Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Star Light Star Bright - Cutting

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Star Light Star Bright Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win one of 4 of the $75.00 Gift Certificate 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

Jan 29 - Cutting
 Feb 5 - Flying Geese
Feb12 - Half Square Triangles
Feb 19 - Building Block Centers
Feb 26 - Building Block Sides
Mar 5 - Building Block Corners
Mar 12 - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
April 2- Star Light Star Bright Parade and Grand Prize Winners

So here we are at Jan 29th , 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 size block and layout that you are making and that will tell you the cutting you need to do.  If you have any problems viewing any of the charts, just click on them and they will com up larger :)   Here is the finished sizing chart, just in case you need a reminder of the block size and layout you are doing :)


We will start but cutting out all of the "print" fabrics.

 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.  So, for example if you were doing the 3 x 3 layout in a 32" size block, you would cut (1) 9 1/4" x 9 1/4" square, (20) 5" x 5" squares, (4) 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" squares and (8) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares from your first fabric.  Then repeat that process for each of your remaining 8 fabrics.

**  Note - When cutting the first large block  (Some number and a 1/4") I like to cut the strip the next inch up.  This allows me to sub-cut the most amount of pieces from the left-over strip.  So in our example, I would cut my first strip 10" wide, then sub-cut a 9 1/4" square from it and then I can subcut all of my 5" squares and on down with the smaller squares from the remaining strip piece :)

EDIT - I have heard that there are lots of you wanting to do some "custom" layouts (yippee!!) and need the cutting broken down a bit.  So I hope this helps.  Here is the image of a block.  The yellow blocks are your basic squares, the red blocks are the HST's and the purple blocks are the Flying Geese.

In the print layout directions, the first cut is for the Goose of the Flying Geese unit, the second cut is the HST's, the third cut is for the sky in the Flying Geese unit and the last cut are the basic squares.  So in our example this is the colors for the cutting.  
From each of  the (9) 3/4 Yard Cuts
(1) 9 1/4" x 9 1/4" Square  
 (will make the large triangle "Goose" in the outside FG unit)
(20) 5" x 5" Squares
(4) 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" Squares  
(will make the 2 small triangles, "sky" in the inside FG unit)
(8) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"  Squares

I hope this helps.  If you have any other questions on your particular layout, please don't hesitate to send me an email and I will get back to you asap :)


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.  So, for example if you were doing the 3 x 3 layout in a 32" size block, you would cut (9) 9 1/4" x 9 1/4" squares, (108) 5" x 5" squares then (36) 4 7/8" x 4 7/8" squares, and (72) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares from your background fabric.  For the sashing from your background fabric you will cut (12) 4" x 32 1/2" strips and (4) 4" x 110" strips.

**  Note - On the longer sashing strips you will need to piece together strips to reach the desired lenghth.  So in the example we have been using, you will need to piece 3 WOF strips together and then trim the strip down to 110 1/2".  Then repeat this to make a total of 4 strips that measure 110 1/2" :)


Here are a few helpful tips if you are new to cutting or just want to see how I like to cut.  This is the way I like to cut, it is not the only way to cut, so if you do it different, great :)  Do what you are comfortable with.  This is just more tidbits that might help save your some time and eliminate waste.

1 - Always press your fabrics first, it takes a second more 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.

2 - Check the sharpness of your blade before starting to cut.  Sometimes I like to layer my fabrics a bit, especially if I am cutting several fabrics all the same way (like in the scrappy layouts.)  I never like to cut more then 4-6 layers at a time, and if I am cutting that many layers I always need to use a really sharp blade.  But if you are still beginning, I don't recommend cutting more than 2 layers of one fabric at a time as the fabric really tries to shift the more layers you have.

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.  (Almost always along the 21" horizontal line)

4 - I like to cut in strips and use the lines on my mat as cutting guides rather than my rulers.  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, and then sub-cut the strip using the horizontal lines on my mat.  This allows me to cut a lot of squares quickly.

