5 Quilting Secrets from the Pros
Courtesy of OLFA®
Quilters are not born. They are made. Anyone can learn to quilt with a
little patience and precision, and it all starts with preparing your quilt
pieces the right way. Whether you are a beginning quilter, an expert, or
somewhere in between, we’ve gathered some time-saving short “cuts” to
confidently take your work to the next level.
LIFE'S TOO SHORT FOR DULL BLADES
Keeping OLFA rotary blades and
scissors sharp is the easiest, most efficient way to guarantee clean
cuts every time. There are many tips and tricks out there that claim they’ll
keep blades sharp, including tools like self-sharpening cutting mats. But
the truth is, replacing your blades often is best if you want to do your
finest work. The smartest quilters are also some of the best bargain
hunters. Watch for sales, or use in-store coupon apps to stock up on blades
and scissors at your favorite craft or quilting stores.
MAKE THE MOST OF CUTTING MATS
There are many different types of cutting mats out there that have the
potential to make the cutting stage simpler than you ever thought possible.
cutting mats are self-healing, keeping the mat like new as well as
protecting the blades that are doing the cutting. The OLFA rotating rotary
cutting mat, available in both
12″ square and
17″ square sizes, is a must-have for quilters of all
levels. It allows you to turn the mat instead of the fabric, keeping cuts
precise and quilt pieces consistent every time. If you are an on-the-go
quilter, one essential tool is the new OLFA folding mat, also available in
two sizes—12″ x 17″ and
17″ x 24″. It will quickly become your go-to portable
mat because it folds to half-size to fit into most carry bags, and is
designed to be completely seamless when opened.
WORK AT THE CORRECT TABLE HEIGHT
Your cutting table is not just a place to cut fabric. But we don’t have to
tell you that. Most crafters spend most of their project time at the cutting
table. This is where ergonomics, which addresses optimum comfort and injury
avoidance, come into play for quilters. Customizing your table height
prevents hunching over or standing on tiptoes, reducing the chance of fabric
and tools slipping while you’re cutting. If your table’s legs are
adjustable, you’re in luck. If not, you’ll have to trim them down to lower
the table height or secure blocks beneath them to raise it.
BUY QUALITY FABRIC
Notice we did not say, “Buy the most expensive fabric.” Pay close attention
to the selvedge before making your purchase. If the pattern is not straight
on the selvedge, you will never be able to make it stay straight, no matter
how good your tools are. Also, fabric that is starched stiff by mills to
make the pattern run straight may not hold so nicely after it goes through
the wash. A clever trick is to tear your first cut before mass-producing
individual pieces to ensure you are running straight on the grain.
ALWAYS CUT PIECES IN ORDER
Improve cutting efficiency by cutting strips first, then
individual pieces. After trimming off the raw edge of your fabric, cut
all of the strips necessary to be sub-cut into quilt pieces. Next, use
OLFA cutting mat and
OLFA ruler as guides to precisely cut each strip, using an
OLFA rotary cutter, into the shapes and sizes needed
for your pattern. This takes some planning, and your math skills might
be tested, but it can also help guarantee that pieces are consistent in
shape and size. The result: Cleaner seams when sewn, and a more
professional look when finished.
There you have it. These
five simple secrets will help to lay a precise, “clean-cut” foundation for
your entire quilting project. After that, the rest is easy!