Cutting by the mat

Before I start this quilting post: a lot of Wee Play is still available right here. I have seen a lot of appeals for sources of it lately, so dig in! They even have a charm pack at half price.

Sometime in the last few months, my mother said something about “cutting by the mat”. In this approach, you use the markings on the mat to measure your cuts instead of a ruler (though you still cut with a ruler to make sure you cut a straight line). It made perfect sense to me, and I had the vague idea that I had done it at one point while cutting lots and lots of strips off of a big piece of fabric… and then my mind wandered elsewhere.


And then I finished sewing the double-hourglass blocks, and suddenly needed to find a way to square them up. After pressing, they are anywhere from 8.25″ to 8.5″ on a side, and that just won’t do. I spent several days trying to figure out how to square them up, and finally, the answer came to me: cut by the mat.

I started out by aligning the squares on the mat like so, evenly straddling two lines 8″ apart, and with its 45-degree seam matching the 45-degree line on the mat.


I then cut the left and right sides of the block off, to match the lines on the mat.


Then I turned the block 90 degrees and again stradded it over two vertical lines 8″ apart. I also made sure that the top and bottom were parallel with lines on the mat, and… if possible… and I live in a maddeningly a-geometrical world where it isn’t always… if possible with the 45-degree lines matching again.


And again I trimmed the left and right edges to match lines on the mat.

Advantages of this technique: I managed to get pretty well-centered 8″ double hourglass blocks without having to go out and buy a new Omnigrid.

Disadvantages of this technique: my cutting mat now has permanent ruts along those vertical lines. Well, you win some, you lose some.


One thought on “Cutting by the mat

  1. You know, that final product looks pretty darn good! This must be “learning geometry by quilting.”

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