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  1. #1
    Fabric Fanatic

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    Default How to precut stash

    Iím soooo very new to quilting and this is my first question on this forum!

    I have a huge fabric stash from 1930s to now. Everything from vintage cottons and wools with matching thread to knits and satins to current cottons and minky. I have sorted it all by fabric content and want to start cutting the cottons down to usable precuts so I can see what I have to work with. I mostly have quarter to third to half yard pieces that are bolt width. I have a stack of smaller pieces and some 1-3 yards also.

    Since I have never quilted I donít know what the most common or easiest sizes to start working with. I know a bunch of 1 or 2Ē squares will make me crazy before I get to a finished product! But what to start with? I know that many shapes are cut from squares and strips can be used as is or cut into squares etc. But what size do I star with? I have organization all ready to go just no fabric in the containers yet

  2. #2
    Designer Diva

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    Since you are new to quilting, I don't recommend pre-cutting your fabric until you know the types of quilts you like to make. Precuts exist to save you cutting time on a project, not as a size you need to curate your stash down into.

    What is perhaps -more- useful is as you make your first few quilts, to 'precut' any leftover scraps (not until your quilt is assembled and finished, mind you!) into sizes you think you'll use if you were to make a scrappy quilt of some sort.

    Most commercially available precut sizes are as follows: 10" squares, 5" squares, 2.5" squares, 2.5" WOF strips. There are precut hexies, precut triangles, and some places offer 5" or 6" WOF strips as well.
    (WOF means width of fabric... bolt width, essentially).

    Most traditional quilt blocks finish at 12", 8", or 6". Many modern patterns take advantage of the precut sizes that manufacturers make available. Until you know whether you like working with strips, squares, fat quarters, or other sizes, you should leave your fabric stash uncut. The minute you cut it up into little pieces, you will find a pattern you want to make that needs a slightly bigger piece.

    My suggestion is to find a way to fold your fabric pieces so that you can organize them side by side in whatever groupings make sense to you, and yet you can see them all. That will make it easier to pull fabric when you decide what pattern you're going to make next.

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  4. #3
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    I do not think I would cut the fabric into any certain size, at least not until you learn what you really like. I would sort by color and maybe style. Like reproduction 1800's, 1930's modern, etc. Once you know your preferences then it will be easier to decide on sizes.

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  6. #4
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    I cut a great deal of my fabric into precut sizes since so much of it was really scraps and I figured it would be easier than all the jagged pieces I had. I made them into the largest pieces I could...12", 10", 9, 8, 6, 5, 4 1/2, 4, 3 1/2, 3, 2 1/2. I took the longer pieces and left them in strips the rest I made squares.
    I used them. I made a lot of scrappy quilts that turned out terrific.
    I currently purchased a truck load of fabric sample packs that are all in 5x6 inch groups and 3 1/2 x4 inch groups. The longer side has holes punched in it so I am in the process of squaring them. We are talking about 15 banana box fulls. Then I will have to sort them into colors. Once that is done, I will make scrappy quilts in color groups.
    But if your pieces are not jagged...leave them...stack them neatly ironed and folded on the shelf in colors and you will shop your stash when making a quilt.

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  8. #5
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    I would measure them and then put the measurements on a piece of paper pinned to the fabric. Don't use sticky notes, they come off to soon. Then sort by closest size (1/4, 1/3 yd, 1/2 yd, etc.). That way you can pull as to what the pattern calls for and won't have to unfold all of them. As you use fabric, re-measure and change the paper. When it gets less than 1/4 of a yard cut into the largest precut you can.
    ATTITUDE IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORDEAL AND AN ADVENTURE

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  10. #6
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    Since you're new to quilting perhaps it would be fun to take a look through Jenny's tutorials and pick maybe three quilts (or runners or whatever) that you would like to try. They will list what type of precut to use for the blocks, borders, bindings etc. Then sort through your stash by color combinations. Once you've done that select fabrics for each quilt and then you can start precutting. If you look at precuts you'll notice that they list how many pieces per packet with it's size. Like jelly rolls are about 2 1/2" wide by about 42" long , charm packs are 5"x5" and have 42 per pack etc. Jenny's tutorials also tell you how many packages of the precut you will need. (If you do this then write what you were planning to do on a note card and put it with the fabrics you chose or you might forget what you planned)

    In the beginning I did use 10x10 inch squares a lot because I could always cut them down into 4 5x5's per piece if I needed a "charm pack". In the beginning I did occasionally make the mistake of purchasing just the right, say, jelly roll that was a daily deal that I wanted to make a particular tutorial quilt with. I didn't check back with the tutorial when I did it and lo and behold I should have gotten a layer cake (10x10) or charm pack for it!

    The only time I do a lot of precutting myself now is for a particular scrappy quilt pattern I love. A large part of it uses up 1 1/4" strips that are sewn together to make 8 point stars, triangles and 4 patches. It can use up a lot of my smaller scraps from other patterns.

    Another thing I would suggest if you have a lot of precutting in your future is to invest in a stripology (I think that's how you spell it) ruler. It makes very nice cuts. It's a little pricey but I've found it useful. Also accurate cutting is the name of the game otherwise you will be disappointed :-) A good rotary cutter is a must too with sharp blades. I suggest Martelli's. I can cut through multiple layers for quite a while which saves time. It is pricey too but well worth it. They have a 50% off sale periodically and that is worth watching for.
    Last edited by Carlie Wolf; June 1st, 2018 at 06:30 PM.

    Women are Angels.
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  12. #7
    Fabric Fanatic

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    Thank you for the info. You make a lot of sense! I have been sewing garments since the 70’s but no quilting.

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  14. #8
    Fabric Fanatic

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    Wow! I have have about 6 banana boxes full but only about half is cotton. Much of the 1 yard and longer is straight off the bolt. Shorter pieces are a mix of what I would call remnants, and scraps left from cutting garments. The garment cuts are all wonky bits that may have quarter yard or more of usable fabric all over the piece. Some is as small as 3-4” when I square it. Great idea to just square up small pieces to largest size possible!

  15. #9
    Fabric Fanatic

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    I’m horrible at this forum thing but a HUGE hug of appreciation to you veteran quilters with your ideas! I found great usable info from each post that I can use on my crazy stash until my sewing machine gets out of the shop in two weeks (sigh) Haven’t used the old girl in so long she really needed a makeover! But I’m going to start squaring up, tagging, and folding big pieces. Once I can see some accomplishment I will tackle smaller pieces!

  16. #10
    Fabric Fanatic

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    Default Re: How to precut stash

    And Jenny’s tutorials are my quilting inspiration and instruction!

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