How to Use Quilting Rulers Properly

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Duration: 6:26

Quilting rulers come in all different sizes and shapes. Heather Thomas will teach you how to use them properly by explaining what all of the different hash lines on them are for as well as the diagonal lines.

Long Rulers

One of the common types of quilting rulers is the long ruler. Previously, they were made anywhere from 3 ½” to 6” wide and in several different lengths. They now make this quilting ruler up to 6 ½” wide, making it much easier to cut both strips and blocks. No matter what width your long ruler is, it will still have the same markings. Heather explains that the grid lines on the ruler mark an inch while all of the smaller hash marks are for other increments.

While some of those increments might be labeled, like the ½” mark, others will not be, so it is important to either be able to visualize what the other marks are or be able to count them. Heather also shows that there are diagonal lines on long rulers as well. These lines can be used to cut 30, 45 and 60 degree angles. Heather shows how to line up your fabric along these lines to give you the angle that you want.

Square Rulers

Another common type of quilting ruler is a square ruler. These rulers come in all different sizes, depending on what size of square you are wanting to cut. While you can have a different square ruler of each different size if you want, Heather shows how you can quickly and easily cut many different sizes of squares with one larger ruler by utilizing the center diagonal line on a square ruler.

Selecting the right quilting ruler depending on what you are making can help save you time and money. Once you figure out what type of quilting ruler you are most comfortable using you will find that you can do most of your cuts with just that one ruler.

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21 Responses to “How to Use Quilting Rulers Properly”

  1. Sandie

    Great video. I am a newbie on rulers, I have several .Does it matter which side for a left hander which I am compared to a right hander of the ruler ??

    Reply
    • Deb Flug

      I thought I knew every tool. Learned a lot and I have not used my big square ruler to trim blocks. Well, I will now. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Joan

    Wow – I thought I knew my rulers pretty well, but I never knew the great purpose of the diagonal on the square ruler. Very informative video (PS I love all the lessons you do)

    Reply
  3. Pat Cottle

    Thank you so much! I was using my ruler just because of its length. I knew how to use it for simple cutting but always wanted to know how to use the angle lines. Wish I lived in the USA for quilting purposes.

    Reply
  4. Sharon Simpson

    Brand new to quilting very little sewing 45 yrs ago. Cutting is my biggest challenge. Hard time squaring material. I know there are easier ways. Looking forward to all the information I can have. I know how to read the rulers measurments just not how to use them to their full advantage.

    Reply
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  5. Jenn

    Good info if you can get thru the duplicating in the video multiple times. Hard to understand due to this.

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      Hello Jenn,

      We appreciate your feedback and it has been forwarded to the proper department. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of new programs and offers. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

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      Becky NQC Video Membership

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  6. Cassie

    I just have to say how thankful I am for this video! I am a nurse and decided to take up quilting on my days off to keep my mind busy apart from the stresses we are currently facing. As someone that knows nothing about quilting, I have been watching many videos but this is the first I’ve seen about all those lines on my ruler – and it really makes so much sense now! I knew they had to have a purpose! Thank you thank you!

    Reply
  7. claire ross

    many thanks for the explanation as i am newish to the magical world of quilting. best wishes to all

    Reply
  8. Kathryn Krieger

    Thanks great suggestions didn’t realize that sq center line
    I do have a problem hearing you sometimes you are okay and then not I don’t know what I can do
    I really don’t want to use ear plugs
    Just a note

    Reply
  9. Kim

    The lines on the rulers are 1/16 inch thick. Which side of the line do you use? Or do you attempt to center the edge of the fabric in the center of the ruler mark? I’ve discovered when cutting for high precision this makes a huge difference!

    Reply
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      Hello Kim,

      Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert’s knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hours of Premium video content.

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  10. Joanna Shoemaker

    QUESTION…I know this is an older video, but I’m a newer member to NQC. Question about cutting using rulers. I primarily use Creative Grids rulers. When lining up the fabric, there is the “width” of the line on the ruler. What is the CORRECT way to LINE UP? To the INSIDE or the OUTSIDE of the width of the line? Just curious. Thank you!!!!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Joanna. Thanks for contacting the National Quilters Circle with your question. Your question is a good one, because accurate cutting leads to better piecing. I too am a fan of Creative Grids rulers. The rule I normally use is – the cut edge of the fabric should fall right under the desired cutting line. Going to either side of the lines leads to over cutting or undercutting the strip/shapes. I hope this clarifies how to place the ruler when cutting.
      Happy Quilting
      Colleen
      National Quilters Circle

      Reply
  11. Virginia C Clemens

    I am trying to teach myself quilting, I enjoyed this tutorial on the rulers, I would of never known about this important part. Thank you

    Reply
  12. Caroline

    This was invaluable. Thank you. Would love to know how to square up a piece- particularly why videos show trimming a square and then turning it 180 to trim other 2 sides. I’ve never understood the latter- why isn’t squaring 2 sides enough?

    Reply