How to use a quilting ruler without slip-sliding away

When it comes to precise piecing, which do you think is more important: accurate cutting or accurate sewing?

Cutting-or-sewingIf you said cutting OR sewing, you’re close . . . but for seams that butt, points that match, and blocks that turn out to be the size they’re supposed to be, accurate cutting AND sewing are equally important.

To whoever invented the ¼" sewing foot—making accurate seams much easier to achieve—we salute you. But the only thing we can rely on for accurate cutting (okay, besides precuts!) is good old-fashioned practice. Along with the technique for how to use a quilting ruler that we’re sharing today.

If your ruler tends to shift, slip, tilt, or slowly slither away when you’re cutting, this simple “inchworm” technique will make all the difference. Like an inchworm, it’s just a little thing—it may seem like it won’t matter much. But the next time you’re cutting long strips, give it a try. You’ll be amazed at how the technique can improve your cutting accuracy.


How to use a quilting ruler without slippage: inchworm technique

  1. With your noncutting hand near the base of the ruler, cut to a point slightly above your fingers. Stop cutting, but don’t lift the cutter from the fabric.
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  2. Keeping very light pressure on the ruler with your fingers, and without moving the cutter, bring your thumb up to those fingers. Now, transfer the pressure to your thumb and extend your fingers to brace the top half of the ruler.
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  1. Continue cutting, inching your hand forward as before if needed.

This little tip is excerpted from our “Rotary Cutting” eBooklet, which can be downloaded for free at our How to Quilt page. Download it for yourself right now and discover even more tips to help with cutting accuracy.

Now that you’ve got a tip to improve your cutting skills, it’s time to test your stripping skills—by cutting lots of long strips from your stash, of course! When your strips are perfectly cut, sew them into beautiful quilts from one of these strip-happy books.
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What tends to trip up your accuracy more: cutting or sewing? Tell us in the comments!

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