Hi friends and welcome to week 2 of the Dot + Dashalong!
This week we will be prepping and cutting our fabrics for the upcoming weeks of sewing our blocks together. There are a few different precuts that work well with the Dot + Dash pattern and I will be sharing how to work with each.
Cutting Fat Quarters
Fat quarters are pieces of precut fabric that measure 18” x 21” and are a favorite choice in quilting because of the variety of fabrics you can get in a bundle. Since I am working on the throw size Dot + Dash quilt, there are 12 fat quarters we will be cutting up.
Before cutting your fabrics make sure to iron and starch (if available) all of your fat quarters. This will help you achieve more precise cuts.
Back in week 1 when we were planning our layout we chose the order we were going to place our fabrics. That order is now going to come into play for cutting.
Go ahead and divide your fabrics out into groups using your layout or coloring sheet as a guide: Fabrics 1, 2, 3 / Fabrics 4, 5, 6 / Fabrics 7, 8, 9 / Fabrics 10, 11, 12. If you have a rainbow or an easy to tell order to your fabrics there is no need to label these groups, but if you are working with a variety of fabrics that could get confusing, its best to have some sort of sticky note or label to your fabrics once you start cutting, that will help you out in the coming weeks of piecing blocks.
Going group by group - follow the cutting instructions in the pattern for your material. Below is an example of Fabric 1.
Cut (4) 2.5” x 21” strips from your FQ (this is the long end of your fat quarter)
Subcut into: (6) 2.5” cuts / (2) 4.5” cuts / (5) 10.5” cuts
I recommend cutting your larger cuts from the strips first.
Repeat this for the remaining fabrics in this group - fabrics 2 & 3
Then going group by group follow the cutting directions in the pattern.
I like to then section these by groups, next week we will start piecing blocks by group and having them separated will come in handy.
Cutting Jelly Rolls
Jelly rolls are rolls of precut strips that usually measure 2.5” x width of fabric (WOF). The WOF is different depending on the fabric company - I have seen everything from 36” - 44” wide.
I am using a jelly roll of Twilight by One Canoe Two for Moda Fabrics. You can see that the fabrics are already divided up into colors - navy, light blue, pink and aqua.
Since jelly rolls are random on the number of fabrics per print, they are best used in the scrappy layout of the Dot + Dash pattern.
Since I am working on a throw size quilt - I am going to go thru my roll and pick out 30 strips - this will give me a nice mixture of the fabrics in the line and allows me to have 30 different 10.5” strips for this quilt. (Look for the “Make it scrappy” cutting instructions at the bottom of each quilt size cutting chart for the number of pieces you need to cut). Using 30 strips will give you some leftover fabrics - so using less will still work.
There will definitely be duplicates or triplicates of some fabrics in the jelly roll. When I was first choosing my 30 strips I divided up my fabrics by print, one pile for the extras that I ran across. In this roll I had 31 individual patterns - 11 duplicates. This line happens to have a lot of prints to choose from so it will not always work out like this. I chose to pull the white printed fabric out since I am using a white background. If you run into a situation where you only have 12 or so fabrics that are repeated, just choose an even number of colors to make your scrappy layout work out.
Next you will need to press your fabric strips . There will be creases where the strip was folded in half, and definitely some creases from being rolled up.
You will now take your 30 jelly roll strips to your cutting mat and following the “Make it scrappy” directions for the size quilt you are making start to make your cuts.
For example: Throw size quilt - With your jelly roll strips spread out (not filed in half) cut
(1) 10.5” piece from each strip
(2) 4.5” pieces from each strip
(3) 2.5” pieces from each strip
After you cut out your pieces I like to separate into color groups to help with your block piecing next week. Since we do not have the groups like our fat quarters make, grouping by like color will help making your scrappy blocks easier.
I have my cut pieces sectioned into piles of navy, light blue, aqua and pink.
Don’t let the scrappiness of the jelly roll situation scare you. Here is a sneak peek of a jelly roll version I am making. It’s easy to just pull a few pieces of different cut fabrics to make each block. Once you start placing them on the floor or design wall in your layout its easy to flip or switch places on some blocks to avoid having similar fabrics next to each other.
Cutting Background fabric
Cutting out your background fabric is pretty straightforward following the instructions for your size quilt. I tend to go for solid colors, but a scrappy background using a pile of scrappy fabrics would also be fun!
Next week we will start sewing! If you are doing the fat quarters we will be working with fabrics 1 - 2 - 3, so set those on top of the stack! If you are going the scrappy route or using a jelly roll we will be doing the exact same blocks but going scrappy!
Week 3: August 30th checklist
(2) 2.5” blocks
(1) 4.5” block
(5) 10.5” block
I will be keeping each week under Dot + Dashalong in the Sew Alongs tab in the main menu for you to reference at any point. Remember - there is no pressure to keep up - go at your own pace and enjoy the process! Be sure to join the group on the Modern Handcraft Facebook Page or tag your progress on Instagram using #dotanddashalong