Fussy Cutting – what is it….

On the Camp Loopy sewing chat group there was a question about the fussy cutting I did in my bird quilt.  So I decided to snap some quick photos to try to explain what it is and why I used it.

DSCN3668Fussy cutting is basically just making the most of your fabric design and the way you cut that fabric.

If it’s an all over print or solid, you don’t need to worry about fussy cutting.  But some fabrics have larger prints that you may want to center or place a specific way within your block

This is the project we were talking about on the chat group – I fussy cut two of the fabric prints to get them centered in the blocks they are used in.

These two blocks were fussy cut to get the bird prints centered in the blocks.





One of the fabrics I fussy cut was this one – the rows of birds are basically done as wide stripes across the fabric.  That photo is just a scrap of what’s left over .



For the particular block I was making I needed a 5″ wide strip.  If I just started cutting at the selvage edge of the fabric as if I were cutting plain strips, I would have ended up with a strip that looked similar to this DSCN3675(I set black strips of fabric on each edge of the ruler to make it easier to see what the 5″ section would look  like since my ruler was wider than that).  As you can see I would be cutting off part of the bodies of the birds on the left side and cutting off their heads on the right side of the strip.


So instead of doing that, I fussy cut it (and this fabric just happened to work darn near perfectly for the size strip I needed).

So if I’m cutting a 5″ strip, I put the 2.5″ line on my ruler down the center of one of a bird stripe which looks like this



I get the full bird stripe and just the beaks of the birds on either edge (I bumped the table as I was taking the photo so my ruler shifted a little – I would realign it when I cut so that the little red head on the right side wasn’t showing.  That’s all fussy cutting is.  So if I need a second strip like that, I would be wasting a bit of fabric in between.  Since I’ve cut the beaks off on the birds at the right edge of the strip in the last photo, I’d have to skip that row of birds with no beaks and move my ruler over to center it over the  next row of birds to the right of that ( in this instance I’m wasting a partial strip of birds rather than cutting one strip butted up one right next to the other) so I could center it again, have just the beaks showing on each edge, and cut another strip to match the first one I cut.

Hope this explanation helps.