Friday, December 31, 2010

My First Quilt -- part 1 -- Cutting

Quiltalong Series:

Allright, so you have your fabric and you're ready to cut into it...  here we go!

First.... whether or not to prewash fabric.  
There are as many people on both sides of this argument, and I'm not going to steer you toward a side here.  People can get very adamant about their side!

People often say you should prewash if you are using fabrics that run, like bright reds or purples.  They say that you should wash so that the fabric shrinks before you use it.  They also say it removes chemicals.  They are probably right.

Non-prewashers like to work with fabric that is still crisp and easier to cut.  They are often the impatient types that don't want to wait to use fabric.....  this is the group I tend to fall into.
I don't prewash my fabric unless I am working on a project for a group that specifically requests it.

So.... that said, if you prewash, you may want to iron your fabric before you start the cutting process.
if you don't prewash, open that shopping bag and let's go!

Now, I've labeled my fabrics below so that you can see which ones are working as my darks and which ones are lighter.  
the insides of the blocks will consist of a dark and a light, and the outsides will be a dark and a light as well.  
Before you cut, please label which of your fabrics will be each of the 4.  

See my abbreviations above?  I'll keep using those through the tutorial, so you may want to use them.  It might be helpful to cut a scrap of each and pin a label to it.

My cutting directions will assume that you are using the Light Inner (linner) for the border and Dark Inner (dinner) as the binding.

First, remove the selvedge.  It's the thicker edge and the tiny holes next to it.  you don't want it in your quilt, so just use your ruler and cut it off using your rotary cutter.

Now this is a good time to tell you to be careful with that rotary cutter.  It's a blade, and you can cut yourself with it.  (Have done this.)  Be sure you cut away from your body, and keep your fingers out of the way.  Keep the safety on when you're not using it, and try to get in the habit of putting the safety on every single time you set it down.  Yep, I put that one in bold italics.  

I generally do my cutting with my cutting mat either on my kitchen table or on my hardwood floor.  You want to put it on a firm, stable surface.  And it's easier if you can reach at least 2 sides of it without moving the mat.

If you are using fat quarters, skip to the text below the next picture.
If you are using quarter-yard cuts, cut on the fold so that you have 2 pieces that are each 9" x 22". Then go to the text below the picture.

Alright, so we've removed selvedges, and now it's time to straighten up the edge of your fabric.
I generally do this by lining the grain up along one of the marked lines on my cutting mat. 

You can cut 2 at once.  If you cut 2 together, cut your inners together.  And then cut your outers together.

We're going to be cutting 2 1/2 inch strips.

From your inners, cut 5 strips.  
From your outers, cut 3 strips.
Each will be 2 1/2" wide by approximately 22" long.

As you cut, it may be helpful to move the previous strip over a bit so you can see the edge of the fabric.

You will have some larger bits left over, just put those aside for now. We'll use them in the backing.  

Allright, that's it for cutting.
How did it go?

Quiltalong Series:

No comments:

Post a Comment