Vintage Sheets Octagon Quilt: Fabric Cutting

Two weeks ago I introduced my Vintage Sheet Octagons Quilt and today I am going to talk you through the first step of making it, so if you are making your own then read on!

After collecting together all your fabric you have to start cutting it up. For first time quilters you can do this with scissors but it is much easier and quicker if you have a cutting mat, quilters ruler and rotary cutter. Work out how large you want your quilt to be (mine is 180cm by 240cm give or take) and then workout how many blocks (patches) you want. I want 20cm patches so I need 9 across and 12 down, a total of 108. Usually quilters use a 1/4" seam allowance and most sewing machines even have a handy 1/4" line so as you sew you can line up the edge of your fabric with this line. I wasn't being too precise about this and my cutting mat is in cm not inches so I just added a 1/2cm seam allowance. Because we are going to end up stitching together sqaures you won't notice this in the end any way.

A quick tip for first timers, try to use your ruler to cover the fabric that you are going to use so that you avoid accidentally cutting through it. This isn't always possible but often is. As you can see in the picture above the idea of using a quilters ruler in that you line up the straight edges of your fabric with the lines on your mat so you can precisely cut the right measurement. Simply measure the right amount of fabric and cut, or you can make it easier by counting the squares, I needed 21cm so I counted 21 squares: easy. Once you get the hang of it to save time you can usually cut through several layers, so fold up your fabric and cut away. I managed to cut through 8 layers at once but try to make sure you are cutting near the edge and not leaving too much to waste.

If your quilt is the same size as mine you need to cut these:
108 x 21cm squares of your pattern fabric
108 x 9cm squares of you background fabric.

If your quilt is a different size then you will need to work out how many squares across you need and how big they should be.  But if you are going to make the octagons then make your 'background squares' slightly less than half of the length of the pattern squares.

Once you have cut these, use your quilters ruler to cut each background square into four triangles like this:

Thats it! All the cutting is done. I am saving almost all of my off cuts. The teeny ones:

I am throwing away. I have an idea in mind of how to use the strips that are an inch wide of more:

Even bigger ones I am putting in a box with other fabric pieces for another quilt.

When you have done all this come back in two weeks and we can start putting it all back together again. Zoe xx

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