Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: May 21, 2021
How would you know if the quilting ruler you are looking to buy is high quality or not? What appeals to you in terms of design and features? While it may seem like the easiest thing to choose one option and run with it, you find some people regretting their purchase sooner or later.
However, there are surefire ways of making sure you purchase the best quilting ruler available. One major one is to check out the various features of the quilting ruler. These include the type, dimensions of the ruler, guide lines, materials, seam allowance, and more. Being aware of these features will help tell you the capabilities and limits of each ruler. With such information, you cannot go wrong with your pick of the best quilting ruler.
Other features: 1-inch grids, 1/8 and ¼-inch increments, embedded gripper
To any newbie, using a quilting ruler is a little tricky. Nevertheless, the Creative Grids Square Quilting Ruler should come with a set of instructions that will serve to guide you on your way. If you find the written ones too hard to comprehend, you can turn to the video option.
For you to access said video files, you need to scan the QR code on the ruler after purchase. Even before that, you will need to know the benefits of the product you are purchasing. One excellent attribute of this tool is that it easily slides over all manner of fabrics.
However, when the need arises, you can use the gripper provided to hold firmly onto a fabric. If you are cutting, this gripper feature should be immensely helpful. The tool offers 1-inch grid marks on its surface.
Additionally, the 1/8 and 1-/4 inch increments in these grids should prove useful in getting the right measurements on your fabrics. Another benefit is, of course, the easy-to-read nature of the markings. This is whether you use the ruler on Bright or dark fabrics.
What makes it special?
Comes with illustrations and instructions
An instructional video is also available
Gripper helps hold fabrics in place for easier cutting
Markings on the ruler are visible whether using bright or dark fabrics
What cons did we find?
You might need some time to get the hang of using the tool
The Creative Grids Machine Quilting Tools Rulers is as the name suggests a pack of rulers. There are nine rulers in total in the package, all of which have different quilting uses. Among them are the slim, shorty, squiggy, chevy, Elvira alongside a few others.
Seeing as though this is a pack, the different tools come in different sizes. This is why you don’t see the dimensions displayed above. This set also allows for a firm grip on fabrics. This makes the process of quilting so much easier since the rulers remain stable as you cut the fabric or quilt using a machine.
Also, you might like the inclusion of two-color reference lines for added visibility. Additionally, these rulers fit quite comfortably in most user’s hands.
What stands out?
The rulers fit in user’s hands easily
Two-color reference lines make it easy to use with machines
Package includes nine different tools in total
Thick and durable material is used in making the rulers
What cons did we manage to find?
The set is expensive
ARTEZA Acrylic Quilters Ruler – Best Value
Dimensions: 4.5″ x 4.5″, 6″ x 6″, 9.5″ x 9.5″, 12.5″ x 12.5″
Other features: set of 4, a 1/2″ seam allowance, vertical & horizontal measurements, double-colored grid lines, non-slip rings
You can as well opt to buy the ARTEZA Acrylic Quilters Ruler set with four items. Each of these rulers is shaped in the form of a square. There are also different size options, as well. With the markings, you will easily take both horizontal and vertical measurements.
The rulers are made of acrylic and are thus meant to last. The manufacturer also takes steps to prevent slipping of the fabric as you are cutting. This is why you are provided with 48 non-slip grip rings. If you use these accessories the way you are supposed to, they will hold your fabrics in place until you are done.
Also, with the ½” seam allowance, you will have an easier time making accurate cuts. The icing on this quilting ruler’s cake is the satisfaction guarantee that can even see you refunded if you find the product unsatisfactory.
Why did it make our list?
Comes with a customer guarantee
You get 48 grip rings to hold fabrics in place
Four rulers in total are provided
½” seam allowance is very forgiving
What is not ideal about it?
It seems that the grids are harder to read for some people
Quiltoff Curved Longarm Quilting Rulers – Best Set
Dimensions: 5” x 3”, 10” x 5”, 13” x 6”, 13” x 5.5”, 13” x 4 3/4”
Materials: 1/4” acrylic
Other features: laser cutting and engraving, made in the USA
Another set is the Quiltoff Curved Longarm Quilting Rulers. This is available in a blue and orange finish. A reminder is that both options will provide you with sufficient levels of visibility where the markings are concerned. This is because they incorporated laser cutting and engraving while making curved rulers.
Just like the other set mentioned above, this one also features 1/4” acrylic bodies. As such, you get sufficient durability with the tools. Where cost is concerned, this is a cheaper option than its predecessor. However, it is still quite pricey as compared to the other non-set quilting rulers featured on the list.
