Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Solstice Quilt-A-Long - Cutting

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Summer Solstice Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win $100.00 Gift Certificate and Fat Quarter Bundle grand prizes sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule

June 23rd - Cutting  (Today)
 July 7th - Flying Geese
July 21st - Half Square Triangles
August 4th - Drunkards Path
August 18th - Building Blocks
September 1st - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
September 15th- Summer Solstice Parade and Grand Prize Winners

So here we are at June 23rd and I am so excited for everyone to get going!!! So let's get right to it :)  


All of the cutting will be done using the same type of charts that we have been using so far.  Simply find the project that you are making and that will tell you the cutting you need to do.   Here is the finished sizing chart, just in case you need a reminder of what project you are doing :)


We will start but cutting out all of the "print" fabrics. - And before you start any cutting, be sure to read through to the end of the post.  I added some helpful hints after the charts to aid you in your cutting ;)

Using the chart below, cut the squares for your desired size and layout from each of your fabric cuts. For a 2 x 2 layout there will be 4 fabrics, for a 3 x 3 layout there will be 9 fabrics and for a 4 x 4 layout there will be 16 fabrics.  Label the squares as indicated.  This will make it easier when we are doing the piecing of each unit in the future.  DP is Drunkard Path, FG is Flying Geese, and HST is Half Square Triangle.

So, for example if you were doing the 3 x 3 layout in a 28" size block, you would cut (8) 4 3/4" x 4 3/4" square labeled DP, (12) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares labeled HST, and (8) 4 3/8" x 4 3/8" squares labeled FG from your first fabric.  Then repeat that process for each of your remaining 8 fabrics. (see below for stacking hints to speed it up a bit ;)

And if you have a hard time seeing any of these charts, just click on them and they should get larger on your screen ;)


And now, we can move onto the background fabric :)

Using the chart below, cut the squares for your desired size and layout from your background fabric.  Label the squares as indicated.  Again, the FG, DP, and HST stand for the same thing as in the Print Fabrics and the S stands for Square or Sashing.  I listed the units in the order you cut them.

Please note, the Background fabric will be tight.  I had planned for extra fabric but in one last check this morning, I found an unfinished verses finished  1/2" error in a unit size. ( I can not even begin to say how glad I am that I felt like I needed one more check before publishing.)     I have rechecked all of the measurements and math with the correction and everything will still fit, but not with a lot of leftover.  So just to be on the safe side,  I suggest to cut the sashing strips (S)  before the smallest squares (S), and they are listed that way.  This will allow you to use up all extra bits of leftovers from all of the other cutting if you need to.  (You shouldn't need to, but just in case, it gives you wiggle room ;)

So, for example if you were doing the 3 x 3 layout in a 28" size block, you would cut (18) 8 1/4" x 8 1/4" squares and label them FG, (72) 4 3/4" x 4 3/4" squares and label them DP, and (108) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares and label them HST.  Then you would cut (19) 3 1/2" x 42" strips and label them S, and finally cut (108) 4" x 4" squares and label them S.

So now that you know what to cut, let's talk about some tips.


Here are a few helpful cutting tips and tidbits .  This is the way I like to cut, but of course,  it is not the only way to cut, so if you do it different, great :)  Do what you are comfortable with.  There just might be some tidbits that could save you some time and/or eliminate waste.

1 - Always press your fabrics first, it takes time but will help in keeping your pieces accurate.  I like to keep my iron at a super hot setting and use a little extra water from a spay bottle if I have any creases or folds that don't want to come out with a simple pass of the iron.  And hey,  this is a great time to watch a fun flick as well, bonus!

2 - Check the sharpness of your rotary cutters blade before starting to cut.  Since you are cutting the same sized squares from each of your print fabrics you can layer your fabrics and cut more than 1 at a time.  You can cut 2-3 fabrics at a time to speed things up but only if your blade is sharp.  Otherwise, it won't cut all the layers evenly.   Oh, and don't get to overzealous with your layering.  3 fabrics is 6 layers to cut and I find that any more than 6 layers, even with a sharp blade, and the fabric will want to shift on you ;)

3 - Whenever cutting yardage, I always like to cut with the fold in my fabric lined up along the 0 horizontal line on my cutting mat.  I always start by cutting a straight edge along the left hand side of my fabric and then (as long as my yardage is short enough) trim the selvages from the top of my fabric.  I like the long piece of selvage as I collect them.  (Maybe some day I will actually make a project with them ;)

4 - I like to cut my fabrics in strips and use the lines on my mat as cutting guides rather than my rulers.  (but you can always use another rulers as a double check as well ;)  Once I cut all of the strips I need, I slightly separate the different size strips, still keeping them aligned along the 0 horizontal line and the nearest vertical line,

Then I sub-cut the strip using the horizontal lines on my mat.   When sub-cutting, I always start at the top of my strip and work my way down, thus allowing the scrap to be on the fold and creating 1 large scrap instead of 2 small scraps.  Any extra of that strip can normally be sub-cut  into smaller pieces needed thus eliminating waste. (That is why in the background we are cutting the smallest S size last ;)   This allows me to cut a lot of pieces quickly.

