Monday, July 13, 2009

Quilt-A-Long Week 2

Week 2 - Cut Fabrics
July 12 - 18

If you are using all pre-cut charm packs for your quilt – Congratulations, your week’s work is all done! Don’t you just love the ease of charm packs? All perfectly coordinated and cut for you.

If you are cutting all or some of your own charms, this is the week to get started.

Just like with most things in life... a little prep before cutting will save you lots of headache and frustration down the line. So here's my method for cutting fabrics...

First, line your selvedge ends up together and get the fabric as straight to the grain as you can. Unfortunately, not all shops are as careful when cutting fabrics, and I have ended up with some wonky cuts of fabric before (once losing almost ¼ yard from a 1-yard cut of fabric.) Once your selvedges are lined up and fabric is as straight as possible, you’ll want to cut a fresh edge to work from.

Using your self-healing mat, cutting ruler, and rotary cutter, line your fabric up along one of the horizontal marks and your cutting ruler along one of the vertical marks. If you are working with a Fat Quarter, you should only have to fold your fabric in half; if working with the full 44” wide fabric, you will probably have to fold your fabric in half, and then in half again. Cut along the ruler, keeping the blade of your rotary cutter flush against the ruler. Move the ruler over 5 inches and make another cut. Now you have your first 5” strip (5” x Width of Fabric or WOF). After a number of cuts, take a look at your strips – are they straight, or do they have a little divot at the folds? If you have a little divot, your ruler may have moved just a little bit while cutting. Go ahead and re-freshen your edge cut and then start cutting your strips again. If you find this is a consistent issue, make sure you are applying even pressure along the entire length of the ruler. Also look for ruler grips (little circles of sandpaper) to apply to the fabric-side of your ruler.

Once you have enough strips cut to meet your needs, subcut each strip into 5” squares.

Now if you are "fussy cutting" your squares to maintain a specific image in the cut square, you'll have to make specalized cuts and will probably need some extra fabric to make up for wasted fabric. I'm fussy cutting some 5" squares for a Disney-themed charm quilt and got burnt out about half-way through (darn my short attention span!!) I really need to pick that back up again!

If you're cutting all of your own fabric squares, and aren't fussy cutting squares, you might want to think about using a strip piecing method for the 9-patches. Crystal has a tutorial on her blog about this method - and you could adapt her instructions to use 5" x WOF strips.

Sorry no pictures for this post. I wanted to be a week ahead of our schedule so that I'd have cute pictures to add to each post, but last week as a little crazy! At the last minute I decided that Megan needed a couple of outfits for our trip to Port Aransas last weekend. She looked so cute, but I'm still not sure what I was thinking!! Oh well - that's a post for another day.

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