Fussy Cutting Fabric

“Fussy” is an interesting word. It can mean fastidious or discriminating or selective but it can also imply finicky or demanding or hard to please.

When it comes to fabric, “fussy cutting” leans more to the idea of being selective – of carefully choosing which part of the fabric print to cut and place in a particular location.  One of the first blocks I learned to make in my beginner sampler class was an Ohio Star block and it just made sense to me to cut the center square so that the rose would be framed by the green triangles. Little did I know I was fussy cutting right from the start!

When fabrics are fussy cut and pieced, intricate secondary patterns can be formed. The shapes can be arranged so that they rotate and reflect to create kaleidoscopic images. The honeycomb shape in the Patchwork of the Crosses block offers a wonderful showcase for fussy-cut fabrics, but eight simple triangles can be just as effective.

So how does one go about cutting the fabric so that the desired motifs appear in the precise location? How, exactly, do you fussy cut? I have two methods.

Method #1:
Cut a template window out of freezer paper, iron onto the fabric, and mark the shape.

Method #2:
Make a clear plastic template and draw some of the key fabric design elements onto the template. Trace around the template then use the markings to find the same motifs for the remaining patches.

I just love letting the fabric do the work! Does that make me fussy?


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