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Sewing a quilt - what cutting mat and rotary cutter?

(23 Posts)
AuroraBora Wed 18-Jan-17 18:48:51

I'm new to sewing quilts and this was originally going to be "do I need a cutting mat and rotary cutter?", but I found an old thread where the consensus was "yes, you do!", so here we are!!

I don't want to fork out loads for equipment in case I realise quilting isn't for me, but I also don't want to buy a cheap cutter that is useless!

So any suggestions for "must have" quilting equipment that doesn't break the bank? I assume I need a ruler too?

Thanks everyone! flowers

northender Wed 18-Jan-17 18:59:23

I'm relatively new to quilting, my mum is an old hand at it. Definitely a mat, ruler and rotary cutter. Have fun but be warned, it's addictive. My fat quarter fabric addiction is getting serious!

temporarilyjerry Wed 18-Jan-17 19:04:14

To start, the basics would be a rotary cutter, cutting mat and a 24" by 6" ruler. When I started quilting, I bought a cutting mat that is 18" by 14" but soon found that it is too small so bought a larger one. It's usually suggested to get one that is as big as the space you are going to use it. Omnimat 18" by 24" is the most popular. After trying a few others, I use an Olfa 24mm rotary cutter.
Good luck, Aurora. Don't forget to show us what you make. grin

AuroraBora Wed 18-Jan-17 20:11:05

Northender I'm slightly worried I will get addicted! I've already seen so many fat quarter bundles on eBay that I want!

Thanks jerry, I've seen this cutter on Amazon and it's well rated and fairly cheap:

Does that look like a good one?

I also spotted an A3 size mat that's cheap and highly rated, but am I likely to get fed up with the small size quickly?

lljkk Wed 18-Jan-17 20:29:32

Olfa cutters are the gold standard & it's easy to get replacement blades.
Why wouldn't you go for a cheaper version. I have problems with my hands so I don't want to have a cutter be one I have to squeeze.

A3 is dinky winks size. My matt is 23" by 17" grid, which I have been happy with (I have made .... 9 quilts now?)

You need the plastic measuring ruler, you have to decide now whether to work in metric or inches (sorry). Most people go for inches, at least it's easy to get patterns & divide into quarters & eighths. If you work in imperial units, a good size is the 3.5" by 18.5".

So do you have a sewing machine or do you quite like hand sewing?

it's an expensive hobby, btw, in case you didn't know.

lljkk Wed 18-Jan-17 20:31:39

A2 matt for £9.

that's 16 x 23 inches, apparently, would do. But I think (?) that one comes with metric grid... told you, you have to commit early!

AuroraBora Wed 18-Jan-17 22:17:24

Thanks lljkk, good to know Olfa is the brand to buy. I'll probably buy from Amazon because of Prime tbf even if it's a touch more money.

I'm going to work in inches, it seems wrong to work in cm for sewing! grin So A3 is too small... thanks for the A2 mat link, I agree that it looks like it's metric though, I'm gonna have a google for an imperial mat now and a ruler.

I have a sewing machine, I'm far too lazy for hand sewing blush

I know this is going to be an expensive hobby wink which is fine, I just can see me buying really expensive equipment, making one quilt and then never doing it again blush so I need a balance price wise to start off with.

temporarilyjerry Thu 19-Jan-17 18:42:27

My first mat was metric on one side and inches on the other.

Definitely work in inches. grin

You think the equipment is expensive? Wait till you start buying fabric that you don't need.

lljkk Thu 19-Jan-17 18:51:41

two/double sided measuring system is too clever, @temporarilyjerry.

It's a pain to do metric in other than inches.
I am selling some fabric on Ebay!!

temporarilyjerry Fri 20-Jan-17 17:27:45

I am selling some fabric on Ebay!!

Oooooh, fabric! grin

FrancisCrawford Fri 20-Jan-17 17:33:20

Inches here too!

If you are using a machine make sure you've got a 1/4 foot for it as it lets you see 1/4 seams without any fuss

AuroraBora Sat 21-Jan-17 14:23:16

So I bought a ruler, the cutter and a double sided A2 mat from Amazon for around £35, which isn't bad!

Thanks Francis I'll have a look at the feet I've got with my machine smile

FrancisCrawford Sat 21-Jan-17 14:48:04

Sounds great!

Hope you enjoy making your quilt. There are so many fabulous patterns to chose - have you picked one?

AuroraBora Sat 21-Jan-17 16:43:22

I'm just going to keep it simple and do squares. It's for a baby smile so it'll be a small quilt, and I'm hoping the simplicity of just squares will look good!

I have 4 different polka dot fabrics all in grey and white (to go with the mum-to-be's nursery theme).

In my head it looks classy! grin

northender Sun 22-Jan-17 09:00:17

Yes, yes to the previous poster who mentioned the 1/4 inch machine foot.

AuroraBora Mon 23-Jan-17 13:45:33

So I've been looking for a 1/4 inch foot and I'm struggling! Where can I get one from and do I need one with all the horizontal lines on that guide you where to stop?

My machine is an old basic singer, probably from the 80s, and I've previously bought a generic zipper foot that fitted on fine (if any of that helps at all!).


FrancisCrawford Mon 23-Jan-17 14:44:03

A 1/4 inch foot is one where the distance between the needle and the edge of the foot is exactly 1/4 inch.
Generally in rotary cut patchwork you have a 1/4 inch allowance on each seam so the foot makes sewing quick and easy, as the edge of the fabric is aligned with foot. It's the fastest way to do it.

You can do the same by working out which of the lines on your machine is 1/4 inch away when the needle is in the fabric. Next take some masking tape and extend this line on the bed of the sewing machine so you can put your fabric edge against it as it goes through the machine. You are probably going to be chain piecing so you want to have everything set up to make the process as smooth as possible.

I hope this makes sense!

FrancisCrawford Mon 23-Jan-17 14:44:52

Oh, cotton patch is a good online shop

AuroraBora Tue 24-Jan-17 08:59:38

Thanks smile So I measured and my current, bog-standard foot looks like the distance from needle to edge of the foot will give me 1/4 inch. So if I use that as a guide and also do your tape trick then I'll be alright when I'm piecing my squares together I think!

What about when I get to the actual quilting part, will I need a special foot for that? I've read lots of sites that say a walking foot is a must so all the fabric moves together evenly.

Cedilla Tue 24-Jan-17 09:10:57

A walking foot is helpful if you're going to machine-quilt, yes. But they do tend to be expensive. I hoard enormous amounts of fabric and fool myself that one day I will make dozens of stunning quilts quilt a bit and I tend to hand-quilt because I find it relaxing and I like the home-made look of it. I haven't tried machine quilting on any scale, what about the rest of you lot out there? I'd imagine it could get tricky without a walking foot?

temporarilyjerry Tue 24-Jan-17 12:09:33

I've been hoarding fabric and fooling myself I'll get round to quilting for about three years now and have only just got a walking foot. In the past, I have done stitch in the ditch or shadow quilting.

AuroraBora Wed 25-Jan-17 19:13:11

What's shadow quilting jerry?

As I'm only doing squares i did think I might just stitch in the ditch or follow the edges of the squares, so just straight lines basically!

temporarilyjerry Thu 26-Jan-17 21:21:06

Shadow quilting is that, Aurora, following the edges of the squares (or whatever shape your pieces are. It makes the quilt a bit puffier than stitch in the ditch.

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