Welcome to week 2 of the Dot ‘n’ Dash quilt along. In case you missed it, click here for the QAL schedule and supply list. And don’t worry – if you are starting late, there’s plenty of time to catch up! The quilt along posts will stay up indefinitely so you can work at your own pace.
Today we’ll dive in and start cutting. The best thing about working with precuts is that a lot of the cutting has been done ahead of time, so we can get this quilt top finished fast!
We will be following the cutting instructions on page 51 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts.
I love a pretty pile of cut fabric stacks, don’t you?
Step 1 – Cutting the Strips
If you are working with a jelly roll (strippie, rollup etc.), double check the width of your strips to ensure that they are exactly 2 1/2″. If they aren’t, you can compensate by cutting your background strips the same width.
Because I made my quilt before the precuts were available in stores, I cut my own strips from yardage, so they don’t have pinked edges. But you can mix and match straight cut strips and pinked edge strips in the same quilt with no problem. Most precuts strips measure 2 1/2″ from edge to edge (the “peaks”) but if they don’t, you can always “fudge” the seam allowances if needed.
I cut 2 strips from each of the 20 Fandangle prints to get the total of 40 strips needed for the quilt. The leftovers will make a fun scrappy binding!
You can also cut strips from fat quarters that measure 18″ x 21″. Just cut twice as many (80 instead of 40). If you want to work with scraps, make sure that each print scrap is at least 10″ long and that each background strip is at least 13″ long.
Choose a contrasting light or dark fabric for the background.
To save time in cutting the background, you can select a jelly roll made from all of one light or dark fabric. Or you can cut your own like I did. If you are working with a Strip-pie of Fandangle (that’s what Benartex calls their Jelly Rolls), you’ll notice that it includes 2 strips of dark gray and 2 strips of light gray.
Click here to get the Fandangle Strip-pie which include 2 strips of each fabric in the line.
You can pull out the grays and set them aside for something else and you’ll still have enough fabric for the quilt top. Or you can include either the light or dark gray in the blocks. (Just use whichever one is NOT the same as your background.)
Step 2 – Subcut the Units
Follow the instructions on page 51 of the book to cut the print strips and the background strips into smaller squares and rectangles. I recommend putting on some nice music or an audio book while you work and have yourself a little cutting party!
Just remember to measure twice, cut once and use a smaller acrylic ruler to trim the strips into smaller units. Line up the lines on your ruler with the lines of your mat for accuracy and cut with most of the fabric held underneath the ruler.
Homework – Get Ready to Sew!
Finish cutting your strips into units and clean your sewing machine so you’re ready to start piecing next week. Oil your machine (if needed, according to manufacturer’s instructions) and change your needle. Select the thread you’ll use for piecing.
Might I recommend a blending thread from my Aurifil Piece and Quilt Collections??
Aurifil is strong, yet thin, and it won’t take up any bulk in the seams. If you are working with 50 weight thread for piecing (my favorite), I recommend a size 80/12 Sharp or Topstitch needle. For crisp seams and straight stitches, you want a nice pointy needle with a hole that’s appropriate for your thread size.
My favorite needles are Titanium Coated Topstitch needles from Superior Threads. I actually use them to piece and quilt so one 5-pack will be plenty for this project!
If your machine has a 1/4″ patchwork foot I recommend using one. If not, you can set a perfect seam guide with the help of this nifty tool from my friend Celine Perkins.
For bonus points, do a seam test to check your seam allowance accuracy: Sew two 2″ wide scrap rectangles together and press, then measure the width. If the unit doesn’t measure exactly 3 1/2″ wide, adjust your seam allowance until it does.
Remember: Sharing is Caring
Don’t forget to share this week’s progress and let us know how it’s going. Share pictures of your pretty piles of cut fabric over in my Christa Quilts Facebook group, and/or on instagram #dotndashqal.
See ya next week – same bat time, same bat channel!!