Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Cutting Instructions

Good Morning All and  Happy Valentines Day!!!  We'll I know many of you have been waiting for this so let's get right to it.  Here are the cutting instructions to get going on our Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long :)

Today we will be cutting the 5" squares of your super fun prints.  I am so excited for the great prints that are being used!!  Your pictures on Flickr are awesome!!  I know you might be itching to cut everything but we will save the sashing until we get closer to that part.  (mainly because I want to double check the exact measurement on my sewn pieces, I want to make sure my calculations aren't off a 1/4").  Now, I know some of you already know everything that follows but we are trying to keep this beginner friendly.  Just use what you need for your skill level :)

So, for your 5" squares, you need to first know how many to cut.  So find the size you are making, and see how many 5" squares you will be cutting.

Square Quilts

Rectangle Quilts

Okay, Now on to the cutting.  I will show you the method for cutting your pre-cuts and your yardage.  If you are going Scrappy I figure you already have enough experience cutting to cut your desired 5" squares :)  (and I just couldn't figure out how would be a good way to show cutting up scraps :)

So Pre-Cuts :)  If you have charm squares just set them aside :)  You are already done :)  On, to the Layer Cakes.  Now, you will be getting four 5" squares out of each layer cake piece.  So, you can figure out how many "pieces of cake" you need to cut up by dividing 4 by the number of squares needed.  For Example, if you are doing a 3 x 4 quilt take 144 / 4 and you get 36 slices of cake needed.  Which means, you can pull out 6 slices of cake and save them for a future project :)  Or, if you are like me and you like 5" squares you can just skip this step and cut up your whole layer cake and then have some extra "charms" when you are done :)

Okay, So how do you cut up your Layer Cake.  Grab 3 - 5 (Depending on how sharp your cutter is) 10" squares and line them up on top of each other and along your grid lines of your mat.  I like to do this as a double check.  See how the square fits perfectly in my mat grid :)

Now align your ruler up so that the 5" mark aligns with the side edge of your slices of cake. (sorry, the reflection of my light kind of made it hard to see where the corner lines up.)  The other side of your ruler should be right along the grid line of your mat.  That is your double check.  Once you are all lined up, go ahead and slice along your ruler edge.

Now, don't move your pieces!!  Without moving, flip your ruler in the opposite direction so it is now across your slices of cake.  You are going to measure the exact same way.  Line the 5" mark of your ruler along the bottom of your layer cake pieces.  Double check that the other side of your ruler is lined up along the horizontal line on your mat.  Go ahead and slice along your rulers edge.

Now your have 4 adorable little "charms" out of each print.  Repeat this process for as many Layer Cake pieces that you need.  I am doing my whole layer cake and having some leftovers :)

Onto Yardage!!!  Okay, so once again, we start with a little math.  First you want to figure out how many charms you want out of each print you have.   You will be getting eight 5" squares out of 5" strip of yardage.  So, you can figure out how many 5" strips you need to cut up by dividing 8 by the number of squares needed.  For Example, if you are doing a 3 x 4 quilt take 144 / 8 and you get 18 5" strips.  Let's say you have 9 prints you are using.  So divide 18 / 9 and you get 2 strips of each print.  The math won't always work out this perfect but you get the idea.  If you have questions, please feel free to email me or leave a message on flickr.  I love to figure fabric yardage :)  

Now, onto cutting.  I will be showing how to cut 2 strips.  (If you have a 24" ruler you can cut up to 4 strips at a time and still be fine, anymore than that and your ruler won't be long enough :)  So start by ironing your fabric piece.  I don't starch but you are welcome to if that is what you prefer.  Now, disclaimer, I am using a piece a fabric that I got at Wal-Mart for 25 cents a yard.  It is horrible, it actually started melting when I ironed it (hence the wrinkles) , but since I didn't need any 5" squares of a print right now, I don't mind wasting this stuff :)  Align your folded edged along the bottom line of your cutting mat.

Once your fabric is nice and aligned go ahead and cut a straight edge using your mat grid.  I had to measure in quite a bit as my edges didn't line up at all.

Once you have a nice straight edge you are ready to cut your strips.  From your straight edge, count 5" over.  Align your ruler along the mat grid lines on the top and bottom of your fabric piece.  Go ahead and cut along the edge of your ruler.  (hint . . .When I am cutting long strips like this I like to place my hand along the bottom of the ruler, I cut about 1/2 way up, pause, slide my hand up the ruler, and then finish the cut.  It just seems to help with slipping :)

Now, Don't move your cut strip.  Measure over another 5" , align your ruler along your mat lines, and cut again.   Repeat this process until you have your desired number of strips.  (Once again, don't do more than 4 at a time ;)

So now you are ready to cut on the Horizontal.  Start at the top of your strip.  Go ahead and line your ruler up along the horizontal line of your mat that is just below the selvage line.  Go ahead and cut off the selvage edge.

Now, from your nice new cutting edge, measure down 5".  Align your ruler along the horizontal grid lines.  Once you are nice and aligned go ahead and slice across all your rows at once.

Continue measuring down 5" and slicing until your get to the bottom of your pieces of fabric.  You should end up with about an inch to an inch and a half left along the bottom.  Go ahead and make your final cut.

You now have 8 squares per 5" strip.  Remember there are 2 in each set as your fabric was folded.  And you will have a little bit of scrap at the bottom of each strip.  Yippee Skippee for Scraps :)  Continue this process until you have all of your "charms" cut.

Alright, That's it for today!!!!  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at happyquiltingmelissa at gmail dot com.  Or you can always leave a note over at the flickr group :)  If you like, you can post pictures of your charms as soon as you get them cut.  They are going to be so cute!!!

The plan is to start the Sewing on Wednesday.  So try to have your squares cut by then :)  I am so super excited to get going on this project!!!  Happy Quilting!!!!
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  1. Yipee!! I'm so excited to get this going! Thank you, Melissa!

  2. Glad I've got the charm squares :)
    I'm excited about this!

  3. Cut a small dent into my scraps of greens. I have thread and bobbins wound waiting for Weds. Happy Valentine's Day.

  4. I'm getting excited! I procrastinated on choosing my fabrics because I wanted something new, but finally realized I'm going to have to go scrappy. Then I procrastinated again because I'm working on a baby quilt (baby is coming today, it appears!) that I have to get finished soon. And now my husband has surprised me by whisking me away for the night - so I'll be a little busy today to pick out any fabrics! ;) But tomorrow - I'm with ya!

  5. On my way to start cutting. Yeah!

  6. I'm excited to start cutting... and still debating on my size, but I think I might let the cutting guide me to a certain size. Great cutting tutorials too, thanks!!

  7. Thanks Melissa! I'm going to start cutting tomorrow. I need to find a local store to buy thread and FAST!

  8. Question: here you've written that, for a 51", or 3x3 DSP layout, I need (120) 5" squares. But 3x3=9, and 9x16=144. Plus I'll need 36 corner squares. Before I cut 180 squares and find out 1/3 are extra, or cut 120 and discover I'm short and have run out of fabric, which is it please?!
    I will probably graph this out anyway, but though I couldn't be the only one wondering.

    1. thanks for your email reply! 120 is a good answer, I like it. It means I'm done cutting :)


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)