Basic Rotary Cutting Tutorial

Materials needed:
Rotary cutter with a sharp blade.
Rotary mat.
Non-slip Ruler, I like to use a 24"x6" and a 12"x6"
To start lay your material out flat on your rotary mat. Lay the edge of the fabric to the left. As shown in the image above. Fabric is folded in half so I am cutting a 22" strip.
Lay your ruler along the left edge of your material and trim the edge square. You are squaring up your fabric.
Remove material that you've trimmed away.
I will be cutting 2 1/2" squares. 
Use your ruler to measure and line up 2 1/2" from the left side. As shown in the image above.
Cut with rotary cutter.
You will have 1- 2 1/2"xWOF (width of fabric) strip.
To cut a second strip move your ruler over 2 1/2" from the previous cut line. Then cut again.
You will have 2 - 2 1/2"xWOF strips.
Take one of those strips and lay it horizontal on your rotary mat. I will now use my smaller ruler.
Cut off the selvage to square up the fabric.
As you did before use your ruler to measure 2 1/2" from the left side of your fabric. Cut.
Now you've got some perfect 2 1/2" squares.
To continue cutting your strip into 2 1/2" squares you will continue to use your ruler and cut from the left.
This method works great when cutting several strips, squares or any type of rotary cutting.

I use an Olfa Rotary cutter, Olfa Rulers and Olfa Rotary Mat.
(I was not compensated in any way by Olfa)

Hope you learned something new today!

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  1. Thanks! I am definitely having trouble getting exact sizes! I notice you don't use the lines on the mat at all - I think that may be where I am screwing up (trying to line up with those lines)? Do you use them at all (and if not - why are they there?)?

  2. I use the lines cause I don't have a see through ruler. I am just building my supplies and your little tutorial has brought me closer to spending my money on a see through ruler instead of more fabric. Thanks Natalia.

  3. Oh so difficult to be left handed in a right handed world. Any one up for doing it again, lefty this time.

  4. I struggle with my rotary cutter and so have abandonned it. I find I have to go over each cut 2 or 3 times to get it to cut through the fabric. It's done this since the day I bought it so I don't think it's the blade.

  5. Thanks for posting this. When I started sewing I really didn't know how to use my cutter, ruler and mat together.

    You did a great just of explaining how it's done!

  6. This is in reply to your email.
    I did enjoy the rotary cutting. I would like tutorials on how to piece things like triangles. It is often difficult to see how things should go together before being sewn. Also how do you ensure that a log cabin quilt is done accurately? That would also make a good tutorial. Thank you!

  7. Excellent tutorial! I think a good tutorial and one that doesn't get too much attention, is cutting to minimize scrap. While we all love our scrappies, we can wind up without enough material if we aren't careful and have a limited supply!

  8. A tutorial on quilting and cutting circles would be helpful.

  9. This is nice! I just forwarded it to a new quilter who just joined our group. She'll be thrilled ... everything's new to her!

  10. Just a thought...you could just expand this one a bit and lay some strips (wof) across on your mat horizontally....to show how to cut many squares the same size at one time, with one swipe of the cutter?? You could make it continuation from this one..just a couple of pics. too.

  11. thanks for teh tip on cutting. would love to see more cutting tutorials

  12. I love the designs and would love to win this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  13. could you do a tutorial on how to do curved piecing? i'd love to incorporate some curves into my quilting, but i don't really want to applique. thanks for your help!

  14. Brilliant. Even though I am somewhat experienced now, always find something new to learn. Only comment is that the non slip rulers I have DO tend to slip. Tried the sticky pads, they came off. Tried my own version of tiny bits of sandpaper attached, they make the ruler unstable! Any ideas for how to stop ruler moving would be gratefully received. This is something that drives me demented! LOL Also, some tips on how to cut fabric that is wider than your mat - I know about folding but how can you guarantee that the underneath fabric won't move?? Just bought a Sizzix cutting machine for the basic shapes so hoping that might help but would appreciate lots more on cutting techniques, particularly accuracy.


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