Fussy Cutting: what is it & how to do it

Fussy Cutting: what is it & how to do it

Tags: Christmas BOM, Churn Dash, fussy cut, quilt pattern, Sawtooth Star

Last week in Anita's Christmas BOM she talked about fussy cutting so today I decided to had some instructions on how to best do this.

Fussy cutting is a term we use in quilting when we cut one particular area of the fabric to highlight it rather than cutting a piece at random. We often do this in block centers or cornerstones in borders. An example of this is shown where two squares have been cut out of the same print. The first square was cut at random - usually strip cut, and the second was fussy cut to position the poinsettia in the center of the square.

non-fussy cut and fussy cut fabric squares

How to Fussy Cut

If you have a clear ruler, you can position this on the fabric aligning the center of the ruler with the center of the square you want to cut. Alternatively you can cut a square out of the center of a piece of card to form a window and use that to determine the area to cut.

It's easy with our see-through patchwork rulers. I just positioned it centered within the 5" square I needed to cut making sure the halfway mark (2.5" for a 5" square) is in the center of the square. It would have been even easier if I used a 5" square ruler!

fussy cutting

Here's how it looks cut out.

fussy cut center  

Here's some tips you can think about then fussy cutting:

  • Remember you do need to allow for seam allowances when cutting out.
  • I try to avoid fussy cutting squares that have eighth or even quarter inch increments as it can be difficult to spot the midpoint on the ruler. 
  • If you are cutting a lot of the same square size, I find it easier to place tape along the cutting line as it makes it easier to visualize the square before you've cut it ensuring it will be correct.
fussy cutting with tape outlining the square

If you don't have a clear ruler to use or one you cannot easily see through, you could also cut a 'window' from a piece of card that is the same size as the square you want to cut and use this as a guide to make your cut.

fussy cutting with card window

Here are some of the blocks in Anita's quilt where she has fussy cut the centers. You can see how you can make simple blocks like Churn Dash or Sawtooth Star into stunning unique blocks.

Churn Dash with fussy cut center square

Sawtooth quilt block with fussy cut center

Anita's Christmas quilt is fill of tips and tricks for many different techniques, fussy cutting is just one technique she uses to create unique blocks for the quilt. If you'd like to learn more about this fabulous quilt visit our BOM program: Christmas BOM quilt 

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