Wasted fabric is a quilter's least favorite phrase, which is exactly why nearly every sewing room or space has a scrap stash. Beautiful fabric falling to inaccuracies or miscalculated cuts is enough to warrant tears. The AccuQuilt team hates to hear that fabric cutters and dies create fabric waste, because just like a rotary cutter, our products can be used improperly and not do your fabric investments any good. That's why we're sharing our top three, tried and true fabric-saving AccuQuilt tips!
Cut & ShiftTM Method
For this technique, we will use the Kite-Center-4½" Finished Square (shape 15), but can be used for various shapes including trapezoids, parallelograms and the signature block.
1. Cut 5½" by WOF strips (perpendicular to selvage edge) and layer up to six layers of fabric.
NOTE: Adjust the size of the strip by adding a ½" to either side of the shape's finished size. The half inch on either side of the shape will ensure there is room for error and slipping.
2. Place one end of the fabric strip right side up over the kite shape about a ½" to a ¼" from the edge of the fabric. Place the cutting mat over the die and run through your AccuQuilt fabric cutter.
3. Remove cutting mat and cut kites.
4. Slide the fabric strip over the die so that the uncut fabric covers the blades. Repeat the process of cutting shapes and shifting the fabric strip across the length of the fabric.
You can cut eight kites across the width of 40" fabric and 42 kites from one yard of 40" width fabric cuts. Again, the Cut & Shift Method can be used for many shapes. This method will dramatically reduce fabric waste. Take a look:
Watch Lynn and Erica demonstrate the Cut and Shift Method here:
Cut & FlipTM Method
This technique will be demonstrated on the Triangles in a Square-Center-4½" Finished Square found in the GO! Qube 9" Companion Set-Angles (shape 13) but can be used on any triangle die shape.
1. Cut a 5½" by length of fabric (LOF) strip along the selvage edge/lengthwise grain. You can layer up to six layers of cotton fabric strips.
NOTE: If you're using a different sized triangle, adjust the size by adding an inch to the shape's finished size. For example, if you're using the GO! Triangles in a Square-Center-3" Finished Square, you would cut a 4" by LOF strip.
2. Place one end of the fabric strip right side up over the center triangle about ½" to a ¼" from the edge of the fabric (to guard against slipping and error). Place the cutting mat over the die and run through your AccuQuilt fabric cutter.
3. Remove cutting mat and cut triangles.
4. Flip the fabric strip so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing up. Align the cut angle of the fabric with the angle of the blades. Repeat the process of cutting triangles and flipping the fabric strip across the length of the fabric.
You can cut seven center triangles across the width of 40" fabric and 42 center triangles from one yard of 40" width fabric cuts. This method can be used for all triangle shapes, including setting triangles.
Eleanor's Rough Cut Method
The Rough Cut Method is simple and can be used when cutting appliqué shapes or fabric one block at a time. For whatever shape you are cutting, add a ½" to the longest and widest parts. This will help ensure you have enough fabric to cover the blades but will lower waste.
One Last Bit of Good News
If you use these fabric saving techniques, you'll still be left with thin slivers or small chunks of fabric. At first glance, these scraps seem impossible to work with, but to an innovator there's plenty of potential! Thankfully, some of those innovators shared some of their ideas. Check these out:
Jennifer Strauser of Dizzy Quilter, one of our GO! Getters, weaves her fabric scraps into a twine to be used in other projects. As she puts it, "I feel like a miller's daughter, spinning my scraps into gold!"
Now, how to use fabric scrap twine? Well, Terri Vanden Bosche of Lizard Creek Quilting, another GO! Getter and AccuQuilt designer, made this colorful dream catcher out of fabric strips and would easily suit your newly weaved fabric scrap cord!
Do you have a fabric saving technique that we didn't mention here? How about an innovative way to use the tiny scraps left from these methods? Share them with us in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. Don't forget to tag us @AccuQuilt or to hashtag #AccuQuilt so we see your post!