In the picture above, I  wouldn't normally separate all of the pieces when cut, I just did that so you could see them all.   Below is how my cutting looked when it is done.  Similar sizes all grouped and subcut across.   Oh, and you will notice that little square ruler, that is what I use when there are trickier measurments like 3/8" or 7/8".  It is a great way to doublecheck your measurement when it is harder to check it on the cutting mat ;)

5 - You might notice from the pink picture above that there is a leftover strip.  I added a little extra in the print fabrics just in case you have any oopsies, so that is covered ;)   If you find you don't need it, it would look awesome pieced into the back, that is my plan and I am super excited for a little scrappy goodness in the back!!

And I think that just about covers it!!!


I hope these cutting tips help :)  I know that with the different sizes and layouts it can easily be confusing, so if you have any questions at all please don't hesitate to ask in a comment or email me at  :)   Here's my fabrics all cut up!!! I just love cutting up a new project (I know, I am a little weird that way ;)  But I hope you find this assignment enjoyable and that with the little helpful hints it goes nice and quick for you ;)  So sharpen your blade and go to it . . . and once you are done be sure to enter to win the bi-weekly prize!!!

The Bi-Weekly Prize is being sponsored by the Shabby Fabrics and a huge thanks goes to them for their support of the Summer Solstice Quilt-A-Long.

This weeks  prize is a a Charm Pack and a Mini Charm Pack of the winners Choosing!!!

Charm Packs  Mini Charm Packs

So what do you have to do for a chance to win these 2 splendid pre-cuts of your choice?  Simple . . . Just link up your fabrics all cut up at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post, flickr picture, Instagram, Facebook . . .  or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by the end of the day on July 6th as I will be announcing a winner at the beginning of the next post :)

If you don't get your cutting by July 6th you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :)    The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had two busy weeks, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And Don't forget to add your beautiful cut up fabric to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group and to post it on social media with using #summersolsticequiltalong.    I am so excited to see all of your beautiful fabrics all cut up ;)

So let's get cutting!!!  And if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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  1. For the DP and HST squares, are these sizes just enough? Because I'm thinking that if the 4-3/4" squares end up as 4-1/2" unfinished, i would rather cut at 5" and have to trim than be too small.

  2. I read through both posts again this morning and realized that I'm not really sure what "prints" I need. I decided to do the 2x2 baby layout, so I need (4) 1/3-yard cuts ... but in the picture there are only 3 colors per block ... does that mean that the colors for the red/orange/yellow in your example will vary? For some reason, I just can't wrap my brain around it ... Thanks!

    1. Pretend your four prints are Red, Blue, Green and Yellow. Block 1: Red, Blue, Green. Block 2: Red, Yellow, Blue. Block 3: Green, Red, Yellow. Block 4: Yellow, Blue, Green. Or you can make four solid color blocks.

  3. I am making the 20" block in the 4x4 setting and just starting to cut my background fabrics. I just want to confirm that the Strips S should be 3 1/2" x 42" and not 2 1/2" x 42". Thanks for all the work that you've put into this. The chart is so great :)

    1. Hi Nicole,

      Yes, they are 3 1/2" that way you have 4 blocks at 20" each (80) and 5 sashing at 3" finished each (15) for a total of 95" x 95" to make a queen size

  4. I'm making the one block version. The background cutting chart says I need 8 squares for the drunkards path units. There are 8 red dp units and 4 yellow ones, so shouldn't I need 12 background pieces to go with them?
    jen dot barnard at btinternet dot com

  5. Hi Melissa,

    I'm having trouble with the cutting as well. For the 28" blocks, the One Block cutting instructions do not match up with the instructions for 9 blocks (queen size). Single block states that it needs 12 of the DP (4 3/4") squares: 4 for the center and 8 for the surround. However, from each of 9 fabrics it only shows to cut 8 of the DP squares. Shouldn't those be the same? Looking hard at the single block, I'm guessing that there should really be 12 of the DP squares.

    Also, the instructions state that we need 8 HST for the corner blocks and 4 for the Surround. If we only need 4 in the Surround, will we be getting 2 triangles from each square? Are the corner blocks done the same way, and if so, should we only need 4 of those as well?

    I noticed all of this because I am using a layer cake with pieces that are the same colors but different prints and I was trying to match up all the same prints on a piece, for instance all of the cream background instruments on a surround and all of the cream background words on a center. I started cutting with one of two fabrics that I can cut all of the pieces out of and then tried to match them up with the Single Block instructions and couldn't do it. Needless to say, I won't be making it in time for the prize drawing this week since I stopped cutting until I get you to straighten me out, lol.


  6. Hi Melisssa,
    I know we are on the second sewing section, but I am suddenly confused. Do I understand this right? I'm making the 3 x 3 24" block. Does that mean that I should have 72 (Colored fabric) squares for the flying geese, 108 squares for the HST, and 72 squares for the drunkards path?
    Your correction or reassurance will be gladly accepted. ;-)
    I'm very excited about the colors I've chosen for this quilt. Haven't done a quilt along in quite awhile.


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