Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cutting the fabric for Lazy Punk

Today we cut fabric for my Lazy Punk version of Jen Kingwell's Steam Punk quilt. I don't like spending time cutting fabric unless I can do it quickly and with a minimum of waste. Another thing I don't like (I seem to have a lot of don't likes) is jagged edges on my fabric where pieces have been cut out to fit odd shaped templates. I don't mind if the edges are uneven as long as they are straight. So what's a girl to do?

What this girl does is "rough cut" my fabric. This means I cut my fabric in a square or rectangle that is ever so slightly larger than I need and then I trim to size. I used this method to cut the wedges and arcs. All of the instructions for making the necessary templates were posted yesterday.

Let's start with the arc without seam allowances template. To calculate the size of the fabric I need to rough cut I place the template on my ruler. This template has no seam allowances so I will need to add them but they don't have to be a precise 1/4". Taking this into consideration you can see that my arc is roughly 2" x 5".

I need 4 arcs so I'll cut a piece that is 8" x 5".

With right sides together I fold the fabric in half so that it measures 4" x 5" and then I fold it one more time so that it is now 2" x 5". I place my template on the folded fabric and trace around it with a marking tool. I like to use Frixion pens and Bohin's mechanical chalk pencil. Sometimes I just use a regular mechanical pencil. Use what works for you!

Place pins at either end of the arc and with sharp scissors cut out the arc leaving a generous seam allowance of at least 3/8". Just eyeball it - remember this is a fast, painless stress free method of cutting! You now have your four arcs!

The lower wedge with seam allowances is the next tool we will use. I use this template in several ways depending on the fabric I have. If you are using scraps just trace around the template and cut it out. Although this method makes good use of leftover bits is time consuming and I want to use my "rough cut" method. To calculate my fabric requirements I place my template on the fabric and trace around it. I turn the template and but it up to the tracing and trace around the template. It doesn't have to be on the line - just close to it. These two measure approximately 7" so I will need to rough cut a piece of fabric that measures 4" x 14".

Once I have rough cut the strip I trace around the template four times flipping each time until I have four lower wedges. I select two or three more fabrics for inner wedges and rough cut pieces that measure 4" x 14". I place one on top of the other with the one with the tracings on top.

I  pin and then cut them apart and trim the excess fabric.

Sometimes when using directional prints you may want to trace the templates so that the stripes go in the same direction or that they capture the same part of the directional print. To do this place the template on the fabric and trace around it. Move the template up so that the bottom of the template is lined up with the top of the tracing. Trace around the template once again.

Measure from the edge of the fabric to the top of the second tracing. In my case it measured 4 1/2" x 7". I need two more wedges so I cut my fabric 4 1/2" x 7" or even faster I fold the fabric in half, pin  and then do my rough cut!

If you have multiple fabrics you can rough cut to the desired size, layer and pin and cut multiple layers at once. You only need to mark the top copy. Always make sure that your seam allowance is generous (at least 3/8" and that goes right back to making the templates). Cut out your lower wedges.

And this is what you end up with! If the stripes were going sideways it would give a different look to the wedges.

The last method I will explain is using the window template. I use this to fussy cut fabric. Here's a wild fabric!

I place the template on the fabric and move it around to identify interesting areas.

When I something I like I trace around the inside of the window template. If my template is on the right side of the fabric I use a marking tool that can be easily removed, the mechanical chalk pencil for example. I often trace on the wrong side of the fabric.

This template has no seam allowance so when I cut out the patch with sharp scissors I leave a generous seam allowance of at least 3/8" all around. And here is the patch cut out (notice the stunt hand).

Place the cut out patch on another motif lining up the print. Pin and then cut out with sharp scissors. Now you have two patches. Pin both on your fabric lining up the print and cut two more patches.

And here is the wild block that results!

I like to rough cut lots of strips for arcs and inner wedges but not pair them up beforehand. In this way you can come up with some really interesting combinations that you would never have considered.

Phew! Another long post! Tomorrow we prepare the pieces for stitching and make the block!

Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. some good tips - thanks for all the pics!

  2. thanks for the tips and information..i really appreciate it.. fastener tools