Thursday, 4 September 2014

The lowest common width of a strip

When I’m cutting fabric for a scrappy quilt, which happens more often than not, I usually try to cut just one strip from each fabric. To do this, you need to figure out the width of this strip. It should be wide enough for the biggest piece, and still give the least amount of waste. You can calculate the length the same way, but when possible, I’ll cut the width of fabric and save the rest for another project.

I wish there was an easy formula, but drawing all the pieces on a piece of  paper will help you visualize; grid paper is even better.

This pretty pink stack is the start of what will become a Christmas-/ housewarming gift for my daughter. She knows she'll be getting a pink quilt, so I'm not spoiling anything here.)

There are 64 different fabrics, and I’ll make one block from each. One block needs the 4 following pink pieces:
6 ½”*8 ½”, 2½”*6 ½”, 1 ½”*2 ½” and 2 ½”*4 ½”

First you need to decide which is the biggest piece, which in my case is 6 1/2"*8 1/2". With the shortest side being 6 ½”, the strips need to be 6 ½” wide.

The pieces will fit nicely together like this

If you need a lot of different little pieces, you may want to cut them out in paper, and puzzle them together.
The length of the strip needs to be at least 14” (8 ½”+ 2 ½” + 2 ½” + 1/2” extra).

The first cuts go width-of-strip like this

and the two smallest pieces are cut from one of the 2 ½” pieces. There is only a ½” waste at the end there.

When the strips are cut, I’ll layer 4-6 strips and cut them at the same time. It saves a lot of time, and also a lot of waste. And, the next time I want to work with pink, I’ll have a nice stash of strips just waiting to be used. All they need is a suitable design; no ironing and folding and messing about, just Go. Gotta love that!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. That`s an excellent explanation! I already work like this, but never saw the way clearly explained in a blog. I think you like math?!
    Regards Ulla from Germany

  2. Ikkje noko problem, det er lett å stogge og sjå og lære av deg!

  3. Pink - I love the color. Can't wait to see the quilt.