Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cutting our Fabric

Time to cut our fabric. We will be cutting the same shape from our background and our main fabrics. The way you will cut will be different depending on if you are hand sewing or machine sewing.

Hand Sewing :

Lay out your nicely pressed fabric with the wrong side up. If your fabric is light you will be using your mechanical pencil. If your fabric is dark, you will be using your chalk marking tool.

If you have a problem with the fabric moving around while you are marking, you can clip a sheet of fine grit sandpaper to a clipboard and lay your fabric on this as you mark. Just be careful not to move the fabric around on the sandpaper too much or you could damage your fabric.

Keep in mind that our goal is to trace out the actual lines we will be sewing on. This means we need to leave about ¼” around the outside of each shape (so about ½” between shapes).

Make sure your template is right side up (really there is no wrong side up, but you will have to keep your template consistently the same side up or you will not have pieces that fit together.) The way I had you mark your templates in the last post will result in whirlygigs that spin the way I think is the cutest. It just works for my head, but both ways are fine.

Flip flopping your template upside down and then right side up (but never flipping it over) will allow you to get the most pieces with the least waste from your fabric (See my paper example below for clarification). Just start in a corner and place the straight side against the straight edge of the fabric and trace around the shape. Flip and trace until you run out of fabric and then start a new row. Don’t forget to leave your seam allowance between each piece and each row.



The line just needs to be dark enough to be visible when you sew. I trace a bunch of pieces of each color and then start sewing because I am undisciplined and can’t be bothered with doing the logical thing and preparing all my pieces at one time. Do whatever makes you happy.

You will need to cut the following number of pieces for this pattern

Background - 144 (Everyone will need this amount)
1 Color Main - 144
2 Color Main - 72 each color
3 Color Main - 48 each color
4 Color Main - 36 each color
6 Color Main - 24 each color

Once your pieces are traced you will use your scissors to carefully cut each one out, leaving the ¼” border. I cut the rows out and then cut off the pieces from each row.

Machine Sewing:


If you have never used a rotary cutter, please read this quick tutorial.

Lay your pressed fabric out and neatly fold it in half selvage to selvage. Use your quilting ruler and rotary cutter to square up the edge of the fabric that was hand cut at the fabric store. Just take off enough to get a straight edge. This will give you a good clean start. Once you have a nice, straight edge, cut the fabric into 4” strips. You will need the following number of strips:

Background - 8 strips
1 Color Main - 8 strips
2 Color Main - 4 Strips each color
3 Color Main - 3 strips each color
4 Color Main - 2 strips each color
6 Color Main - 2 strips each color

Take the 4” strips and unfold. You can stack 2 or 3 strips as long as you make sure they are perfectly placed on top of each other. Place the strips face down.

Make sure your template is right side up (really there is no wrong side up, but you will have to keep your template consistently the same side up or you will not have pieces that fit together.) The way I had you mark your templates in the last post will result in whirlygigs that spin the way I think is the cutest. It just works for my head, but both ways are fine.

Start at the end of the strip(s) and using your template only as a guide for placing your quilting ruler, start cutting out the pieces. You will flip flop the template from top to bottom, but never flip it over. See the paper diagram below for clarification.



You will need to cut the following amount of pieces from each fabric:

Background - 144 (Everyone will need this amount)
1 Color Main - 144
2 Color Main - 72 each color
3 Color Main - 48 each color
4 Color Main - 36 each color
6 Color Main - 24 each color

Use this method to cut out the main fabrics and the background fabrics, but be sure not to cut your backing or binding fabrics. Once you have your pieces cut you will be ready to start sewing them into the blocks.

3 comments:

Heather and Jase said...

Just wanted to say that even though I am not participating I am following along. I have no skills at sewing but this is highly interesting to me!

It's like watching the plans unfold to build an alien space craft!

Fascinating!

Third times a charm said...

You really should try. It is very easy, even if you have never sewn before. I promise to help you endlessly if you get stuck.

Heather and Jase said...

I would but I am banned from being around sharp objects. I'm too clumsy and absent minded!