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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Tutorial: Charm Squares - An Easy Way To Cut Multiples Quickly

So I need to cut a large number of charm squares for a quilt top I'm making for a course at The City Quilter, Manhattan next Thursday.

Could be quite a task but I do have a fantastic piece of kit that I'm going to share with you - June Tailor's Shape Cut Plus Ruler.  I was introduced to this gadget by Karen Haynes, a tutor at CQ.  Using the Shape Cut Plus should make very light work of cutting up the fabric. The ruler is 12" x 18" with vertical slots for cutting guidelines every 1/2". 



And here's how I did it - the fabric colours aren't the best to show up against the colour of the cutting mat so I hope you can all see it properly.



I need 72 accent squares - 24 from each of the 3 coloured fabrics and then I need a further 72 squares from my main fabric.  Each of the three accent fabrics is 42" wide so I can get 8x 5" squares from each width (40") and I'll need 3x 5" cut widths to create 24 squares.

Iron the fabric and fold it in half lining up the selvedge dots so the selvedges from both edges can be removed in one cut.


Fold the fabric in half up to selvedge edge again


Lay the fabric on the cutting mat and place the Shape Cut Plus over it lining up the blue '0' horizontal line parallel with the folded edge of the fabric - at the same time line up the vertical '0' with the raw fabric edge, making sure that when you cut this edge any unevenness will be cut away to leave a straight edge line on the fabric.



As I want 3x 5" strips I have marked the Shape Cut Plus with pink tape at the 0/5/10/15" slot lines so I can use these as my guide and know I'm cutting through the fabric at the right place - this takes all the anxiety out of cutting!


If you are right-handed place your left hand on the Shape Cut Plus to hold it in place on the fabric - though I have to say it stays in place really well anyway (if you're left-handed work from the opposite side).  Place your rotary cutter into the slot guidelines of the Shape Cut Plus, start closest to your body and slice away from you through the fabric at the 0/5/10/15" markers.



I've moved the fabrics apart a little so you can see how I've done the cuts - takes seconds, amazing!


Now you can remove the edge cuttings and the remainder of fabric that you won't be using.

There're two ways to do the next cuts and which you chose depends on if you want to save another few seconds of cutting time and have 2 scrap pieces left over or would you prefer to have 1 larger scrap piece left from your cutting.  Anyway, here's the two methods and you can decide what works best for you.

left column - quicker method/centre & right column - larger scrap method

Larger scrap piece - At 5" widths you can only cut the next stage 2 strips at a time. Unfold each strip of fabric so it is now folded in half instead of quarters.


Turn the Shape Cut Plus around 90 degrees and place it back on the fabric being sure to again line up the '0' cutting line with your selvedge edge length line and the '0' blue horizontal line with the edge of the fabric width.


Cut the 0/5/10/15" line through the 2 strips of fabric and then move the final section of each strip along and cut another 5" square from that.



Repeat with the 3rd fabric strip. 

Slightly quicker method with smaller scrap piece - You can leave the fabric folded into quarters and cut the 90-degree cuts from there at 0/5/10" in the same way as above but this way you get 2 smaller strips of leftover fabric.


Iron flat any squares that have a fold line in them.


All in all, it took me less than an hour and that includes all the ironing, photo and note taking -not bad eh?  I can't believe it - I'm all done, everything for my quilt top is cut out and ready for class, it took no time at all and wasn't the chore I imagined it would be thanks to using the Shape Cut Plus - oh and, of course, I should say a big thank you to Tatty who, as you can see below, has been busy helping me :)


If you can't get the hang of my instructions June Tailor has done her own excellent demo which you can view here: Shape Cut Plus Demonstration Video.


Click this link to see all of my Tutorials, Hints & Tips

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.

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20 comments:

  1. Love love love it!!! I am going to have to go find the Shape Cut Plus Thank you!!!!

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    1. Ann Michelle you can get it loads cheaper on Amazon but I was worried about copyright and all that so I thought I'd better link directly to June Tailor's site in the article. Anyway here's the Amazon link and hope you love it as much as I do
      Amazon selling June Tailor's Shape Cut Plus - $25

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  2. What a wonderful tool you've got there! It sure comes in handy for cutting borders and binding strips too! Will have to get me one too, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Be sure to check it out on Amazon - I've put the link in my reply above to Ann Michelle :)

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  3. That is pretty cool ruler you've got there! I may have to get one. I love the picture of your little helper! So cute!

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    1. Thanks Candace - the ruler is well worth trying. I was checking out your blog and love your mitred corners tutorial, might give it a go for the border of a quilt I'm making right now :)

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  4. Why don't I have that template! That is amazing. :) Anything for making cutting easier is fantastic in my books, cutting is so boring! lol

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    1. I was thinking the same about your Dresden template! Can't wait to see what you do with that quilt and the fab fabrics :)

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  5. Love the ruler! Tatty is adorable!

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    1. We both have fab furry friends helping us! I love your photo of all the stuffing on the floor, made me smile - that's been a very common scene in our home courtesy of our many furry friends over the years :)

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  6. Hi Chrissie! Popping over from Lily's Quilts. I haven't tried the ruler, but I have seen it demo'd. What a great timesaver! And isn't City Quilter a great shop? Have fun in your machine quilting class! Nice to meet you.

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    1. And to meet you too. By the way your quilts look ab fab on your blog Header, makes me want to get outside to take photos of my quilts. If I was at my home in England I could do some great shots in all the trees and stuff but here I'm going to have to venture out to our apartment block's roof garden and hope I can get it to myself for a bit. :)

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  7. Wow, I have never seen that ruler. I dont know howm many hours of my life have been spent cutting strips.

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    1. It's a really great tool Mina, I love this one and also my Bloc-Loc for half square triangles :)

      Have no idea how I missed seeing your comment before, I just came across it when I was reading through my old posts, sorry it took me so long to reply!

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  8. I've just come across this post, wow that ruler looks amazing! I wonder if I can get one over here? I shall have to look into it! Great tutorial thank you :-) x

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    1. Oh the ruler is just the best Sarah - if you can get hold of one do, you won't be disappointed. If you can't get it in the UK let me know and I'll get one to you, you just have to have one! :)

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  9. Looks like an invaluable tool, Chrissie. I am SO slow at cutting out... whether it be with scissors or a rotary cutter.

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  10. Your posts are so nice! I love your blog!

    Thanks so much for sharing at A Peek Into Paradise TGIF Link Party.

    I hope you will come party with us next week and see if you were featured! http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/

    Have a great week!

    Hugs! Cathy

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  11. Hi
    I am in Brazil but would like to buy a ruler of these, is to give me the price including shipping fees ??
    His works are beautiful
    grata

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    1. Hi Roberta, glad you enjoyed my review of June Tailor's Shape Cut Plus Ruler, I love the ruler too. I don't sell products myself but here's the 'contact us' link at June Tailor's website - hopefully they can advise you on sellers who deliver to Brazil. Thanks for visiting my blog - Chris :D

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Chris Dodsley