In last Tuesday’s post, I showed a variety of products you can apply to your rulers to help prevent slipping while cutting. This week I will talk a little bit about rulers that are designed to stay in place and a cutting technique that will help.
My favorite long ruler is the Quilter’s Rule. This was the first ruler I ever purchased over 30 years ago (well, not this exact one, haha!). Maybe I like this ruler so much because it is the one I learned with, but I continue to use it all these years later.
It actually has ridges every quarter-inch down the length of the ruler. It is so easy to tap the ruler against the edge of your fabric to accurately position the ruler. The ridges help hold the ruler in place.
A drawback to this ruler is that the black lines are printed on and over time they wear off making it difficult to read the lines. This happens over many years though with normal use. I use my rulers a lot and have only had three of these in 30 years. Another problem is that these are hard to find. Not many quilt shops carry them anymore.
Probably the ruler brand that quilters are most familiar with is Creative Grids.
There are dozens of Creative Grids rulers, both in basic utility sizes and speciality rulers that are designed to do one thing.
These rulers stay in place with the help of textured dots that run along the sides of the rulers. They are durable, but again, over time, the markings will begin to wear off. These rulers are easy to find and if you need a special one, most quilt shops are happy to order it for you. I own many of these and am very happy with them.
The third brand of ruler I like for its anti-slip properties is Olfa Frosted. These rulers come in basic sizes and shapes and are available at many quilt shops or can be special ordered by a shop.
Olfa Frosted rulers have a coating on the back that helps prevent slipping. You can see the coating in this picture. It looks very similar to the Grippy spray I showed last week.
The coating on the back is light enough so you can easily nudge the ruler into place, yet it stays put while you cut.
Even though the coating is slightly opaque, it is easy to see the fabric underneath.
So those are a few options for anti-slip rulers. If you need to replace a ruler, you might check out one of these to help your accuracy in cutting.
There is also a way to cut that helps prevent sliding. When you cut, spread your fingers apart so they cover as much surface on the ruler as possible.
Place your ring finger and pinky on the mat (or fabric) instead of the ruler. This will help anchor your ruler in place. The bonus benefit is that it moves your fingers out of the way of your cutter! I learned to cut this way and it really helps!
If you are using a small ruler, you may have to place your thumb on the mat to stabilize the ruler.
Again, spread your fingers apart so there are a few contact points over the surface of the ruler.
If you cut a long strip of fabric, you may find that the ruler slips as you get to the end of the strip. The best tip to prevent this is to cut slowly and “walk” your fingers up the ruler as you cut. Don’t lift your fingers because it is really easy for the ruler to slide when you put your hand back down. Try to maintain contact with the ruler all the way to the end of the cut.
Fabric is too expensive to waste with mis-cuts and it is frustrating when the ruler slides and your pieces are slightly off. Your piecing will not be accurate if your cutting is inaccurate. Here’s hoping that these two posts will help you cut with more accuracy.