5 - When cutting strips, I always like to start with the largest piece first.  So I cut a strip the width of my largest piece (*See the note of cutting it to the next inch) and then sub-cut that strip as needed.  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.


I hope these cutting tips help :)  Now, have some fun with your cutting!   Here's my fabrics all cut up :)  This weeks assignment wasn't to hard, right :)   And now the fun part, you can enter to win the weekly prize :)

The Weekly Prizes are sponsored by the Fort Worth Fabric Studio and a huge thanks goes to them for their support of the Star Light Star Bright Quilt-A-Long.

This weeks  prize is a $20.00 Gift Certificate to Fort Worth Fabric Studio

So what do you have to do for a chance to win this Gift Certificate?  Simple . . . Just link up your fabrics all cut up at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post or a flickr picture, or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by next Wednesday morning as I will be announcing a winner at the beginning of next weeks post :)

If you don't get your cutting done by next week 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 a busy week, 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!!!  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. Thanks Melissa. I'm all ready to go. My cutting will look different from yours as I'm using HST paper and doing my flying geese a different way.

  2. I'm afraid to cut! I want to do the version 4 with pinwheel centers and also am not sure if I do flying geese the same way you do. I have the Wing Clipper ruler and also have, but have not yet used, Triangulations.
    Thank you so much for this quilt along! I'm looking forward to getting started soon.

  3. Looking forward to getting started on my cutting after work tonight!

  4. So excited to get cutting! Have been stalking you waiting for the directions! LOL

  5. YAY!! Cant wait to start cutting! Im just really not sure what size/layout quilt I want to make yet! Im usually not this indecisive but I just cant decide!! Id better get a move on!

  6. I am using only 3 colors and a background for my quilt and so all my blocks are going to be the same. I want to do something similar to this: (the picture you sent out first). Can you tell me which of the print fabric cuts would be for the gray in this picture? Thanks.

  7. Yay! I'm so glad I had a preview of the cutting. I'm almost done :) Can't wait to post my pretty piles.

  8. Just finished cutting and I THINK I linked it up correctly. I am doing a single 48" block with the red as the star and green as the main color. The red daisy fabric was the inspiration and I built everything else around that. Can't wait for the next step!


  9. Great, now to spend the weekend cutting xx

  10. i want to thank you again for the quilt along, i find i learn soooooo much, even though you do all the thinking and layout for me to learn about choosing the fabrics and playing with value really challenge myself i gain more confidence, so thankyou teacher.

  11. Hurray! Just finished cutting EVERYTHING today!! Wow, that was a lot of cutting :) There were four of us working on our quilts at my house today. Such fun! The rest of the gals went home with homework, you should be seeing their completed assignments soon!

  12. I have all fabric ironed but I wont be able to finish cutting them tonight. Its just too late now and I think if I keep going any further tonight the risc of making mistakes are skyrocketing. So I'll finish the cutting tomorrow instead.

  13. Oh, no! I'm behind already! Yes, I'm still cutting, darn it. I finally finished cutting the variable fabrics but I still need to cut the backgrounds. ARGH!

  14. Phew! made it just in time!! ...after changing my mind only about 100 times at least!

  15. I added my photos to Flickr yesterday, but just realized we needed them on here too. Hope I wasn't too late for the drawing! I can't wait for the sewing post today :)

  16. Apparently I can't link up my photos with my Mac.... I'm so frustrated!

    1. Sorry you are having problems Unknown. You can email me a picture and I would be happy to link it for you :)

  17. Hurray. Done. I'm going to quilt/bind as I go so I haven't cut those bits yet but the rest is all done. Thanks Melissa. That was as fun as cutting can be.

  18. Finally got on board. I have been wanting to participate but had such a busy schedule in January and the first part of February. The cutting was a breeze with your excellent instructions! Thanks so much. Now to catch to by getting those geese done.


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