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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tool Time with Staci and her Shape Cut Ruler Tutorial ( psst 2 guests today )


Hello there!  I'm Staci, The Confused Quilter
 Thank you, Madame Samm for having me here today!  Isn't Tool Time a wonderful theme?  I've discovered several new tools that are now on my wish list, and I'll bet you have, too! 
Today I'd like to show you a tool I have come to LOVE so much I have more than one. It's The Shape Cut Ruler.  When I first saw one of these rulers I thought, "How dumb!" Then my hubby bought me one, and Wow, I totally changed my mind!! These rulers are wonderful for cutting strips and squares.  Such a time saver, and very accurate results.


Shape Cut Rulers come in several sizes and configurations.  My favorite is the Shape Cut Pro.  It has a 20 X 23 grid, with slots every 2-1/2 inches.  This ruler is perfect for cutting 2.5 inch strips (jelly roll size) strips, charm sized squares, and layer cake sized squares.  
Image from June Tailor, Inc. 
The Shape Cut Ruler is very simple to use. See the bold line at the bottom of the ruler on Line Zero?  Line up a straight edge of your fabric with that bold line.  It can be an edge that was cut straight, or it can be the fold in the center of the yardage.  I find you can easily and accurately cut up to 4 layers of fabric. 
As you know, fabric can be slick, and this plastic ruler has a slick surface.  If you aren't careful, the ruler can slide across your fabric. Here's how I keep things still and stable: a pair of 5 pound hand weights.  
The weights keep this ruler (and any ruler) from scooting around.  Do a few bicep curls  and quilting can become part of your work out!  ;-)


Here you can see the fabric lined up with the bold line. 
Place the blade of your rotary cutter in the first slot and take a slice. The first cut gives you a perfectly squared up edge.  Next, find the correct slot for the size strip you need, and slice!  Keep slicing until you have enough strips, repositioning the ruler as needed when you have cut all the fabric beneath it. 
When the ruler  is removed you can see the 5 inch wide strips I have cut.  There is very little waste with this method, just the little bits of scrap of the right and left sides.


Next, I removed the fabric scraps, then rotated and re-aligned the ruler on the long edge of my 5 inch strip.  Then I put my cutter in the appropriate slots, and made charming cuts!


In just a couple minutes I have 48 perfect charm sized squares!


This Shape Cut ruler also lives at my house.  The gridded area is 12 X12 and the slots are 1/2 inch apart.  This ruler is now available in a 12 X 18 inch size, and it's on my wish list! I often use both rulers together.  For instance, I might use the Shape Cut Pro to cut 5 inch width of fabric strips and then switch to my smaller Shape Cut ruler to cut those strips at 3 inches wide to make 3 X 5 inch rectangles.  
Image from June Tailor, Inc. 


Here I've made the 1 inch sashing strips. Quick and easy, very little waste, and not a wonky strip in sight!


Here's a tip: Use little post-it notes to mark which slots you will be using.  In this photo I have flagged the correct slots to make 3.5 inch wide cuts.   Also note 45 and 60 degree angles are marked on the grid.  If you line your fabric up on the angled lines you can cut triangles, diamonds and hexagons. 

Another tip:  I store my rulers on the wall behind the door in the sewing room.  
Keeps the rulers from getting bent, and keeps them out of the way until needed.
(center ruler is my 20-1/2 inch square Creative Grids ruler)
If you'd like to see the Shape Cut Ruler in action click here for a link to a 3 minute video.  I am simply not co-ordinated enough to use the rotary cutter and take photos at the same time and keep all my fingers intact, and oh, how tragic it would be if I bled on fabric!!

The only downside to these rulers is the price, they are on the expensive side, but watch Joann's and Hobby Lobby for sales and 50% off coupons.  Overstock.com, Nancy's Notions, and Wal-mart often have them on sale as well. Remember, like any ruler, this is an investment.  Buy it once, take good care of it and use it forever!  I think my rulers are worth every penny.  I am always a happy quilter when I can cut with these rulers.

Thank you, Madame Samm, for letting me visit Sew We Quilt, and thank you for all you do for the entire online quilting community!

Happy Stitching, everyone!

STACI


40 comments:

  1. We have these for our classes - the ladies just love them - especially for cutting sashing! We use the sand dots to help hold them in place.

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  2. I have one of these rulers and I love it as well. Thanks for sharing it with all the people here today.
    The only thing about it that I would like to change, is I wish it would be made out of a stronger acrylic. But, mine is over 10 years old, so maybe now they are. It is just a little more flexible than I think it should be. It was a gift and I didn't even quilt back then. Who would have thought that 10 years later I would be using it to quilt?

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  3. I love the look of these rulers. I am off to the Puyallup sewing and craft expo in March so hopefully I can pick up a bargain. I am putting them on my list of gadgets to get. Thanks for the intro.

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  4. Wow, Must have one of those!!!!
    Gun, Sweden

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  5. Thank you for the tutorial. I saw one of those rulers at Spotlight (Aussie chain store) a few days ago and didn't have a clue how to use it....Now I know. Once the heatwave is over I may just have to take a trip to Spotties!

