Unique quilting tools

I’ve always been a cheap quilter.  If I can find a way to make it out of stuff I already have on hand, I do. 

One of my first home made quilting tools was a rotary cutting surface/ironing mat combination.  Yes, I am aware that for $20 or so, I could have a real nice one from a manufacturer.  But, why?


It is made from a piece of plywood.   I used rubber cement to adhere a scrap of cutting mat, cut from one I stepped on and put a hole through. 


The pressing side is several layers of batting and a heavy fabric, held on with upholstery tacks.  It’s been recovered three or four times and every time, I leave the old, compressed batting on and add new batting on top and then a new cover.  I’m very hard on my ironing surfaces because I use steam and starch and a HOT iron.  Once I drew a one inch grid on it to use when ironing, but it distorted as I used it, so I don’t do that anymore.


I like it so much that I made a custom, zippered carrying bag for it.  The bag has all kind of pockets, inside and out, for rulers and rotary cutters and other supplies and handles for easy transport. 

I have received lots of compliments on the stuff that Rob and I build for me to use when I sew.  But, this one hasn’t been out in public for a long time.  I took it to a class and one lady liked it until she tried to pick it up.  Maybe three quarter inch plywood was a bit of overkill.  But, I never worry about my hot iron distorting the cutting surface. 

I’m showing this off today because I replaced the fabric cover this week. It needed it so bad.  I had ironed on it until the fabric cover was rotting away and I could see the batting beneath.  But, now I should be good to go for another two years or five thousand seams, whichever comes first.  I plan to take it to my Sally Collins precision piecing class in a couple weeks.  I’m really looking forward to that class.  Two days with one of the masters of precision piecing.  I’ve already pulled some fabrics, but think I’m going to pull more, just to be sure.  The pile I’ve pulled so far is very small and could be tucked into a coat pocket, so I don’t feel bad about pulling a little more to take.  More on the class later.

Have a great day.  I showed rancor at Sydney’s inability to define her vocabulary words last night.  For heaven’s sake, we’ve been at this for 10 days.  She could have learned 2.4 words per day and been done by now.  I have found an acceptable exit strategy where I do not surrender or lose face, but rather give her a temporary win and back away quietly, leaving her on her own to pass or fail the re-take of the test. 

Live to fight another day.



Lakegaldonna said...

Oh boy, I love make do, do it yourself stuff. I've been planning such a mat in my head for awhile. I have one of the purchased ones I think it's about 14 x 24 maybe. Because of so much pressing and use it doesn't sit flat anymore and it's a real bear to use. It skitches around and twirls. It's a standard one but even that is not as big as a fat quarter to press all at once. Guess I'd just better quit the planning and start with the doing.
Thanks Lane.

Kath said...

I have a home made rotary cutting mat. Mat sits on a piece of MDF, which in turn sits on the rotary base which we bought for our scrabble board, but I pinched for my sewing room!

Kate said...

oh boy you will love Sally Collins - she is fabulous... but don't worry, you won't use much fabric!!!! Throw in a border print or a stripe - you might find a great use for something like that in her class! Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

What kind of saw (or blade type) do you use to cut a cutting mat with? I tried drilling a hole in one once so I could hang it up and what a bear that was!!

lw said...

Masonite might be a good replacement for the 3/4" plywood. I use it as a backing board for hammering grommets into corsets/bodices for theatre costuming.

I can't wait to hear your review of the precision piecing class. One of my girlfriends took it and learned a ton about keeping precise 1/4" seams. Should be a lot of fun.

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