by aligning it to the grid on the rulers, not the grid on the cutting mat.
Check for square and correct angles before you cut or you might have trouble piecing the quilt top together with the quilting machine the way it’s supposed to be.
Measure twice or three times if necessary and cut once so you can get through cutting your pieces faster and onto the assembly of the quilt top.
6. Fold for Shorter Cuts
The longer the cut you make with your rotary cutter, the greater the chance that the cut will be off by the end of it.
Shorter cuts to make smaller pieces and charms to be stitched together on a quilting machine are easier to keep more precise.
If you have longer pieces to cut, fold the fabric once or twice and cut through multiple layers so the cut itself is shorter and more precise.
7. Make A Good Cut
After preparing the fabric, matching the selvages and trimming it straight, then aligning and double-checking your angles, make your cuts.
Hold your rotary cutter at a 45-degree angle and push forward in one motion to make a crisp cut through the fabric layers.
Cut from one end of your fabric to the other with enough weight on the blade to push it slightly into the mat to make a clean cut.
Save Time With These Quick-Cutting Tips!
Cutting fabric into the small pieces that you will eventually stitch together into a quilt top can be tedious and time-consuming.
If you take a few minutes beforehand to make sure you’re using the right equipment and have correctly prepared the fabric, you’ll get through the trimming and be ready to use your Q’nique quilting machine in to time at all!