Tips on How to Cut Material for Quilting

Quilting is an art. But the most crucial factor behind creating beautifully designed quilts is cutting. Yes, you may not consider it a separate step, but cutting material accurately for quilting is very important.

If your cutting is imperfect, the seams do not match and create puckering. So if your cutting is not accurate, then all your efforts in quilting may go down to trash.

Don’t worry; cutting the fabric is no rocket science. You need to follow simple steps.

Let’s learn the steps and make cutting even more perfect.

Steps Before Cutting The Fabric

Cutting is easy if you are adequately trained. Also, there are some tools necessary for cutting. 

These are as follows: 

  • Before cutting fabric, you need to ensure that you are set with the tools. You will need a rotary cutter and mat to create accurate cuts.
  • You also need pins, rulers, a sharp needle, and thread. Having these tools will make your cutting more precise.

Now that you have your tools prepared let’s move on to the first step: Gather materials for your project. What materials do you need for quilting? That depends on what type of quilt project you’re working on.

How big is your quilt? What colours are you going to use? Now that you know what you need and what colours or patterns to use, it’s time to create a layout plan. It is where your design comes in!

After creating a design layout plan, it’s time to cut! So now that we have our schedules sorted out and everything prepared, it’s time to cut!

Firstly, both the material and the blade are aligned on the rotary cutter. When both edges are aligned parallel, it creates even pressure when cutting across fabrics or layers of fabric. 

Next, position the fabric or layer of material to lay flat against the mat, which will also be balanced.

i. Prepare the Fabric

  • Measure the cloth to cut
  • Cut the fabric
  • Pin or pinout the pattern
  • Mark the cutting lines
  • Cut the fabric and sew together the marked cutting lines.

ii. Establish the Grainline

The grainline is the line that separates the right and left sides of your fabric.

  • Cut a small rectangle on one side of the fabric
  • Place this rectangle over the other side of your fabric with the shorter dimension aligned to the selvedge edge of your fabric
  • Use your chalk marker to make marks on both pieces of fabric where they intersect, making sure that these marks are exactly parallel
  • Cut along these lines

iii. Check your Sizing

Before picking up the fabric, check to see what size your pattern calls for. I have found that 90 per cent of the time, you are cutting your fabric too small. So before you start cutting, make sure that you measure your ruler and compare it to the size of the pattern.

If you’re making a quilt top, then you can use your ruler to measure how much space is on each side of your piece of fabric. You’ll want this measurement in order to cut the right amount of material.

If you are making a quilt bottom, then measure how wide is the piece of fabric and then double it if necessary.

iv. Pin the Patterns

The first step to perfect cutting is pinning the patterns. This helps you decide which pattern will be the best one for your quilt. It can also help you decide which fabric should be used and how long the quilt will be.

So, pinning is crucial in order to know what you need to do with your fabric. Once you have all your patterns pinned, then start cutting.

You’ll want to cut faster than ever before and make sure that it’s very accurate. Remember that this is a crucial step in perfecting a beautiful design and avoiding puckering.

v. Cut the Fabric

Make sure the fabric is folded in half. Then, lay it down straight with the fold on top. Now, make a quarter of an inch cut from one end of the fabric.

Finally, turn your fabric over and take another quarter of an inch cut from the other end. You’ve now successfully completed cutting the fabric for your quilt.

Tools needed to cut the Materials

Firstly, you need a sharp pair of scissors. If you don’t have a pair, there are many types of scissors available in the market.

You also need to use a ruler and rotary cutter to cut the fabric accurately. Lastly, you will need a cutting mat to prevent your fabrics from slipping while cutting.

This is all it takes to cut accurate pieces of fabric. Now that you know what’s needed for cutting, here are some simple steps on how to cut anything else:

If it is paper or cardboard, place it on top of the mat and cut from left side to right side with scissors. 

Start by pulling out enough material from the paper/cardboard that fits at least four fingers.

Place your ruler or rotary cutter at the edge of the paper/cardboard starting from where you have pulled out your material and start cutting diagonally from the top corner downwards.

Continue cutting until you reach one inch away from one corner. Then turn around and continue cutting in a straight line until you reach another inch away from the other corner. Tie up your paper/cardboard and cut off any excess materials with scissors


Cutting a piece of fabric for a quilt is not a difficult task. However, it does require some preparation in order to save time and effort and to make sure your work will be straight and even. It’s important for you to know how to properly prepare your fabric before you start cutting. 

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