Also, the different sizes make this quite the versatile curved quilting ruler set.
Why is it special?
Features durable bodies
There are different tools for different functions
What are the flaws?
Studio 180 Design Quilting Tool Bundle – Best for Beginners
Dimensions: 6.5″ x 12″, 9.5″ x 12.5″, 12.5″ x 12″
Other features: fine lines, step by step illustrated instructions
The next option is the Studio 180 Design Quilting Tool Bundle. It might take some time, but sooner or later, you are going to figure out how to use the ruler. The step by step instructions should help you get to that point.
Also, there are two tools in this package that you can use to take your quilting measurements. To make sure that you get all your measurements right, the manufacturer includes well-defined lines in the ruler. Also, a conversion chart has been supplied so that you can make sense of the measurements you take.
What are its best features?
Comes with the relevant instructions
Clear defined lines
A conversion chart is supplied
What could be improved?
Using the tool may take a while to get used to
June Tailor T-Shirt Transformation Ruler – Best Square Ruler
Dimensions: 15.5″ x 15.5″
Other features: marking guides at 12.5″ and 10.5″, made in the USA
Another possible purchase is the June Tailor T-Shirt Transformation Ruler. This is a single ruler that is square in shape and measures 15.5” x 15.5”. As such, the product is the largest square ruler on the list. There are as well marking guides available at 12.5” and at 10.5” meant for marking t-shirts. Also, this ruler is made of acrylic, which means it does well where durability is concerned.
What do we love it for?
Provides marking guides for t-shirts
Relatively easy to use
What were we disappointed with?
Some people think the tool is overpriced when compared to the value you get
Things to Consider
With all these different designs, you may be confused as to which one is right for you. If you need help making that distinction, you should turn to the buying guide we have availed below.
What is a quilting ruler, and how to use it?
A quilting ruler is a device used to measure fabrics so that when you cut them, they can align and fit together perfectly in your patchwork. Also, you need a specific skill set when cutting to make the most use of your ruler. How you use each ruler is heavily dependent on the type of ruler, as well as the type of cuts and designs you are trying to make.
Before you start to use the ruler, make sure you have a rotary cutter so that you can make those specific cuts when you need to. In the case of rectangular and square rulers, you need to be aware of their width. Long rulers may have different widths, but it is hard to find such a product that is wider than 6.5”.
With long rulers, you have to take note of the ½” increment and which side of the ruler it is on. This ensures that you don’t pick up the ruler the wrong way and end up cutting strips that are smaller than you need.
These rulers are filled with 1-inch grids that are used to take measurements. If you pay attention to these grids, you will note that the edges are lined with hatch marks to indicate different size increments. There are often the 1/8”, ¼” and ½” marks in each grid.
These will allow you to cut the fabric according to requirements. If, for example, you are required to cut a material that is 2½ by 2½, you will need to line up the edge of the fabric to the 2½” hatch mark. This you do by placing the ruler over the fabric. Since the ruler is transparent, you will see the edge of the material under it, making it easy to align the edge with the appropriate hatch marks.
You can then use your rotary cutter to cut the fabric on the edge of the ruler in a straight line. You will then have a strip that you can turn around and measure the 2½” before cutting. The resulting piece of fabric will measure 2½” x 2½”.
There are as well some angle marks on the device should you find yourself in a situation where you need to cut unusual angles. This works with rectangular and square rulers. However, for the other types, including hexagonal and triangle rulers, you only need to know how to align them properly using the measurements given to achieve precise cuts in the shape of the ruler.
Types of quilting rulers
There are about five different types of quilting rulers available. Of course, each of these is going to be ideal for a specific kind of job, which is why you need to be aware of what they can and cannot do. They are listed and explained below.
Non-slip grid rulers (square and rectangular)
Most quilters will need at least one of these non-slip rulers in their toolset. They are available either in rectangular or square shapes. The measuring grids on these tools make it a cinch to make accurate cuts on your fabrics.
A slippery product would lead to inaccuracies in the various measurements. This is why non-slip backings are essential. Rectangular rulers are ideal for producing narrow fabric strips. They can also be used to square up the edges of a quilt for binding or to create borders. The June Tailor T-Shirt Transformation Ruler is an example of a large square ruler. Unfortunately, there are no rectangular rulers on today’s list.
Triangle and half-square
Your project may also require you to cut triangles or half squares. Triangle and half-square quilting rulers are made for such a purpose. As such, if you have one of these, creating a perfect square or a triangle on your fabrics should be a walk in the park.
