Squaring Up the Fabric
The key to successful rotary-cutting is to "square up" your fabric before you make the first cut. Squaring up means making one edge straight and at a 90-degree angle with the fabrics’ fold; all remaining cuts will be measured from this straight edge, so squaring up the fabric edge is an important step. There are several different techniques for this, some of which involve the use of two rulers. For clarity and simplicity, we have chosen to describe a single-ruler technique here.
Lay your fabric on the rotary mat with the right side down and one selvage edge away from you. Fold the fabric with the wrong side inside and the selvages together. Fold the fabric in half again, lining up the fold with the selvage edges. Lightly hand-crease all of the folds.
Position the folded fabric on the cutting mat with the selvage edges away from you and the bulk of the fabric length to your left. With the ruler on top of the fabric, align a horizontal grid line on the ruler with the lower folded fabric edge, leaving about 1" of fabric exposed along the right-hand edge of the ruler. Do not worry about or try to align the uneven raw edges along the right-hand side of the fabric. If the grid lines on the cutting mat interfere with your ability to focus on the ruler grid lines, turn your cutting mat over and work on the unmarked side.
Hold the ruler firmly in place with your left hand, keeping your fingers away from the right-hand edge and spreading your fingers apart slightly. Apply pressure to the ruler with your fingertips to prevent it from slipping as you cut. With the ruler firmly in place, hold the rotary cutter so the blade is touching the right-hand edge of the ruler. Roll the blade along the ruler edge, beginning just off the folded edge and pushing the cutter away from you, toward the selvage edge.
The fabric strip next to the ruler’s edge should be cut cleanly away, leaving you with a straight edge from which you can measure all subsequent cuts. Do not pick up the fabric once the edge is squared; instead, turn the cutting mat to rotate the fabric and begin cutting strips.
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