Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fussy Cutting Tutorial

I've received several emails and comments asking how I make my fussy cut diamonds and how I choose fabrics.  This is a tutorial to show you the fabrics I've used in my six pointed stars so far, how I fussy cut them, and a little bit about what fabrics I use.  

The fabrics below are:
left:  Amelia by Jo Morton for Andover
right:  Elementary by Martha Walker for Studio E Designs

Below is Hope Chest by Edyta Sitar (Laundry Basket Quilts) for Moda.  I really like this fabric.  I've used it in my Soupcon block, a Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses, a Road 66 Hexagon from the book Primarily Quilts by Di Ford, and the 6 pointed diamond from the sew along at Temecula Quilt Company.  The brown star (bottom left) is cut from this same fabric but a different color way and a different place on the fabric.


The fabric in the next two photos is from the line Romantic Olde Charleston by Judie Rothermel for Marcus fabric.

The one below is Judie Rothermel's 25th Anniversary line.

My fussy cut snowman Soupcon block  is from Share The Joy by Deb Strain for Moda.

The piece on the left is Paint Box by Laundry Basket Quilts for Moda.  That piece is good for hexagons and Lucy Boston, but I don't think there is enough going on in the fabric for a diamond.
The piece on the right is Old Glory by Nancy Gere for Windham fabrics.  I would make a diamond out of that one because of all the movement in the fabric.

This is what I use to make my 6 pointed diamonds.  I have tried using the mirror and the plastic templates that are available and the 28 mm rotary cutter, but I honestly do better at matching diamonds and hexagons with my homemade window template, a marker and a pair of scissors.  The window template is just made using an index card.  I trace the shape of one of the paper pieces and then add between 1/4" and 3/8" and cut out the center.  When I'm happy with what I see in the window of the template, I trace around the edge with the marker and cut it out with scissors.  It makes great TV work when I'm too tired to stitch.

When I choose where to cut my fabric, I am most concerned with the two points where I've drawn the arrows (below) and the area in between.  If I'm using a stripe, I try to make it cross the diamond at and/or just below that top arrow where it will join with the next piece.  At the bottom arrow I try to find "something" in the fabric that will make an interesting design where the points meet.  I try to have a different color in the center to draw your eye there.  And, to be honest it hides the stitches that are there because it's not always easy to get those 6 points to meet.
Also I try to make sure that there is something dark at the very top point because the chances are pretty high that I will use a light colored background fabric to set the diamonds.  If my outside points are really light or white, the points will get lost in the background.  

Below is one of the diamonds I showed in my last post along with the fabric and the window template on the fabric where it was cut.  The fabric is Ruby by Timeless Treasures.  I ended up getting half of each of the petals in the design so it made the diamond look like it had a big flower in the center.  In the bottom I centered (or tried to center) that little brown diamond right in the bottom so it would look like the flower had a center.

Most of what I've used so far is from my stash.  Below are some fabrics that I bought at Back Door Quilts in a bundle.  They have used these same fabrics for fussy cutting in a Sue Daley quilt that they are working on.  I really love this bundle, and after I started looking at it I figured out why.  I had about a third of the fabrics already in my stash.  You can see the full bundle in my post here.

The fabrics below are just a few I pulled from my stash that I would use for fussy cutting.  I chose these because they have:
 a big enough random print with several different motifs in each piece
different colors in the fabric AND/OR
a stripe or border print

The fabrics below are great, but you can see that the print/design in them is too repetitive,  and they would not be good for fussy cutting.

Here is the window template placed on 6 different motifs in the fabric shown in the photo below.  

The fabric is another from the Timeless Treasures Ruby line.  (It looks the same as the one I used before, but this print is a bit closer together.)

By placing the template at this point on the fabric I ended up with this star.  

And, by choosing a different place in the fabric, I ended up with a totally different star.  With both of these stars I have a dark point at the top and a little something in the very bottom point to create a center.  I have parts of the orange flower petals on both sides of the diamond even though they don't quite meet in the star.

Here is how I cut the star from a striped fabric.  I made sure the very top wasn't on the light stripe, I put the black part of the stripe at the middle of the diamond and that little white motif with the red dot in the bottom.  

Here is the same fabric used in one of my Road 66 hexagons.  When I do the inside 6 round of a hexagon, the fussy cutting is the same as for a diamond.  If you fussy cut that round, you line your design on the edge that connects to the next hexagon.

But, the second and subsequent rounds have to be cut differently.  If you look at the hexagon where I've measured, there is one way that it is longer than the other.  On the second round every other hexagon is turned differently.  I've shown that by making two templates and marking the long sides (points) with dots.  I've drawn arrows where the design for fussy cutting has to be placed.  You would cut 6 of both hexagons.

The hexagon is a tessellation, but as you can see in the diagram you have to turn every other piece a different direction to create a fussy cut design on the second round. The third round would be (starting at the top) one from the pink template and 2 from the green template.  A hexagon quilt is like the tumbler or apple core quilt.  They all make a charm quilt, but the pieces have to be turned different directions to fit together.
Hexagonal tiling

Even when I fussy cut a circular, oval or floral design, I still cut half of my hexagons one way and half the other.  This fabric is Civil War Melodies by Judie Rothermel.  

Here are more of my Road 66 hexagons with different rounds that are fussy cut.

This is probably a lot more than you ever wanted to know about fussy cutting diamonds and hexagons.   I am really enjoying English Paper Piecing and fussy cutting fabric.  If you haven't given it a try yet, I hope you will.  If you have any questions, be sure to email me.  lakrug@comcast.net

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.  
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!  


