Not all quilting tools are purchased in a quilt shop. In the last post on loading I promised to write about using a laser level to square my backing fabric. I also use the laser level to get nice straight cuts when taking batting from a bolt or roll. (Straight cuts make it easier to load on the frame and eliminate waste from the roll). I cut some batting for a quilt the other day so I was able to get some shots of the process. You’ll use the same technique when squaring your backing fabric. Disclaimer: To get the lasers to show up, I had to turn the lights off in my studio. So the photos are not the best. But I’m sure you’ll get the idea.
Your choice of batting. I like batting on a roll or from a bolt. It has far fewer creases and wrinkles than packaged batting. You can use your laser level to trim packaged batting as well. It works for everything.
I use a metal carpenter’s tape measure. Over time, dressmaker’s plastic or cloth tape measures will stretch and no longer be accurate. I want good accuracy when measuring a quilt top. Especially when I plan to use an edge-to-edge design with Pro-Stitcher. Those of you who use Pro-Stitcher know that you need an accurate measurement of the length of your quilt top to create your area.
These are great for cutting batting, but also perfect when you are squaring your backing fabric. You’ll see why soon.
I know you’ll be curious as to what brand this is and where to purchase it. My husband bought this for me somewhere online. He doesn’t remember where. And there are no identifying marks on the device itself.
You can purchase a laser level at just about any big box store and many online outlets. I was able to find one that looks very similar to mine at Walmart.com. The features you need are: It has 2 beams at 90 degrees from each other. And it’s able to be placed on a horizontal surface and have the beams stay where you want them. (Some levels will only work vertically). You do not need an expensive one!
Using Laser level for Cutting batting
Measure your quilt top and determine how much batting you’ll need. Don’t forget to add 5-6 inches to the length. And as I said in the previous post, your batting needs to match the width of your backing fabric to prevent drooping as you work your way through the quilt.
Unroll the batting. Place your tape measure so that the measurement you need is at the cut end. And the start of your tape measure (zero) is where you will cut.
Place the laser level so that one beam is tracking down the folded edge of the batting. And the other beam is going across the batting and lined up with the end of the tape measure.
Use your batting scissors to cut along the laser beam. It’s really easy to do since the laser beam will shine right along the long blade and handle of your batting scissors. That makes it super easy to cut straight.
Use this same method for trimming backing fabric. Fold the backing fabric in half length-wise. You will be checking and trimming BOTH ends (top and bottom)of your fabric to be sure they are straight and square with the fold.
I do this on the floor. That way I can lay things out nice and flat.
Will you give it a try? Let me know in the comments.
Quilt Every Day.
by Mary Beth Krapil