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How to Use a Rotary Ruler & a Cutting Mat When Quilting

Learn how to use a rotary ruler and a cutting mat from quilting expert Cathy Izzo in this Howcast video.


Today we're going to talk about rulers and mats, you can see as I have set up here mats come in a variety of sizes. Little tiny ones, larger ones and really big ones, and I would say for a first timer buy the largest mat you can afford or have a place to put because you will be happy you did later on. You just need a better, bigger cutting surface.

So they should always go on a flat surface. Sometimes you can put a little something underneath it. A little plastic disc, but usually the mats stay pretty well in one spot. You never want to put them directly in front of heat, heating vents, or leave them in the sun. You don't want to keep them rolled up. You want to keep them flat and they will last for years.

They are self healing which means when you make a cut it just disappears. And you need to use a self healing mat with a rotary cutter otherwise your blade will just dull incredibly fast and you will be changing blades all the time. So you want to make sure you are using the right kind of mat. You can also see here they make rulers in many many many sizes. For your first ruler, if you are starting out, I would recommend the 6 and half inch by 24 inch because it's the length of the fabric you buy. But when you start quilting you might want to have a variety of rulers just to make life easier.

There's squares there's 12 inch squares there's 6 inch squares there's triangles, and there's even these great curvy rulers for cutting curves, so it's a vast world of rulers. And they all help make quilting easy. This is a particularly interesting mat because it rotates. Which is really nice when you are cutting something that has a lot of sides to it. So you can start here and do this and instead of having to move your template and lose your place, you just swivel the mat, and that makes life a little bit easier. And makes your pieces more accurate and accuracy really what we are looking for when we quilt.

Okay we talked a little bit today about rulers and mats. Mats you should get the largest size you can possibly fit in your space and rulers 6 by 24 should be your first. But after that, go wild feel free to experiment with all the different kinds of rulers out there.

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