Sew Let's Quilt Along: Rotary Cutter

I can hardly believe that the penultimate block of Sew Let’s Quilt Along is already here! Our final block and setting ideas will be released in just two short weeks. If you’ve missed any of the previous blocks, make sure to check out my quilt along page to get the links. Remember, the block patterns will only be free until the quilt along ends on September 24, 2019.

This week’s block features an indispensable tool of the modern quilter - a rotary cutter. I’m forever grateful the rotary cutter was invented. And even more grateful that I started quilting after it became ubiquitous! Our rotary cutter block was designed by Sandy Maxfield of SandyStar Designs. Head on over to her blog post to get the pattern.

Tips for Success

Seam Test

Any time a block has different sized pieces coming together, it’s essential to test your seam allowance. It’s the only way you can be sure everything will fit together nicely and your block will come out at just the right size.

To test your seam allowance, cut two 2" squares and sew them together. Press as desired, and measure the resulting rectangle. The rectangle should be 3 1/2" long. If your rectangle is shorter, you need a narrower seam allowance. If your rectangle is longer, you need a wider seam allowance. Adjust your seam and try again. Once the rectangle is exactly 3 1/2" long, you're good to go.

Pin Long Seams

I don’t often go for pins when the seams are short, but they really make a difference on long seams. It’s just so easy for the fabric to shift on longer seams, so it’s worth the few extra seconds it takes to pin.

Avoiding Stiffness in the Applique

It can be easy for applique blocks to become stiff, especially when multiple pieces are fused on top of each other as they are here. To keep my block supple, I like to cut the centers out of the larger pieces of fusible web prior to fusing it to the fabric. Try to leave about 1/2” of fusible web around the edges to fuse the fabric in place.

Make a Hole in the Handle

I decided that I wanted my rotary cutter to have an actual hole in the handle rather than a circle of fabric laid on top. I started with my handle already cut out.

I used the small circle that’s included in the pattern, but I fused it to the rotary cutter handle instead of a separate fabric. I was extra careful to make sure I got it right where I wanted it prior to fusing.

Once the circle was fused in place, I cut out the center.

And I had a wonderful handle with a hole in it! When I placed the rotary cutter on my block, I made sure the hole overlapped the fabric and the background so you could tell it was there.

Secure with Stitching

You can secure your applique with any stitch that appeals to you. I like the clean look of a straight stitch just inside the edges, but a lot of people go for a zigzag stitch or blanket stitch. No matter what stitch you choose, I recommend using matching thread. For my block, I used 50 weight Aurifil in Light Leaf Green, Light Blue Violet, and Dove.

My biggest tip to make the stitching look nice is to take your time. When I get to a corner, I stop with the needle down, lift my presser foot, and pivot. Then I lower my presser foot and continue. When I’m sewing around circles, I take just a few stitches at a time before lifting my foot to pivot. Slowing down makes all the difference on those curves.

Our Lovely Hosts

We have eight hosts for segment 3, and we all made our very own rotary cutter blocks. Be sure to visit all of the lovely ladies below for more tips and inspiration. If you like what you see, leave a comment! We all love a bit of encouragement from our fellow quilters.


We will have a prize package at the end of every segment, as well as a grand prize at the end of the quilt along. The prizes are open to all participants that are at least 18 years old. If you don’t remember what I mean by segment, check out the intro post for a refresher on how this quilt along is structured.

How to Enter

To be eligible to win a segment prize, you need to make all of the blocks from that segment. Share a photo or photos of your blocks (in a single post) to be entered.

For segment 3, entries will be open from 12:00 am August 27 to 11:59 pm September 9, 2019 (Eastern time). There are three places you can share your blocks to be entered in the drawing:

  • Facebook - share in the Partners in Design Facebook Group

  • Instagram - share with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL

  • Blog Linky - the hosts will include a link-up on their segment 3 wrap-up post on August 27, 2019

Segment 3 Prize Package

We have a wonderful array of prizes for each segment! Here’s the prize package for segment 3:

Grand Prize

To be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to make all 13 blocks from the whole quilt along and turn them into a quilt or other project(s). Quilt tops don’t need to be quilted, but projects do need to be finished. Share a single post that shows all of the blocks in a quilt or project. It doesn’t matter how many projects or what projects you make, or how many blocks you use in each project as long as you show that you’ve used all 13 blocks in a finished project or projects.

Important Note

To keep the contest portion of the quilt-along fair and fun for everyone, only quilters that use all of the designers' blocks [in a quilt or project(s)] will be eligible for the grand prize. Likewise, our segment prizes will only be open to those that make all of the designers’ blocks for that segment.

Fabulous Sponsors

We are really lucky to have some amazing sponsors on board for this quilt along! Please check them out as thanks for supporting us. Bluprint, Dear Stella, Everything Mary, Island Batik, Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, Prym, Shabby Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, Warm Company Additionally, many of the block designers are donating their quilt patterns.

When Did You Start Quilting?

I mentioned how grateful I was to have started quilting after the rise of the rotary cutter. What about you? Did you start quilting before or after the rotary cutter was common? If you started before, I’d love to hear about your first experiences using one. I bet it was incredible!

Bobbi's Signature.png
Posted on August 12, 2019 and filed under Quilting, Quilt Alongs.