OLFA Circle Cutter Series: Part 2 ~ A Tutorial

Welcome to Part 2 of our OLFA Circle Cutter Series.  Today I’ll be sharing a tutorial.  You all might remember this circle table runner from the recent guest post over at Melissa’s Sew Bitter Sweet Designs.  I’m posting it here on our blog because OLFA has asked me to share my design with their facebook friends!  I can’t believe they liked it so much!  So I would like to welcome any new friends who have found us through OLFA…please have a look around and get to know us.

As many of you know I’m terrible at naming projects!  This is yet another project with no name.  I’ll call it No Name Circles. {haha}

And guess what…it’s still not quilted!  I just haven’t had time to do much sewing over the past 2 weeks.
Let’s get started…
All seams are 1/4″
6 ~ 7″ square pieces of fabric {I used part of a Good Fortune Layer Cake}
5/8 yard for background & outer border {grey}
1/4 yard inner border {purple}
First, I cut out all of my circles.  I took each 7″ square of fabric and applied  a 6 7/8″ square of Steam a Seam to the wrong side.  It’s very important that the Steam a Seam is smaller than the fabric.  Otherwise, you will have a sticky mess on your iron. {I wonder how I know that????}

Steam a Seam on Wrong Side
Ironing it on



Almost ready to cut circles
There are two different ways to cut the circles out.  The old fashion way…scissors.  Or the easy way….use an OLFA Circle Cutter.  I went with option number 2…I used my handy dandy OLFA Circle Cutter which made my life a whole lot easier!
Before I cut my circles I peeled the paper backing off the Steam a Seam.
I laid my square right side up on my cutting board and started cutting.

Ready to cut
Cutting the 4.5″ Circle


I made a total of three cuts.  I started with the smallest circle, the 4.5″ circle.  Then I cut the 5.5″ circle.  Then the 6.5″ circle.
{You can refer back to yesterday’s post, Part 1, to see how I determined where the pivot spike needed to be in order to cut each size.}

Cutting 5.5″ Circle
Cutting 6.5″ Circle


Check out what I did in a matter of minutes…


Next, the 5.5″ circle must be cut into fourths.  I only used 5 of the 5.5″ circles so I picked my favorites.  Cut in half and then in half again.

Line up on the 2 3/4″ mark and cut
Flip ruler and line up on other 2 3/4″ mark



All done!
Now I’m ready to lay out the circles on the background fabric.
I cut a 10″ x width of fabric strip of grey
I laid this strip out on my ironing board, right side up.  I pressed it in half lengthwise to create a mark down the center.  I used this mark to help me align all the circles that will be applied.

Right side up ready to press
Press in half lengthwise



This is the center mark used for aligning circles
The 6.5″ circle rings will be the first to go onto the grey fabric.  Also, I started with the two center rings and worked my way out.  I folded each ring in half and made a crease on each side.  This crease was lined up with the center press mark on the grey fabric.  Keep going until all 6 rings are laid on the fabric.  They should be touching but not overlapping.  Do NOT iron anything yet.
Next, take each center 4.5″ circle and fold in half to make a crease in the center.  This crease will line up with the center press mark on the grey fabric.
If you look closely at the picture you can see all the crease marks line up with the pressed line I made earlier.  This is how I made sure everything lined up just right with no measuring!  Do NOT iron anything yet…
Next, add the connector pieces.  These pieces will be tucked under the outer rings.  I used my 6″ x 24″ ruler to make sure they were all placed the same distance from the edge of the grey.  I used tweezers to move them around if I needed.  {I might be a little OCD} Everything is still NOT ironed down at this point.


Stand back and take a look.  If you’re happy you can iron it all down.  If something looks off, just wiggle it around until you’re happy and then iron it all down.

Here’s what you have before adding any borders.
All we have left is appliquéing the circles, adding borders and quilting!
I used my open toe foot and stitched around each circle.  It’s a little time consuming but not too bad.  Just stop and have a little chocolate every now and then!
When I appliqué I always leave the threads long at the beginning and end so I can pull everything to the back and tie off.  I don’t like how it looks if I backstitch.
The two threads on top will be pulled to the back and tied off

2 bobbin threads
2 bobbin + 2 top threads



Double knot & Trim

I very gently tug on each bobbin thread which helps me find the top thread and pull it to the back.  I use a pin or needle to get the top thread started.  It’s just easier than trying to grab it with my fingers.  I also leave a 1/2″ tail when I trim the knot.  No one will ever see it.

A close up of the appliqué…


After everything is stitched down it’s time to add borders.
Almost done!
I added a 1″ inner purple border to frame the design and a 2.5″ outer grey border to finish it all off!
I know I didn’t give a step by step on the borders.  I figure you’ve had enough of me for today.  Plus, these were standard run of the mill borders that don’t really need a lot of explanation.
Boy oh boy that ended up being a really long tutorial.  I hope I didn’t lose too many of you along the way.  Hopefully I’ll get No Name Circles quilted and named before long!

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for Part 3 of the OLFA series.  I’m going to have some tips on using the OLFA circle cutter.

19 thoughts on “OLFA Circle Cutter Series: Part 2 ~ A Tutorial”

  1. i saved the tute, thank you! it’s just fabulous! i ordered a circle cutter from amazon for a great price and can’t wait ’til it comes. i’l make this runner in red, white and blue for the fourth!

  2. Great tute. I’ve had my Circle cutter for awhile and just love it! It’s a little pricey these days, but oh so worth every cent! Perfect if one is cutting a ton of circles for YoYo’s. I stack Charm squares and cut thru several thicknesses at once – works great!
    Thanks for the tip about bringing threads to back. Nice idea.

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. I have one of these cutters and haven’t used it.
    Now that you gace us this great idea, it may have to come out of the package!

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