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  6. Hi Staci,
    I found these about 18mths ago and aren't they fantastic! Good idea about the stickers, I got a bit smarty one day and wasn't checking where I had my thumb,, and ended up with some 2 1/2" strips and some 3"!!! was a waste then, lol.
    Cheers

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  7. Looks like a pretty nifty ruler Staci, thank you.

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  8. I think I need one of those!

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  9. I've had the smaller one for years. Both ends of mine cracked, probably from picking it up so much, but I just taped them and it still works wonderfully. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Great tips - and finally, a use for all those exercise weights I bought years ago in an optimistic moment! :)

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  11. Awesome rulers! Another addition to my shopping list.
    I have a similar one that is for perfect HST and it is awesome. As a new quilter, it has helped me make my first quilt which is primarily HST. Very easy to use even for the novice like me.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  12. I have one of these rulers and I use it all the time with fantastic results. It was worth every penny!

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  13. Hmm, interesting. I've scoffed at them as well but maybe I'll give it a go, now. :)

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  14. Great information and I'm thrilled to see this wonderful ruler is now in a smaller size too. I've got the larger one but am loving that it is now available in that smaller size. I had no idea but it's definitely going onto my wish list. I would love the smaller one. Thank you for the info about this smaller size.

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  15. Great post -- I've added this to my birthday wish list! LOL Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful tool with all of us!

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  16. I love June's rulers. My first one the half & quarter square was a godsend for mini quilts. Just bought the one with half inch slots and I am saving up for the first one you mentioned the 20x23!!! I think I will hang them on my wall too. Good idea!

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  17. Good Morning STACI, welllll I have 2 of these, 2 one still in the wrapping skin....I never knew how to use it....ok, this is just too easy...someone mentioned sand dots.... I think Sharon up there...cool idea for weighing it down I think that is why I never used it, I did not think I could put much weight behind it to keep from sliding...great tut, great shots..now I am going to make some squares...the video great idea...

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  18. Thanks for the tutorial! I have seen these rulers around but never used one. I love the idea of using hand weights to keep everything in place. Great tip!

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  19. Thanks Staci for showing us this ruler. I have one but was afraid to use it because I wish it was made out of a harder plastic or something. But I will give the weights a try and see if that works....

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  20. Looks like a handy tool! I like tools that have more than one use.

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  21. I have one of these and love it! Mine has been used and abused though and the blade slits are now wonky. Thanks for the inspiration to replace it. I'll try the Pro that you mentioned ;)

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  22. I have two shape cut rulers (the same one) because I have two sewing areas - upstairs and downstairs - and I find them indispensable - fast, accurate, and yes, slippery... I love the weights! I always knew they would come in handy for something someday!!!

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  23. I love these rulers. My go-to ruler every time. I must get the 2.5" one however.

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  24. Thanks for the great tut Staci! I have one of these in my ruler stash and will definitely give a try now. Love how you cut all those charm squares so quickly.

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  25. I like how you store your rulers, great idea!

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  26. Great tutorial Staci! Keeping my eyes peeled for a coupon and using some birthday money to pick one up next time I'm in town.

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  27. I love my Shape Cut ruler and use it so very much, yes, it was a bit expensive, especially here in Ontario where I live, but so worth it and my arthritic wrist and fingers don't get over used during my cutting of the strips that I need.
    Great tips for storing and for placement of post it notes to keep yourself on track of the sizes your cutting, love the pictures you left us with, nice cuts and a good review of your favorite tool. Thanks

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  28. Thanks for the lesson on that ruler. I have seen them but never tried them. I think I will now.

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  29. I have 2 of these and they are indispensible as far as I am concerned.

    I have mine hanging on the wall by my cutting table.

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  30. Great tutorial!.I have seen them but I haven´t tried them.

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  31. Shape Cuts rule the world!!! Couldn't live without mine. Worth every penny. Makes me feel like a superstar!

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  32. This was all very useful info! Thank you so much for sharing. I definitely could have used this ruler last night when I seemed to be having a strip cutting party all by myself ;-)

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  33. Awesome! I shall take the plastic off the one I have!!!

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  34. Great tut! I was wondering about how to keep it from sliding around--those weights are an ingenious idea! thanks!

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  35. I have one of these that I purchased years ago to cut strips for fleece tied blankets. I need to try this out. Thanks.

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  36. Wow. this all makes sense when you read it again. Never did understand the directions before. Now I need one. Cheryl in Victoria Thanks for clear directions

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  37. Great tute Staci and an AMEN! I love, love, love my Shape Cut Plus (12x18)! I cut everything with it and over time have found it to be a great and very useful product.

    One additional tip for those considering getting one: The Plus version is marked to cut in 1/2" increments but also has a "shift line" that allows you to make 1/4" cuts as well. BE SURE TO KEEP THE INSTRUCTION SHEET THAT COMES WITH THE MAT--on the back it has all the cutting specs for different size cuts. You won't have to figure out which lines to use to make multiple strip cuts, they have them all listed on the back of the instruction sheet. I slip mine between the slots when I am not using the mat so I always know where it is.

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  38. excellent tutorial...Thank you!

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