Hexagon and half-hexagon
These two quilting ruler options are designed and work similarly to the way the triangle and half-square options work. If the quilt in mind has these two shapes, you are going to need to make angled cuts, and these options make that work so much easier.
Also, if you have ever created y-seams, you know that they can be problematic. Of course, if you have the half-hexagon ruler, there will be no need to develop these Y-seams. As such, you may end up saving on both time and effort and still get good results.
The Dresden ruler is basically another type of triangle ruler. However, a fundamental difference is that they come with longer sides and shorter bases. This makes it so that they are ideal for the creation of creative shapes with your fabrics.
You will also find some projects that need you to create circles or curves. You will need the right equipment for the job. In this case, curved rulers such as the Quiltoff Curved Longarm Quilting Rulers should be the best.
Things to consider when choosing a ruler for quilting
Certain factors are bound to determine which tools would be ideal for each job. We look at all these factors below and explain them so you can have a bit of insight on the same. After reading the section below, choosing a ruler for quilting should be a piece of cake.
Size of the fabric
If you need large fabric pieces for your projects, then you need an equally large quilting ruler. This ensures that you can take all the measurements you need in one go.
Ruler increments are very important in choosing the ideal ruler to use. If, for example, the quilt requires 1/8” increments and your ruler doesn’t have those, you would be in a real pinch. As such, always check your projects to determine if the ruler increments of your tool would fit the job at hand.
Also, since stitching is part and parcel of quilting, you will need to provide a bit of seam allowance before you make your cuts. This allows you to stitch while still retaining the size and shape that you wanted in your fabric. As such, tools with enough seam allowance like the ARTEZA Acrylic Quilters Ruler can be quite an asset for your quilting jobs.
The cutting options also seem to have a say when choosing a ruler for quilting. If you are required to cut in a particular size or shape to pull off the patchwork, it will dictate which ruler you use. If you are cutting small squares, for instance, you can get away with using a small square ruler like the 4.5” option provided by the ARTEZA Acrylic Quilters Ruler.
As we have already explained in the ruler type section, ruler shapes determine which jobs the ruler can be used for. If you want to take on triangle shapes, then you get a triangle ruler. If you’re going to create hexagons, the hexagon rulers will be ideal. Similarly, for curved quilts and cuts, the curved rulers will be ideal.
Ruler dimensions and weight
Sometimes it is advisable that you get the largest rulers you can find. The Creative Grids Square Quilting Ruler, for example, measures 20.5” x 20.5”. This means that you have more extensive measuring capabilities than with other options. As such, there are some projects that you will be able to take on while in possession of this ruler that other people can’t since they have smaller tools.
Marking colors may also help take accurate measurements. The most important thing is that these marking colors be visible and vibrant so that they can act as reference points for cutting when placed against the fabrics.
You may not need to clean your quilting ruler all that often. However, if you feel like it has accumulated grime, there are specific simple steps to take. Dust your tool occasionally. Also, clean it every once in a while, using a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Once you have incorporated the detergent in the water, you can dip a cloth in it and use it to wipe down the ruler.
The number of quilting rulers you need will, of course, be dependent on the projects you take on. Ideally, if you take on different kinds of patchwork with curves, hexagons, triangles, and squares incorporated, you will need to use the rulers meant for these types of jobs. As such, you may need at least five types of rulers for the most complex jobs.
There is no ideal size for a quilting ruler since different sizes can be used for different jobs. However, the ruler you use should at least be a half-inch bigger than the blocks you intend to create. If, for example, you want 6-inch blocks, your ruler should be 6.5” or more.
As we have already established, having a sizeable square or rectangular quilting ruler can be quite an asset. This is a major reason why the Creative Grids Square Quilting Ruler makes it into our top three. Also, the instructions available in text and video make sure that even newbies to the trade don’t have a hard time learning the ropes.
While highly-priced, the Creative Grids Machine Quilting Tools Rulers set offers a lot of value. The different types of rulers will allow you to take on different quilting requirements without breaking a sweat. For this reason, we think the 9-pack is worth the high price you pay.
Last on our top three favorite picks of the day is the ARTEZA Acrylic Quilters Ruler set. Four square rulers are plenty for a variety of jobs, even as you are starting. The grip rings provided also add a bit of value to the tool. Depending on the jobs you intend to do, you may agree with our top three picks or not. Either way, we have given you enough information so that you can decide on which of the six ruler options above you should purchase.