Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More techniques for fussy cutting fabric

I have been doing some fussy cutting to prepare some samples for an English paper piecing workshop that I will be doing in the November. There are so many ways to fussy cut and the one I use will depends on many factors. I've written several posts on fussy cutting as well as some instructions which you can find under the tab English Paper Piecing Instructions & Hexagon Fun. Today I thought I would share two other fussy cutting methods (one is a variation on something I've already showed) that I like to use. The other is relatively new and it came to me when I didn't want to start cutting up my fabric until I knew what the rosette would look like.

Clear Plastic Template Method
The first step is to make a template from clear plastic. I save scrap plastic (often from presentation folders) to make my templates. The first thing I do is trace the actual size of my hexagon (or diamond) on the plastic with a permanent marker. I then cut it out being sure to add a seam allowance all the way around,

Now I am ready to go! I place the template on my fabric and find the area I want to use. With my permanent marker I make some registration marks to help line up the next motif. I trace around my template. In the following picture the outer green line shows the outer edge of my plastic template. It is the cutting line. The gold inner line represents the finished size of the hexagon. You can see that I've drawn some registration marks on the template.

This is the template with the registration marks.

The nice thing about this plastic template is that it is reusable! I can just hear someone saying but it has registration marks made with a permanent marker. No problem: a tiny bit of nail polish remover on a paper point or an ear swab will remove the registration marks quickly and easily so that the template can be reused.

Now I could use the quilters' template material because it will accept pencil marks that can be erased however I find that it is opaque so it can be difficult to see the design on the fabric so for me the clear plastic works really well and it was material that cost me nothing because it was salvaged!

Copied Fabric
Sometimes I don't know where to place my template on the fabric to get the nicest result and I don't want to just cut up my fabric willy nilly so what to do? Simple! Make a colour copy of the fabric and then cut it up until the right arrangement appears!

I can cut out different sections of the fabric and try out different arrangements of the hexagons.

When I decide which portion of the print that I want to use I line up the copied fabric on the real fabric to cut my hexagons for EPP. I cut around the paper being sure to add a 1/4" seam allowance all around!

This is the finished block using the template made from a copy of the fabric!

So there you have it - two more methods of fussy cutting that you can add to your skill set!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H


  1. Hi Karen. Do you use a small rotary cutter to cut out your hexagons, or do you use scissors like I do?

    1. I cut with scissors and I usually leave a generous seam allowance of about 3/8" because it makes the basting so much easier! If I am cutting a lot of hexagons from a single fabric what I do is cut strips, I layer them so that I am cutting four at once, I'll sub cut squares, glue tack a paper to the top hexagon, trim the corners with scissor and then glue tack a paper hexagon to the remaining three in the pile. I can cut hundreds of hexagons for basting in 30 minutes! I wrote about it on February 25, 2014. You can find that post here: http://faeriesandfibres.blogspot.ca/2014/02/cutting-lots-of-hexagons-for-path-and.html

  2. I've copied fabric before! I wanted to make a fussy cut binding, so had to figure out what part was visible on the front and then work out the fold and the SA.... I felt like a nerd but was still very pleased with myself.

  3. Thanks for the tips. Nice fabrics. Groetjes, Dientje.

  4. Brilliant! Great idea to copy the fabric, too, if you're unsure how it will look! YOur posts are always full of ideas :-)

  5. Who'd have thought of copying their fabric onto paper? What an inspired idea!

  6. Again a great idea with the copied fabric Karen! I also use clear plast (Laminating foil) and it works well too. I have to try your hint with the marks on the template. Thank you.

  7. Great tips I can't wait to get back to hexies soon--I'm feeling so inspired!