  1. Thank you! This is truly fascinating. Do you lose a lot of fabric because of the fussy cutting?

  2. Great post - it really explains how to get some lovely effects with the fabrics you chosen

  3. Wow!! What a fantastic post, this is the best information that I have read on fussy cutting and fabric selection. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and skills.

  4. I love fussy cutting, it is always a fun surprise when sewn together. Great post.

  5. Such an informative post. Great information on how to choose fabrics. I sure wish I had your fabric stash. You have some real beauties in there.
    I have always stayed away from large prints because I wasn’t sure how to use them.

  6. You have really worked this out very thoroughly, LuAnn. I am so impressed! I think my lack of patience is a big part of why I don't do more hexie projects, and when I look at your attention to detail here, it kind of confirms my feelings.
    You have beautiful large scale prints that make all the difference in your fussy cutting. I really lack those in my stash.

  7. Excellent, LuAnn. I shall bookmark this post! Thanks so much for taking the time to post it.

  8. Thank you Luann, this helps tremendously! I made two fussy cut stars based on your first directions...second one much better than the first. This tutorial though really showed me were I was going wrong. And thanks for the 'light bulb' moment on the hexagons...that made perfect sense. Great tutorial, and I am sure it took you awhile to make, so many thanks.
    blessings, jill

  9. Great tutorial. I really learned a lot from those tips and look forward to trying out your ideas on some future hexagons and diamonds. Your fussy cutting is extraordinary !

  10. Great tutorial LuAnn...loved seeing your process.

  11. What a great tutorial for a difficult and tricky process! Awesome! Thank you!

  12. I'm inspired!!!! I really love the snowmen. THANKS!!!!

  13. great visual demo of the fussy cutting process -
    beautiful blocks!

  14. LuAnn, this is great - thanks so much for putting this together!


  15. Awesome tutorial. I can see that I need to change my fabric buying habits if I want to fussy cut since most of my fabrics are smaller, far more subtle patterns. ;-)

  16. Thanks for the Tutorial.

  17. Hi LuAnn!
    Thank you for this post. I have been struggling with fussy cutting. I love your Soupcon block too and your stars. I have almost every one of the same fabrics you showed. I have been stashing them for fussy cutting! lol. I am new to EPP so still learning but at least I am off to a good start with the fabric.
    xo jan

  18. Outstanding tutorial LuAnn - I will definitely be bookmarking this & share with my stitching friends. Your photos & descriptions make so much sense. I need to go fabric shopping - big time!!

  19. What a great post, LuAnn!!! you are an expert teacher. You've been a great help. The photos are very clear. I didn't know how to choose my fabrics for fussy cutting , now I know. My problem is that most of my stash has small prints, I will have in mind all what you told us when I buy more fabric.

    Thanks so much, LuAnn, you have been a great help

  20. What a great post, LuAnn!!! you are an expert teacher. You've been a great help. The photos are very clear. I didn't know how to choose my fabrics for fussy cutting , now I know. My problem is that most of my stash has small prints, I will have in mind all what you told us when I buy more fabric.

    Thanks so much, LuAnn, you have been a great help

  21. Your tutorial is fantastic! You shared so much information in an easy to understand way. I know how long it takes to put something like this together. Thank you - thank you!

  22. Wonderful tutorial LuAnn... very informative! Great photos as well! The large scale fabrics really are an asset to the fussy cutting, even though there is a bit of waste involved... the end results are worth it! I just received my 3/4" paper honeycombs to start some Lucy Boston blocks. I made one with 1" honeycombs and I like it, but I've been working with such small hexies, I think I now prefer to do EPP in smaller scales.
    Again, this post is just tops for EPP and fussy cutting!!!

  23. What an excellent tutorial. Thanks alot LuAnn for going to the trouble of writing it. I have fabrics which I wondered what to do with, and I see them in your collection.
    Thanks again :-)

  24. Wow, LuAnn - What a fabulous post!! Thank you so much for all the amazing information. I too love to make hexie flowers and want to do some fussy cutting but have been a bit intimidated!! Your tutotial went a long way to curb that intimidation!! Thank you!!

  25. LuAnn, that is one terrific post! I love all of your blocks and samples and your stash!

  26. Absolutely awesome, what a great and helpful post.

  27. Thank you LuAnn for a wonderful and informative tutorial on fussy cutting! I appreciate the time it must have taken you to take the photos and write the blog post - you are very generous!! And as usual, very inspiring!!

  28. LuAnn, thanks for such a good post and information. I am preparing to do some fussy cutting and English paper piecing as I begin my Rotherfield Greys quilt. Yours looks beautiful so far!

  29. Great learning post very helpful.
    Maybe I will start the fussy Friday star along.
    Thank you for sharing.


  30. Thank you for this tutorial LuAnn, very interesting and a few diferent, it's lovely. I'll trie to make it.

  31. Oh this is a wonderfully instructive posting; as a fan of hexagons I have never tried fussy cutting before now. But I can definitely see some in my future. thank you for spelling it all out so clearly hugs, Julierose

  32. Thank you for this tutorial on fussy cutting, it is very clear and I like it very much. I hope to make 6 pointed stars using fussy cut and use it if I have good fabric in other projects.
    Have a happy christmas and new year!

  33. LuAnn, thank you so much for all this information! I'm starting a Lucy Boston quilt soon, and feel much better prepared for the fabric selection process since reading this post. I'm new to EPP but it looks like a lot of fun! Best wishes, Jyl


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