Is there a favorite fabric you have set aside for something special? Here are a few tips to help you meticulously place and feature your treasured fabrics so you can cut fabric with confidence.
When I think about fussy cutting prints, one of the first designers that comes to mind is Tula Pink. Tula’s focal prints feature beautiful animals that just beg for fussy cutting.
Using an acrylic ruler and washi tape can be a perfect way to get a new view on a print. Using the washi tape to mark the size cut that you need to make (like the 2 1/2″ square outlined on the ruler above), you can move the ruler around the fabric to see if the size of the print allows a nice feature within the shape.
Be sure when using this method to pay careful attention to the 1/4″ seam allowance that will be sewn around all the edges after the fabric is cut!
The red 2″ square super imposed on the photo above shows what the fabric will look like after the piece is sewn together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. The snail fits perfectly inside the finished square!
Another benefit of using your acrylic ruler is that you can use the ruler lines to make sure you are making a straight cut. In the image above, the ruler line is used to keep the text in a straight, horizontal line.
The red 2″ square super imposed on the acrylic ruler in the image above shows that a 2 1/2″ cut / 2″ finished square would be too small for this print.
Because Washi Tape is easy to re-position, it only takes a moment to determine a better size for the circle of sea turtles. In this case, cutting a 3″ square (which would finish at 2 1/2″ square) is much better for the print size.
Foundation Paper Piecing can really show off fabrics when they are meticulously selected and cut. In the 2019 Quilter’s Planner Magazine, Kerry Goulder has a Foundation Paper Piecing Basics article to get you ready for paper piecing. Using the Economy Block template that she provided, let’s take a look at how to create a fussy cutting paper template.
Note that the image above is not necessarily to scale.
Let’s take a look at how to create a fussy cutting template using section A4.
After printing out your template and verifying that it has printed at the correct size, identify the section from which you want to make a template. In this case, we selected section A4 (which will also work as a template for sections A2, A3, and A5). Align the 1/4″ marks on your acrylic ruler with one edge of A4 and draw your first seam allowance line.
Continue making 1/4″ seam allowance lines outside the selected shape until you have done all the sides.
Cut the shape out along the marked seam allowance lines.
The next step is to cut out the section shape on the inside to create a paper “window” to place on your fabric. For symmetric shapes, this can be done easily by folding the shape in half on its mirror line and then cutting on the internal lines for the shape.
After cutting out the internal shape, gently flatten the paper back out. Be sure to handle these templates carefully as they are delicate 1/4″ outlines, and the larger the shape, the more delicate and easy it can be to distort the shape from handling.
The paper template is now a wonderful window to move around your fabric. Use a fabric marking device of your choice in combination with your acrylic ruler to mark all the areas you want to cut. By marking your fabric prior to cutting, you can also get a sense for the other areas in the fabric that you can still use.
We hope that these tips help inspire you to think about how to use your prints in your next project. For more inspiration on meticulously selecting your fabric, be sure to read Kitty Wilkin’s English Paper Piecing Basics article in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner Magazine!