What is Fussy Cutting?

Have you ever found someone online that makes the most beautiful quilts? We all have different styles and colors and patterns we prefer. Rita from Red Pepper Quilts makes the most beautiful quilts…in my eyes. Despite that her precision appears flawless, I also find her fabric combinations exquisite. My favorite quilts  are her scrappy quilts. I like those where she uses a wide variety fabrics from many different lines and designers.

Do you know what else I’ve observed about all of her quilts? She is the master of fussy cutting. I presume she takes the time on most of her quilts to take full advantage of the patterns and pictures in the fabric designs.

(Economy Block Quilt)

So what is fussy cutting?

Fussy cutting is trimming around a print or picture in the fabric so it is essentially on display. It’s being fussy about how you carefully cut your fabric.

What are the pros of fussy cutting?

-Fussy cutting features the patterns in the fabrics well. There are so many beautiful fabrics designed right now. What a shame to cut a three inch strip right down the middle of the beautiful patterns in the fabric leaving just partial patterns.

-Fussy cutting frames a picture from the fabrics. You can feature the whimsical little characters some of these great designers feature on their fabrics.

What are the cons of fussy cutting?

-Fussy cutting takes extra time. Instead of just cutting at a whim, you have to carefully line up your ruler and center the patterns in the frames of your blocks.

-Fussy cutting can also be wasteful of the fabric. You’ll have lots of trimmings to throw away or stuff into pillows after you are done trimming around all the little pictures.

How do you fussy cut?

-Simply frame the picture in the middle of the square you are cutting. In the below image, I was cutting three inch squares. I centered the sheep’s head right in the middle before trimming.

(sheep fabric, square ruler, rotary cutter)

Is fussy cutting really that big of a deal?

In my eyes, fussy cutting takes a quilt to a whole new level. Its adds another element of beauty and thoughtfulness. Carefulness and precision on every block creates for a gorgeous quilt.

Look at the below image from AnnaMarieGalvin. See the cats’ faces framed on the outside. The strawberries look perfectly centered in the middle. And, take note of the extreme care taken to cut the middle star. Do you see how the pattern lines up so well? What a pretty block!

Oh, and what about this block from What Saysie Makes! The dogs on the yellow and the white fluffy trees are so perfect! See lots more of her projects on her blog: https://saysie.wordpress.com/.

Be sure to give both of those creative ladies a follow on Instagram. If you really love the blocks Saysie and Anna made above, be sure to check out the Ice Cream Soda block club by Tales of Cloth. If I didn’t have three precious boys to care for most of my time, I’d definitely be a part of this club. It’s a beautiful block!

I’ll leave you with one more quilt to view. Here is an economy block quilt by Svetlana from Sotak Handmade.

This quilt looks fabulous for a child! So many fun pictures and prints surrounding those pictures. 🙂 I can’t wait to finish up my economy block quilt for my little guys.

It’s taken me a few years to understand fussy cutting and the justice it brings to the fabrics, but I hope you can see it’s worth the extra time!

(Please note affiliate links have been used in this post.)

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