Spending the day cutting quilt pieces?? Is the scrap bin or space on your shelves too crowded for more fabric? Are you really wanting to get started on a new quilt but just not getting to the cutting part? The solution maybe to block off some time to spend part or all of the day cutting quilt pieces.

Rotary mat with ruler and rotary cutter for cutting quilt pieces.
Source: Google clip art

This week, I was able to sort out scraps and iron for one entire afternoon. I turned my phone off, listened to music I like, and just enjoyed the process of pulling various scraps out of the bins, ironing them, and laying them flat on an extra plastic table.

woman ironing fabric to cut out quilt pieces
Source: Google clip art

A prior post on my ironing area https://indianaquilter40.com/my-fabric-ironing-area-aka-a-folding-table-for-ironing/

The next day, I got up early to get my work done. Then I was able to spend several hours cutting up those ironed scraps. Again, I turned off the phone, put in music I like, and enjoyed the process of cutting.

a word about messy sewing rooms

I have been working from home for several weeks thanks to the COVID-19. It’s a really nice change to not be traveling each day. The downside is that I have more and more quilting ideas – which leads to an even messier quilting area.

The perception and reality of a quilting room.
Source: Google images

Did I say messy – what an understatement!! I am one of those creative types who does not clean up the mess until I am done with said project. I feel like there has been just one continuous project the last several weeks. What that means is that in several weeks, the mess has grown because I continue to go happily from one project to the next.

I didn’t realize how bad it was until another quilter was here over the weekend. Her first question was, “what happened in here??” I really looked at the mess then. I am going to simply say there is no excuse (I can certainly relate to this kids book).

I can relate to this photo of a messy room - my quilt room looks just as bad today.
Source: Goggle clip art

I’m too embarrassed to post photos, but this is the cleanest looking area. It is one shelving area that goes to the ceiling. I have dug thru here several times looking for the “perfect” fabric. I do not have a pretty sewing area – it is functional. See my post about the sewing room on previous blog: https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2019/07/waste-not-want-not-or-tips-for.html

Quilt fabric semi- folded and stacked on shelves.
I know what is here sort of, but I need to go through and straighten, and move some to the donation closet for baby and veterans quilts.

Just remember that I have quilted for 40 years…I did not gain all this overnight. Nor did I buy all of it. Some was traded for other items (quilting and non-quilting items). My hubby, kids, and mom-in-law buy me yards of fabric for b-days and holidays.


Do you ever have days you just feel like cutting fabric?? I tend to do marathon ironing and cutting back to back. I work with some standard sizes of strips and blocks so I can cut up a pile of fabric fairly quick with a little preparation.

Step 1

Sort out the fabric you want to work with – whether scraps or yardage.

Iron and then lay out on a nice flat surface that will not be disturbed.

Step 2

I personally cut fabric from the largest to the smallest blocks/strips I want from that fabric. In my case, I keep a bin of 2.5″ strips, 3″ blocks, and 5″ blocks on hand all the time. I will cut up the piece until there is nothing left but a scrap that does not fit with what I normally use.

Fabric on cutting board with ruler and cutter.
This scrap is lined up and ready to be cut into 2.5″ strips.

I saw a quilt on Pinterest made of rectangles, so while I am cutting scraps I got out another bin and started putting 4″ x 7″ rectangles in that.

Just a little to trim off this 4+” wide strip for the rectangles.

A word of warning: Rotary blades are sharp and will make a serious cut in your finger or hand. Always, always pay attention to where your fingers are before using the cutter. Keep blade covered when not actually using it.

Step 3

A cutting area for yourself needs to work for you. Below is my cutting table. It is a sturdy 6-foot-long plastic table on risers, so the table is at a comfortable height. Under the table is the “crumb” bin, then a bin of colored yarn (for tying quilts) with a bag of big plastic clamps (for holding down quilts to table as I tie them). The stacked bins on the right are toys for the granddaughter when she is here.

Cutting area for quilt pieces.

On top of the table (left) is the three bins of cut strips and blocks I am cutting today. The box in the back is lined with a purple double knit that will be filled with all the too small fabric pieces and left over strips of batting to become a “nesting” bag.

Here is another photo of the area. This is what works for me. When making a work area for yourself, arrange so it works for you.

There are 3 plastic bins: 3″ squares, 2.5″ strips, and 4″ x 7″ rectangles.

That left-over piece goes into the “nesting” bag (that will later be sewn shut and given to the humane shelter) or the “crumb” box (for making string/crumb quilts). Think about the size of scrap you will realistically use for the “crumb” box. The rest goes in the “nesting” bag.

Step 4

As you completely cut each size of strip or block, put it in the correct bin. Here they will stay nice and flat to be used when you are ready.

Bin of 4" x 7" scrap rectangles for quilting.
4″ x 7″ rectangles
Bin of 2.5" quilting strips.
2.5″ colored strips. I have another bin of 2.5″ white and muslin strips.
3″ squares


Set up a comfortable area for yourself to do quilt related activities in. A table the right height. A chair that is comfortable for you. Shelves or some sort of storage area for fabric and books. A way to organize your actual tools that works for your area and budget. Get busy on doing your own spending the day cutting quilt pieces.

I love to see how others organize their sewing areas, however, I am more about function than beauty. I have a budget for quilting and will cut corners by buying the furniture (shelves, desk, chair, plastic bins and jars, etc.) at a used store or a dollar store. That leaves more money for fabric, batting, and the annual trip to Paducah quilt show.

Other links about cutting quilt pieces.






  1. Thanks for giving these suggestions on your blog. Lots of good ideas here on making time to get quilt projects cut out and organized. If fact, some of the ideas pertain to other areas too and for us working women who never have enough hours in the day this is a real help. Thanks again.

    1. Believe me, I never feel like there is enough time in any given day to get all the things done that need done. But I am getting better at organizing the time to get more done. Glad some of these suggestions were helpful. Happy quilting.

    1. I find that blocks of time can be hard to get in my life. I actually mark off on the calendar a time for quilt related stuff that needs a large block of time – and I treat it as an appointment or work. I don’t schedule other things in that time slot or allow daily things to encroach on it. It is ok to be firm with myself.

      Have a great quilting day.

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