Shape Cut Plus by June Tailor
Driven by Michelle Marvig
The Shape Cut Plus is just one in a series of rulers in this style by June Tailor. The rulers are made of a heavy plastic that is firm, but not rigid like your normal rulers. They have a succession of slots along their length, into which you place your rotary blade for cutting. The blade cannot wander off the cutting line as the plastic holds it in place for an accurate cut.
The Shape Cut Plus has a 12in x 18in cutting area, with cutting slots every 2in. Solid lines are printed across the ruler at 1in intervals. To use the ruler, a standard width of fabric needs to be folded to create four layers and a width around 11in. This is to fit within the cutting area of the ruler.
The solid line marked at “0” is then placed on the bottom fold, with the vertical “0” placed on the end of the fabric past all the unevenness that may be there. No matter what size strip, the first cut is at “0” slot, and this tidies up the end of the fabric without the need to turn anything around.
Subsequent strips are then cut by placing the blade in the correct slot and cutting. At the end of each slot is a teardrop opening, making it easier to get your blade in the slot. Slightly holding your cutter on an angle as you approach the opening also helps insert the blade.
The medium 45mm rotary cutter works best in the slots — the larger is harder to get in and a smaller blade is too short to make good purchase on the cut. The initial folding of the fabric is still important to the integrity of your cut strips. The original and the new folded edges need to be parallel, just like when cutting a strip with your ruler.
The original Shape Cut only allows for cuts in 1/2in increments. Shape Cut Plus has an extra vertical dotted line 4in in from the vertical “0”. By moving this line to the straightened edge of the fabric you can make cuts with 1/2in and 4in measurements. Printed instructions come with the ruler and tables for eight different-size cuts are given in the instructions. Neither ruler allows for 8in, 8in or 8in cuts.
If you wish to take the versatility of the Shape Cut Plus to another level, you can cut your strips first, then turn them around and cut squares, lining up the cut edges with a horizontal line on the ruler and sub cutting using the slots. If you wish to further cut the squares into half-square triangles, the square is placed between the 45-degree lines on the ruler, which lines up the corner with a cutting slot.
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To cut a 45-degree diamond, a strip of fabric is placed on the 45-degree line on your cutting mat. The cutting slots line up with the lines on the ruler and you can cut your diamonds. A 60-degree diamond is cut on the same manner. However, my three mats that I had at home were not printed with a 60-degree line.
I had to draw one on a cutting mat to try this shape. And, if you wish to cut a hexagon, you need to start with a 60-degree diamond. The hexagon is a diamond with the edges cut off. The instructions for the hexagons need more work. I used a 2/2in strip to cut my 60-degree diamond.
Turning it around and placing it where indicated in the middle of the ruler, I was unable to make the side cuts at half the width of the original cut, as instructed, as that was 1/4in and I could only cut at 2 or whole inches. I did work out how to do it, but further instructions for the cutting of hexagons would make it easier.
You can also cut bias strips using the Shape Cut Plus — fold a 12/2in square in half diagonally and place the folded edge on the “0” horizontal line, cutting at your desired size slot. However, using a square gives you a lot of variety of lengths, not consistent lengths.
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While not displayed on the printed instructions, it is possible to use a 12/2in strip and cut a 45-degree angle with your normal ruler. Fold the end to create a new fold on the base, which is placed under the “0” horizontal line. Then cut at your chosen width using the slots. If making a vine, it will mean you will have less joins.
June Tailor was established in 1961 and now has more than 120 products for the craft market. It currently has 10 rulers that work on the same principle as Shape Cut Plus, including some dedicated to special shapes such as diamonds, hexagons and pinwheels. Most products have a teaching tutorial available via the June Tailor website or YouTube. You can decide which ruler best suits your needs.