How to cut WOF (width of fabric) Strips with a Rotary Cutter and Mat

Cutting WOF strips is useful for quilting and sewing, and the process of cutting a straight strip is pretty straight forward (pun intended). This is the process used to cut pieces for our Essential Pillowcase pattern.

  1. Fold the fabric in half, RIGHT sides out and selvedge edges together. Make the selvedge edges as even as possible and make sure the bottom fold isn’t wonky. The right side edge will be wonky and crazy and that’s fine. We’ll be squaring it up. If you don’t make the top edges and bottom fold nice and even, your strips will be bowed.
prepare to cut width of fabric strips

2. Line the fabric up on the rotary cutting mat, using the lines as guides (we use a clear 6″ x 24″ ruler on a 24″ x 36″ rotary cutting mat). Trim the end to make it square.

trim the edge to make it square

3. Line the newly cut edge of the fabric on the 0 (zero) line on your rotary cutting mat, making sure to keep the bottom folding edge straight along the bottom of the mat. Position your ruler on the measurement you need to cut, keeping everything square so you have a nice, pretty right angle. For example, with this cut for a pillowcase, we need the strip to be 21″ tall by 27″ wide, but the pattern runs down the bolt. So the first cut is the “tall” measurement and we line the ruler up on the 21″ mark.

Cut carefully, making sure the ruler doesn’t slip on you and makes a wonky cut.

Line up on the measurement you need and cut carefully

4. Turn the fabric so the design is upright and trim the selvedge edge. We are now preparing to cut the “width” measurement for the pillowcase panel. This is also known as “subcutting”, where you are making a secondary cut out of a wof strip.

turn the fabric and cut off the selvedge end

5. Lining the newly cut edge up to 0 (zero) on the mat and keeping the bottom edge straight as well, line up the ruler on the “width” measurement (in our case, it was 27″ but the pieces moved before I took the picture). Cut carefully, making sure the ruler doesn’t slip on you and makes a wonky cut.

line the ruler up with the width measurement and cut carefully

Now repeat for any other strips and subcut pieces you need, paying attention to the dimensions in your pattern.