Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mixing up less than perfect fussy cuts

Today I thought I would share my latest Road 66 block and also talk about some fussy cutting options that you could consider.

I love working with stripes and directional prints because I can use the lines of the directional prints to place my hexagons on the back of the fabric and then cut them out. Stripes are far and away the easiest print to work with when fussy cutting.



Consider this pair of blocks from my quilt Birds in the Loft. I used a simple brown and blue stripe fabric to make these blocks. I made sure that the top and bottom corners of the hexagon were lined up on the outer edge of a blue stripe. As you may know I like to glue tack my paper hexagons to my fabric. The cheaper the glue the better and do make sure it is a fabric safe glue. By tacking the papers in this way I can cut out my fabric hexagons with scissors and I don't have to worry about pins. So, stars radiating out are fun and interesting.


But I am particularly fond of stripes that go around the centre hexagon. The cutting isn't perfect but I'm not worried about that because in a quilt with almost two hundred hexagon rosettes little imperfections disappear!


Sometimes you just don't have enough fabric to make a rosette. I had enough fabric to cut nine hexagons so I sewed six together to make the top rosette and I added three hexagons made with a similar fabric to create the second rosette.


Here is another example of making do with what you have. I had enough fabric to fussy cut three flowers and I used a stripe fabric for the other three.


This same principle of mixing fabrics has some added benefits. If your fussy cuts aren't exact the differences will show up when the blocks are sewn together because the designs won't match up. Using two fabrics instead of a single fabric will help disguise less than perfect fussy cuts!

This rosette is good. It needs another round of hexagons (12 this time) and the idea of fussy cutting 12 hexagons from a single fabric wasn't appealing to me. Also bear in mind that if you add a round fussy cut from the same fabric you will have to adjust how you fussy cut. I wrote about this here. Six hexagons will have a flat edge touching the centre rosette and the other six with have a point edge touching the centre rosette and this affects how you cut the fabric.


So what I did was mix it up; I cut six from a stripe fabric and I used six from made fabric and I made my open donut. You can see the circle isn't closed (inside the green oval) and this makes adding this round to the middle rosette so much easier. You can see how I add the open donut to the middle rosette here. Not only does mixing up the hexagons simplify the process of making the round but I don't have to worry about exact matches because the hexagons are separated by the alternating hexagons.


This can add an extra design element to the block when in fact the intent of using two fabrics or two different fussy cuts was to either disguise imperfect cutting or to eliminate the need to cut 12 hexagons from a single fabric. This is what the block looks like when it is all put together. It is the centrepiece of one of my workshop samples. 


Time for me to get cutting. I hope you find some time to take a few stitches today. Until I post again, happy sewing!

Karen H

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the confirmation that stripes are easier to fussy cut. I purchased some striped fabrics with the thought of fussy cutting when I get to my POTC. I want to do some fussy cutting but I think I'll need some practice before advancing to the more complex patterns. So the POTC (it'll be a small quilt/wall hanging) will have some stripes. The project after that (not sure what it will be yet) will be the one for some more complicated fussy cutting. ;-)

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  2. I always love seeing fabric choices, through your eyes. It helps me to see fabric differently, too. Thanks!!

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  3. The last rosette set is gorgeous!! Love how the light stripe really makes movement through the block. It looks round!! Would not have thought to cut the stripe that way. Good luck in your classes

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  4. Love reading about your fabric and fussy cutting choices. The possibilities are endless!

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  5. Wow - stunning fussy cutting! I bet you had such fun exploring all those possibilities :)

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  6. I love the movement that the stripes create--very fun and inspiring hexies!

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  7. So beautiful! And you always explain so well. I use the same techniques of alternating fabrics. It adds to the design and makes life easier.
    Are you going to have another sew along next year? I do hope so.
    cheers.

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  8. Nice fussy flowers. The last one is georgious. Love it. Groetjes, Dientje

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  9. The samples are great. Love the way you work with the strips. Thx for the sharing of your "fabric play"! Miss my Studio.....

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  10. Beautiful hexagons! I agree that stripes are just the best!

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  11. I do love how the last example looks! I want to finish my Grandmothers Flower Garden so I can get on with trying some of your different ideas in a new hexie quilt! I am working the polls on Monday and plan to take my stitching in case there is any down time - which there might be at the polls in my little town.

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  12. Great example of a great tip for managing fussy cuts, Karen -- the second ring really makes the center pop!!

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  13. I always love to see your fabric choices and how you use them. It gives me a little 'Yay' moment when I see a fabric of yours that I also have šŸ˜€

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  14. These are absolutely gorgeous! Never thought about hexagons. Stack-n-Whack stars are my favorite. But I think they will be replaced with hexagons on the next quilt.

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