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quilting do i NEED a rotary cutter and mat????

(18 Posts)
mothersmilkandherchickenseggs Tue 19-Nov-13 12:53:40

iv never made a quilt before tonight i ma intending to begin my first grin but i do i really need a cutter and mat can i not just use my fabric scissors to begin with? (im scrimping as much as possible).

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Tue 19-Nov-13 13:00:50

You do, you do grin They actually make it sooooo much easier to cut the pieces accurately (along with finger tips if not careful lol) esp if you're doing anything more than decent sized squares stitched together.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 19-Nov-13 13:06:25

If you're doing English patchwork (fabric folded over paper templates and sewn together by hand) then no. If you're doing it with a sewing machine then the cutter and mat will make it much, much faster.
If you really can't stump up for the mat and cutter, you could make a card template and draw round it onto the fabric and cut the pieces out individually but if you're doing it that it will take longer, the edges won't be as clean, and you mustn't be tempted to fold the fabric over and try to do a few at once. But with a cutter and mat you can do quite a few at a time.

If you get seriously into quilting then the cost of the mat and cutter (and ruler) will be a drop in the ocean compared to the amount you will spend on fabric....

mothersmilkandherchickenseggs Tue 19-Nov-13 13:07:25

oh sad (i really do want one) i cant justify buying one at the mo. I kinda thought if all went well with this attempt and i got hooked that i would buy one. Do you think there is any chance i can get away with not using one this time??

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 19-Nov-13 13:18:52

It's just so much easier to get good results if you have one. What pattern and what size pieces are you planning? If you're doing really big squares it might be ok, but the more pieces you have the more important the mat and cutter will be.

Yes, they are a real help. I've just bought a new cutting mat - it was only £12.50 for an 18" x 24" (which I think is the most useful size you can buy). It was from Fabric Guild and they also have some rotary cutters for £6.50 (not tried them - I have one of the Olfa ones which are a bit more expensive)

Dontwanttobeyourmonkeywrench Tue 19-Nov-13 14:52:28

I bought my cutting mat from the craft section of one of the bookshops. It suits me because I only work in cm not inches and the best ruler that I have is an architects metal ruler, so you don't really need to get expensive stuff if you're not sure. I have one of the cheaper rotary cutters (as well as an expensive one) and the blades are definitely the biggest expense.

I'm with Turnip re. fabric. My friend and I have so much fabric between us that we are looking into a wardrobe for it all. The postman just rolls his eyes everytime I have an order come through and DH is so used to it that he kindly brought the package that arrived to me with a resigned "I suppose that is more fabric" look grin I may have asked for credit for my favourite online fabric shop for Christmas blush

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 19-Nov-13 16:28:17

I've seen cheap cutters in The Works.

You could buy the cheapest version of everything and replace each as and when you need to, if you get hooked. As long as the blade is new the cutter should still be ok.

574ejones Tue 19-Nov-13 18:28:20

I have made two quilt tops without a rotary cutter and it is a total pain, but doable. I made the first one like this in a week, though it was just squares.

I'm lusting after a Big Shot cutting machine - does anyone use one of these?

ChocolateHelps Wed 20-Nov-13 19:35:22

I made a couple if small dolly quilts with precut squares before I decided I was well and truly hooked and stumped up for mat, rulers and rotary cutter. Christmas is coming..... Maybe someone would happily buy for you ?
Agree that the cost of the equipment is very soon dwarfed by essential fabric stash gringringrin

I'm afraid I think you would be better off with one as well. You could use a metal ruler but a metal ruler will not make sure your corners are square the way a quilters ruler would. They also aren't marked out to allow you to cut at various angles either.

That said, with my first quilt 16 years ago, I didn't have a mat or ruler and I made do with scissors and borrowing a ruler and rotary cutter when I could (I did an evening class for 10 weeks) so it is do able but not recommended. I hand sewed most of it so any poor cutting I could adjust for when I sewed it all together.. I don't think you will get accurate 1/4" seams with a machine if the edges are not completely true which in turn means any points you were hoping for might be difficult. It is possible but it is so much easier if you have a mat, ruler and rotary cutter although one ruler is never enough, it is more accurate and it is quicker.

You could always get a starter set then you only fork out once and you have all you need.

The problem is despite the image of people using up old scraps of fabric and making do with what they have, patchwork and quilting is an expensive hobby. There is always equipment that will do things better or faster or more accurately and that is without the all important fabric stash.

Privatebanker Thu 21-Nov-13 11:25:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Privatebanker Thu 21-Nov-13 17:36:36

OP--have PM'd you

JamNan Thu 21-Nov-13 18:17:51

I have made a few quilts now (still learning) but I wish I had got a rotary cutter from the beginning. It is so easy to use and you can pile the fabric up and cut out loads at once but the best thing is that all the shapes are accurate. well most It did take me a lot of practise before I got used to it though.

I've had a small cutting mat for years which is about 18 x 24 inches in size and it's adequate for my needs. I recently cut squares for a double quilt and it only took me a Sunday afternoon.

I gave up with the metal rule and now use a quilter's ruler instead. It's much easier because it has measurement gauges on it plus you can see the pattern underneath.

I hope Father Crimble brings you something nice for your stocking. smile I get lots of fabric from charity shops or eBay. Sheets (also off eBay) make good backing cloth.

I think I must be addicted! grin

Privatebanker Mon 25-Nov-13 17:32:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fossil971 Mon 25-Nov-13 19:02:01

I have one of the bargain rotary cutters from Fabric Guild, it seems to be fine, and my mat was an ebay find. If you are doing any regular amount of quilting I'm sure it's worth investing. I've got about 150 squares of felt to cut out this evening and now it's just like, that will be a 15 minute job with the rotary cutter. You find reasons to use it!

Gatekeeper Mon 25-Nov-13 19:23:05

I must be the odd one out then as I don't like my rotary cutter; have made quilts for years and bought myself the mat and cutter to make my last one but gave up after a day and went back to cutting out by hand.

LovesBeingHereAgain Mon 25-Nov-13 19:39:48

Op totally what I was wondering as well. I've been struggling with getting the accurate sizes with scissors. totally what I blame my non matching squares

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