top of page

Quiltmaking Basics: What’s Your Angle?

Do you ever feel intimidated by the many angle markings that appear on our cutting mats and rulers?

30-45-60! What's my angle?

30-45-60! What’s my angle?

I truly do enjoy each step along the path to making a quilt–even cutting! I can’t say the same for dressmaking. I believe I would have paid big bucks for someone else to do all that cutting. I was always anxious to get on with sewing.

Along with lines marking inches and their fractions, many of the mats and rulers that we use for quick cutting are marked with angles, such as those for 30˚, 45˚ and 60˚. Sometimes I find myself turning a ruler round-and-round until I get it positioned correctly onto my fabric. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this.

Strippy Spools blocks from Craftsy 2013 BOM class.

Strippy Spools blocks from Craftsy 2013 BOM class.

My Craftsy Block of the Month for May is called Strippy Spools. I named it that because I chose to strip fabrics together in pairs, and some of the fabric combinations create a block that resembles a spool. This block uses a 45˚-angle cut. Sure, I could have purchased a ruler specifically designed for cutting right-angle triangles, but I am just stubborn enough to work with the rulers I already own. Besides, they include the necessary marking…right?

The photos below show you a few ways to use the lines on either your cutting mat or your ruler (or both) to determine and cut the angles you need. The examples demonstrate cutting a 45˚ angle. I hope you’ll give this a try. As the placement of ruler markings can vary from brand to brand, be patient in finding what works for you. There always seems to be a way to make it work.