If you cut your fabric wrong, there is not an easy “undo.” If you sew wrong, you can get out your seam ripper. However, once fabric is cut – it’s cut to stay.

More than once, I’ve had to go buy more fabric because I’ve cut wrong and used all my fabric.

Here are my best tips for cutting fabric while you are quilting, so you won’t make the same mistakes.

Don’t Cut Yourself

Rotary blades are sharp and dangerous. Respect the blade!

Replace your rotary blade

If you have had your rotary cutter for a while, or you’re picking it back up after a hiatus, double check your blade. If it’s not cutting easily, replace your blade. It will make a world of difference.

Pre-wash it all (or none of it)

No middle ground. Otherwise, when you finish your quilt and it gets washed for the first time, some fabric will shrink and some will not… resulting in something strange – and you will be sad.

Follow these instructions to pre-wash your quilt fabric.

Measure twice; cut once

If you cut before thinking things through, you might find yourself running back to the fabric store because you ruined your fabric. Ask me how I know.

Make sure your selvedge is straight

Fold it so the bias is straight (so your fabric isn’t biased)

Iron before cutting

Just to give your fabric the cleanest cuts possible.

If your fabric has a wrinkle in it, re iron. Don’t cut wrinkly fabric. If you don’t have a clean, well-measured cut, you won’t start on the right foot for sewing.

Keep a lint brush/roller nearby

Bits of fabric will get everywhere. If you have pets, pet hair will get everywhere. and, of course, lint. So be prepared to dust things off every once in a while. 

Cut out your selvedge

Do not get selvedge into your cut pieces- even in seam allowance. Selvedges will shrink differently and will cause problems.

Prevent nicks in your cuts

If you are worried about nicking/ not following the ruler, put the measured part under the ruler and that way you can’t nick into the part that matters.

Re-adjust your fabric often

Fabric has a tendency to move on your cutting mat when you cut. After a cut or two, check your measurements and adjust your fabric.

Cut all the way through

Don’t move or lift up your ruler until you are sure the fabric was cut all the way through. Cut, then try to move the fabric. if it is still stuck to the ruler, re cut.