This is somewhat of a follow up from yesterdays post about Fabric Cutters. As I said, I get lots of e-mails and phone calls about which Fabric Cutter is the best etc. Typically the first thing I ask is, "What are you planning to do with it?"
I know for myself I first became interested in buying a Fabric Cutter when I participated in Karen's I-Spy Block Exchange. I cut so may 5 x 5 or 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch blocks (I can't even remember now) with the same ruler. I'm a pretty particular person (just ask MJ) when it comes to cutting. There were so many different size blocks when I was finished I was frustrated and disgusted. Because the blocks were going to be swapped, I certainly did not want to be the one swapper that gave blocks that you could not have a 1/4 inch seam allowance and still come out with the same size block as the rest of the swappers. So I bought an AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter. All my blocks were exact and that was huge for me.
So, what is it that draws you to a Fabric Cutter? Is it your hands? If you have pain in your hands or are unable to use a rotary cutter safely or easily then you may find a Fabric Cutter a great way to continue doing the hobby that you love for a very long time. If it is your hands....are you going to be able to comfortably turn the handle on a Fabric Cutter? Are you wanting to cut a few layers at a time or do you want to cut more than 6 at one time? Is it time you want to save? Are you planning on making kits where you will be using your cutter more than a few times per month? Are you mainly cutting blocks, strips, circles, triangles or do you love applique and want to be able to cut some fun designs that are almost impossible without a Fabric Cutter?
Not everyone needs a Fabric Cutter!!! Viral advertising in the quilting world has had a bit of a backlash lately and some people are tired of even hearing about these products. My position is, the more information you have the better you are at making a decision about if you need one and if so, which one is best for your particular needs. No need to keep up with the Jones folks....keep the joy of quilting in focus and use the tools you need to achieve these ends and you will have just what YOU need and not what someone else needs or has. (Don't I sound like a Mom?....yikes, I thought that would never happen to me...never say never ay?)
If you use a rotary cutter without pain or discomfort I think you need to know about the following templates for cutting shapes. They are a wonderful alternative to dies that can be expensive.
I own this ruler and it is a great ruler. It is the perfect everyday 4" x 18" ruler with an added bonus of holes every ½" in the center to quickly mark circles up to 34" in diameter with ease. It can also help mark scallops on quilt borders! You will need a marking pencil or tool that will fit into the holes. A Gel Pen works great for me.
The Circles and More Ruler has ⅛" and ¼" marks along the edges with ½" dotted lines and 1" solid lines so that it's not too cluttered! It also has a 30º and a 45º angle for reference along with the circle holes.
With a little math and pre-planning the ruler can help you mark beautiful scallops on the borders of your quilts. Three-quarters of a circle for the corners and half circles placed in between.
You fold your fabric into quarters with the folded corner facing the bottom of the template and cut circles from 2 to 8 inches. You will need a 28mm rotary cutter to cut with this ruler.
Use the same as above but you get circles from 4 to 12 inches. You will also need to use a 28mm rotary cutter.
Again, works like the ones above but you will get circles from 6 to 17 inches and it requires a 45mm rotary cutter.
Cuts circles from 2-10 inches and requires a 18mm rotary cutter.
If you cut a lot of hearts this template would be a great alternative to using a Fabric Cutting die.
You can cut 5 sizes of hearts from 4 1/4 x 4 inch hearts to 10 1/2 x 11 1/2 " hearts using the EZ 18mm Rotary Cutter.
Cutting or Marking Scallops
I think these are neat for cutting or marking scallops:
This one works the same and the one mentioned above it has Arc lengths of 6", 7", 8", 9" and 10".
Cutting Strips, Blocks, Rectangles, Diamonds,
Hexagons and Triangles
Exact Eighths Ruler
You can cut multiple strips quickly and accurately in all increments of 3/8in and 7/8in. These eighth inch increments are used for popular quilt blocks, such as half-square triangles and flying geese blocks. I layer up my fabric and don't have a problem getting my cuts accurate.
Use as traditional quilting rulers or cut in slots. Use cutting slots to safely cut multiple strips quickly and accurately. Turn the ruler after strips are cut to complete squares, triangles, diamonds and hexagons. Cutting slots great for cutting perfect fringe. Right or left handed use.
Shape Cut for Strips/Block Template
Cut multiple strips from 1/2in up to 12in, 1/2in increments. Save time on repetitive cuts for strip quilting. Turn Shape Cut after strips are cut to complete squares, triangles, diamonds or chevrons with ease. I use this one when I cut strips for my coil bowls. I fold my fabric in layers and put the ruler on top and get to cutting....no problems with accuracy here :)
The Shape Cut Plus is 12"x 18" and there is a 1/4" line that will let you cut in 1/4" as well as 1/2" increments. Just cut strips, then turn for complete squares, triangles, diamonds, chevrons and hexagons. You can even cut several layers of fabric at one time. The slots will hold your cutter in place, so it can't shift.
The Shape Cut Pro has rotary cutting slots in 2 1/2in increments to easily cut strips and squares. Perfect for creating your own 2 1/2in jellyrolls and 5in charm squares. Extra large 20in x 23in grid allows you to quickly cut full width of fabric.
This ruler allows cuts in multiples of 2-1/2in, so 5in charm squares and 10in layer cake blocks can also be cut quickly and accurately. Works perfectly with pre-purchased jelly roll fabrics, fat quarters, or any fabric a Quilter may have in their stash.
The ruler has a guide to mark the sewing and cutting line. Center your square on the 45-degree marking and square up the finished block. Piece two half- squares together to make perfect quarter-square triangle.
This template is great for cutting 60 degree diamonds. You can cut 1in to 6in diamonds in 1/4in increments without measuring. Simply place slotted ruler on fabric strip and cut in the slots.
So, how many of you learned something from this post? Did you know about all these rulers/templates that are relatively inexpensive compared to cutting dies for Fabric Cutting Systems? They are also easier to store and you probably already own a good rotary cutter and mat right? I'm not trying to talk anyone out of buying something they may want and or need....however I like to know my options before I invest.