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3 Must-Know Quilting Safety Tips

Quilting is one of my favorite hobbies, but like many hobbies, there are a few things that you should be aware of if you’re a new or experienced quilter. Trust me when I tell you that I learned all of these things the hard way! Today I’m sharing some of my quilting safety tips.

hand with cut glove on white cutting mat with quilt ruler and rotary cutter

Let me tell you a story.  Many years ago, I used my rotary cutter and quilt ruler to cut some binding strips for a table runner I was working on.  The ruler and the rotary tool slipped, and I cut off the top of my finger.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that 1, I had never even considered the possibility of injuring myself with a rotary blade, and 2, I’m lucky they could stitch my fingertip back on. After multiple stitches and a visit to a hand specialist, I am grateful to this day that it was not worse.

I hope that’s not TMI, but ever since then, I’ve been pretty vocal about safety when it comes to working with sharp objects, and when you quilt, you work with a lot of sharp objects.

Here are a few things that I’ve started doing since then (and I tell all my quilty friends to do the same).

Since quilting involves using a sharp rotary blade (like a pizza cutter, but for fabric), you need to be careful as you cut your material for your projects.

1. Get a Cut Glove

Buy a cut glove and wear it EVERY time you use your rotary tool. A cut glove is a glove that is made from cut-resistant material. If your rotary blade accidentally slips, it will help protect your finger (since the blade does not cut the glove’s fabric).

hand with cut glove on white cutting mat with quilt ruler and rotary cutter

I was cutting one tiny strip of fabric when my accident happened. It was just a “quick cut.” You never know, so better safe than sorry. This cut glove goes on the hand that holds the ruler in place and will protect your hand if the tool slips.

TIP: I now only use retractable rotary blades; I feel like they give me extra protection.

2. Use Non-Slip Rulers

It drives me crazy when my rulers slip while I’m cutting my fabric. The ruler slipping contributed to my injury. In addition to wearing a cut glove, use non-slip rulers. The Creative Grids brand of rulers is one of my favorites.

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Creative Grids rulers feature a coating on the back that “grips” the fabric so they are less likely to slip. They come in all shapes and sizes. I currently have the 2 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ and the 4 1/2″ x 24 1/2″.

3. Apply Non-Slip Dots to Quilt Rulers

No need to toss out your existing quilt rulers, even if they slip a little. You can purchase non-slip dots to put on the bottom of the ruler. Most are clear and won’t obstruct your view. I add the dots to my quilt rulers, even my small square rulers (and bloc-loc rulers).

hand holding pop socket packaging above quilt cutting mat and fabric

TIP: If you don’t want to add a non-slip dot, add a Pop Socket! I recently spotted a quilter with a pop socket on her quilt ruler. It’s such a brilliant idea! They are removable and give you a spot to “hold” when you’re holding your quilt ruler.

hand on quilt ruler on cutting mat with blue fabric

A Few More Tips

Rotary blades are not the only thing you should be aware of when quilting; here are a few other things to keep in mind as well.

  1. Change your blade frequently; a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one as you are more likely to press too hard, increasing the likelihood of injury.
  2. Be extra careful when you’re changing your rotary blades.  Wear the glove during this process if you need to.
  3. Dispose of dull blades properly. It’s dangerous to throw them in the trash. I keep the case that the blades came in originally to hold the dull blades. I just marked USED on the top with a marker to confuse the blades with my unused newer blades.
  4. When you’re using your sewing machine do not ever use your finger to guide the fabric all the way up to the needle. Use a seam ripper or stiletto tool to push the fabric instead.
  5. When working with hot irons, hold your fabric with a seam ripper or stiletto as well. This will allow you to get your iron closer to the section of your quilt block that you’d like to press, but protect your fingers as well.

Tell me, what did I miss? Do you have any tips to share? If so, leave them in the comments section so everyone can benefit!

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33 Comments

  1. I too cut the end of my finger (many stiches and pain) with a rotary cutter and have now purchased a non cut glove. Your advise is spot on. We all need a reminder now and then. thanks

  2. I also find using a 3 or 5 pound hand weight useful to hold the end of my ruler farthest away from me. This gives me control of the whole ruler as I cut.

  3. You know the plastic containers that the big pack of extra gum comes in?! Those are great to collect used blades. I also throw used sewing machine needles and bent pins in there too. I keep one on my cutting table and it works great!!!

  4. Thanks for the great safety tips, Melissa. I’m picking up a few pop sockets tomorrow! I often wondered why they seem to be sold near the check out at fabric/craft stores! Thanks again from one Louisvillian to another!

  5. Close the blade every time you are done using it! It’s remarkable how many quilters in video tutorials set it down with the blade exposed after cutting. It’s very distracting to say the least. One even justified her actions by saying she “always knows where it is in space.” I cringe.

  6. Thanks for all the tips! The Klutz gloves aren’t available on Amazon. Can you suggest another brand or where to purchase the Klutz?

    1. I got mine at JoAnn, but you can use any cut glove. The ones on Amazon are for cooking and also work great for sewing.

  7. I found a pencil size wooden dowel with a point on one end to hold the fabric down when pressing in tight spots. A kabob skewer works, too. I keep it near the iron so I don’t have to remember to grab my stiletto.

  8. For ironing tight spots, I use silicon finger guards on my fingers to protect against the hot iron. Will definitely get a cut glove. I sliced off some skin from my finger and didn’t feel it. Noticed blood on my fabric!

  9. I have used Odif Grippy to spray the back of my older, not non-slip rulers. I found that two light coats work really well!

  10. Storage for used rotary blade, I used a cookie tin. The tin I use is about 6-8 inches high and big enough around for the blade to fit. Cut a slit in top of tin, then glue lid to lower part of tin. When filled can be placed in trash without worry the blades will fall out and cut someone or get stuck in trash truck bin. I spray painted tin with a crazy design and bright color, easy to see it NOT for food.
    Also a Tic-tac container works bent pins, or one with no head. Used machine needles go in container.

  11. The containers that the pharmacy put pills in, when empty, they are good for broken or dull sewing machine needles, bent pins, etc. I write the word USED on the cap and when it is filled, I taped the cap down before throwing it in the trash.

  12. I used the containers that the pharmacy put pills in. The empty containers can be used for dull sewing machine needles, bent pins, etc. I write on the cap USED. When the container is filled, tape the cap down and throw in trash.

  13. Great tips. I always cover my old rotary blades with duct tape before disposing them. Pins too, but the medicine container is brilliant.
    P.S. I’m getting a cut glove too!

  14. “Dispose of dull blades properly. It’s dangerous to throw them in the trash. I keep the case that the blades came in originally to hold the dull blades. I just marked USED on the top with a marker to confuse the blades with my unused newer blades.”

    Had to chuckle at reading about those confused blades! 🙂

  15. good advice, may I add never,ever stick a pin or needle into anything except a pin cushion. a forgotten needle in a sweater is an accident waiting to happen..

  16. Thank you! I also seriously cut the end of a finger AND dropped a non-retractable rotary cutter on my bare foot. Ordered cutting gloves for myself. I had no idea they existed!

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