Monday, March 12, 2012

Fussy Cutting

Hi All
Help Needed!
I am about to start my first block on The Flower Garden Quilt. I intend back basting, which I've never done before, but it looks good. My question is how does one fussy cut the fabric when back basting.
Looking forward to some help from all the seasoned appliquers!! (spelling?)


  1. I use a light box. Place fabric to be appliqued right side down on the light box and position your background fabric on top(also right side down. I generally have to darken the design outline on the back of the background fabric, as the dressmakers carbon i use doesn't always show enough when the light is under it. Other than that i use pins to mark the outer border of the design and keep checking it is within the marked outline. It is a beautiful quilt and a joy to sew. Can't wait to see you first block

  2. I didn't quite work out what you mean by " back basting" till I read Sheila's comment.
    What about tracing the applique shapes onto freezer paper BUT from the reverse side of the design paper and then ironing the paper templates onto the wrong side of fabric? Would this work?
    I do the needle turn, I trace the freezer paper templates from the right side of the design sheet,cut it out, then iron it onto the right side of fabric. Cut it out and mark the shapes on the right side of the fabric. Then I baste the fabric shape onto the background and cut away the seam allowance as I do the applique stitches. Try it, needle turn is really not scary and it is easy. Tell us how you go, Kim McL

  3. Thank you Sheila and Kim. I have done alot of hand applique your way Kim, but was keen to try Sheilas way. I think as I am in a hurry to get something prepped before I go away for 10 days, I might just stick with what I know, and try the back basting when I have more time to fiddle with the fussy cutting. Thank you both for your thoughts.:-)

  4. Let us know how you like back basting Sue. It never appealed to me but it's opened up the world of applique for a lot of applique fans.

  5. I am making the Roseville Album Quilt. The botton long square requires it for sure. I did the two trees that way. First, I traced the tree pattern on the right side of the fabric, drew the Tree in freezer paper, pinned it down, slipped all over the place, said this "definitely not working". So marked the back side of the fabric, using a light box, I could see the front markings. Then I placed a fat quarter on the right side of the fabric over the tree design, with my sewing machine, I lowered the Feeddogs ... basted using the pattern I drew on the back side of the fabric. I went really slow so I wouldn't make my stitches to close and they would be easy to take out. As I appliqued, I trimmed the fabric and took out the basting stitches the front. I hope all that makes sense.

    I have a friend who back bastes everything. I only do it on large pieces. It's not hard....really worked for me.

  6. With B/B..... the whole design.... petals, leaves and stems of one block are outlined in one go on the back of the background fabric first, with pencil or other marker, using a light box or taped to a window.....(design face down and then fabric right side down, over the design.....then.....
    From the F/Garden Design Sheet (of this block), choose your first shape that needs fussy cutting....(petal/leaf etc).
    With a pencil, trace this shape (as it is on the front of the design sheet) onto cheap printer paper, in the middle....and label the printer paper "front" (use a light box for this or tape it to a window)
    Cut out drawn shape with an exacto knife as a "window" and chuck away the paper leaf.
    Use paper window (make sure you dont forget which is the front of the printer paper ) to " fussy place" onto front of pretty fabric.... how you like the finished leaf to look.
    Use a few sticky tape pieces around edge of paper plus fabric to keep these 2 layers from moving once exact spot is desired.
    Flip this upside down onto light box.
    Place background fabric face down over this 2 layer sandwich, aligning up the window of pattern under the very spot the background has its leaf drawn. ( the light coming through will be clearer where the window is unless pretty fabric is especially dark)
    Pin a couple of pins into both layers of fabric to keep the fussy area from sliding around.
    Remove from light box , Flip it back to see the front and peel off the sticky tape from the paper window...put window paper aside... (a lot of Kim's shapes are repeated throughout the Flower Garden quilt and you may be able use it again... or use other blank parts of the printer paper to cut new shapes.)
    Sewing from the back, of the background fabric, baste around the drawn shape ON the line.
    Flip sandwich over and trim back the top leaf shape pretty fabric, roughly (1/2 inch) around the basted line.
    Trim leaf more perfectly AS you Applique.
    Hope this makes sense. Photos would be better !
    By the way I hate the B/B technique even without fussy cutting!!! its needle turn for me.
    Some people use a thick plastic see-through "overlay" with whole block drawn onto plastic with permanent felt tip pen, then slide this overlay over the top pretty fabric to find a good fussy chosen area, then carefully lift sides of plastic and some how roughly cut out the bit they want ....WAY too fiddly!
    Good luck Sue.... it certainly keeps the brain ticking! and the resulting Flower Garden will be GORGEOUS!

  7. Hi Sue
    I recommend trying "front basting". It is a method I worked out after considering back basting and decided it wouldnt work for fussy cutting my Lollys. Scroll down on this page and near the bottom, you will find topics that have been discussed. Cathy did a brilliant post about this method. Just look for "front basting"

  8. Thank you everyone for the trouble you have taken to explain it to me. I am away tomorrow, and I'll let you know how I got on when I get back.
    Thanks again
    Sue :-))

  9. I am awestruck by your talent. I have never done anything but easy traditional appliqué. Are you hand sewing this entire beautiful piece? Forgive me but I have one more long does something like this take to complete? Thanks! And again - your works leaves me speechless.

    Journi. (

  10. Hi, let me give my good advice: To make perfect circles I use "perfect circles" templates bu Karen Kay Buckley.
    Anne , Copenhagen