Quilting for Beginners: Starter Die Shapes & Cutting Mats

Sep 24, 2015 2:26:27 PM / by AccuQuilt

As you begin your quilting journey using AccuQuilt fabric cutters and fabric-cutting dies, you’ll need a few classic shapes to get you started. In addition, a Block on Board™ (BOB™) and appliqué die are also must-have dies as you build your collection.

However, before getting into the types of dies you should begin with, it’s critical to understand why so many quilters love our dies. Our die shapes are designed with a ¼” seam allowance already built into the measurements. Many of our dies, including rag dies, feature dog-eared corners to aid in alignment. Further, our die shapes with curved piecing seams feature notches to align fabric easily and effortlessly. This is an essential need for quilters who sometimes shy away from quilting projects that have curved piecing, as it can be difficult to manage without the notches.

Every GO! die, with the exception of 6” dies, comes with a free pattern which is downloadable on our website. Additionally, we offer a custom die service for both GO! and Studio fabric cutters, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for in our collection of more than 640 dies, then you can create your own custom die.

Below is a list of recommended dies you should immediately put in your collection whether you are new to AccuQuilt or a regular user of our products.

GO! Strip Cutter Dies

We can’t stress enough how important GO! Strip Cutter dies are to your collection. Strip cutter dies with angled guide lines are some of the most versatile dies, as they allow you to cut your strips at 30, 45, and 60-degree angles. This means you can easily cut squares, rectangles, and several types of diamonds that can be used to make classic quilts like the Lone Star. With the variety of shapes you can cut with our strip cutter dies, your creative options improve immensely.




GO! Qube Mix & Match Blocks

If you want a really good mix of dies in one set, then our GO! Qube Mix & Match Blocks are a great option. These die sets typically include a varied combination of some of our most popular dies such as squares, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, and more.




Block on Board™

Working with a Block on Board (BOB) die is the type of thing that gives quilters goose bumps. You can create an entire block with just one die. But if you only want one shape from the BOB die, you simply place your fabric and cutting mat only on the shape you need. You will get accurate cuts every time and never have to worry about slipping rulers. You can cut curvy classic quilt patterns quickly and make quilts you never thought you’d make when using a BOB die. By using our fabric cutters and getting all the shapes you need on just one die, you’ll cut so much more fabric in less time than you would with scissors or a rotary cutter.





For those of you who may not be that familiar with appliqué, it is the process of applying different shapes onto a larger piece of fabric to create a more original and unique design. You can apply your shape by using a fusible web (a type of bonding) and sewing the edges down. Appliqué dies are an absolute must to incorporate into your die collection. Not only will creating projects using appliqué give your designs an extra flair and boost your creative instincts, but you will also have a lot of fun and may even find yourself with a new addiction. We have a wealth of appliqué dies for you to choose from including birds, flowers, animals, lettering and numbers, specialty designer shapes, and a lot more.





GO! Pick of the Patch Table Runner


All of our dies are made with extraordinary care and are meant to last an extremely long time, but they will last even longer with proper care and usage. You can cut an infinite number of quilt tops on our cutters, and since our die blades are designed for repetitive cutting there is no need to sharpen the blades. The blades are covered with Two-Tone™ foam for your protection, so when you place your fabric on the cutter do so with the foam side up. You’ll notice that threads can sometimes get caught where the blades meet in a die. This is completely normal. After each use, be sure to remove threads imbedded between the blades and foam with a die pick or tweezers. Doing this after each use will prevent a buildup of threads in your dies. After cleaning the threads from your dies, use an adhesive lint roller to clean lint and thread from the top of the dies.

In order to use our fabric-cutting dies, you must always use a GO! Cutting Mat on top of the die. The cutting mats protect the rollers on the cutter and keep the fabric from shifting while it’s being cut. Our cutting mats can withstand hundreds of cuts on both sides before a replacement is needed. It may be time for a new cutting mat or plastic when you notice that the die is not cutting through the fabric all the way. It’s not a bad idea to always keep an extra cutting mat on hand if you’re intending to use your cutter regularly.

For your own knowledge, rag dies tend to wear out the cutting mats much more frequently due to the number of blades. But you can prolong the life of your cutting mats by flipping and turning them each time, so you’re not using them in the same spot every time. You can also use different dies on each mat size or use smaller sized mats to cover only the shape you need. This will exponentially help your mats to last even longer.

With some combination of the above-mentioned dies and cutting mats in your arsenal, it won’t be long before you move out of the quilting for beginners category and into a more advanced one.



Topics: Block on Board, GO! Fabric Cutter, Applique, cutting mats, mix & match sets, strip cutters, Tutorials, Two-Tone Foam


Written by AccuQuilt

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