Adventures with Pre-cuts

Today I want to show you one of my latest designs to be published - The Tour of the Garden Wall Quilt:

It's gone to the top of my list of favourites as I really like everything about it - colour, needleturn applique, simple piecing, the theme, style and, well ... it just works!

You can find it in Australian Country Threads magazine, Vol 15 No 4:

If you are unable to find this magazine, don't worry, I will have the pattern available in my store in a few weeks.

Showing you this design started me thinking about my love affair with Pre-cuts. I bought my first Jelly Roll six or seven years ago when they were quite a new idea and managed to make two projects out of it. I was a bit restricted with just 2½ inch strips so next time I bought a whole set of 40 fat quarters, plus a Jelly Roll. That was WAY too much fabric! I ended up making 13 projects from that. Thankfully it was a gorgeous range and I didn't get tired of using it.

Through trial and error, I have found what suits me well when it comes to Pre-cuts. 
I now buy a layer cake, (40-42 ten inch squares), 1½ yards of a solid/tone-on-tone fabric, then four or five further half yards of fabric.

I thought you might like to see the rationale behind that. (I know that you have already seen the photos below, but I want to use them again as illustrations.) I bought this lovely Double Chocolat range by 3 Sisters - the layer cake, 1½ yds Cherry, ½ yards of two blues, a chocolate floral, chocolate tone-on-tone, tan, and a red, (and then they had packs of 40 2½ inch squares already cut at a very good price so I thought I'd save myself some cutting time and bought two packs). Here's what I made with the range:

The Cherry and Chocolate Table Runner uses the Cherry yardage for the border and binding. The four chocolate floral blocks are cut from one of the half yards.

Confectionary Corner make use of the variety of fabrics from the layer cake and the binding is cut from the tan half yard of fabric. 

The Chocolate Delight placemats also use the layer cake and a chocolate half yard for binding, but notice how different this looks to the previous design. That's because I chose to leave out all the tan fabrics and major on just chocolate, blue and cherry colours.
For the Picnic in the Park tablecloth and cutlery wrap, you can see I again used some of the layer cake and three or four of the half yardages. Have you worked out why this one looks different?  There is no chocolate colour used.

The chocolate floral yardage came in handy for the Red Robin Peg Bag above. 

Snowed Under used up some more of the layer cake and again yardage for the binding.

Then of course I used up all the bits and pieces that were left over, making my Tour of the Garden quilt at the top of this post.

So what have I learned with my adventures with Pre-cuts?  Firstly, you need fabric for borders and binding! Jelly Rolls are great, but generally in a large range, you get only one strip of each fabric, and that just isn't enough.  I now buy half yards, because I know I can cut a good number of 2½ inch strips from them (seven if need be). I try to buy four different colours in the half yards so that I can obtain quite different effects by changing the borders or binding.

I choose one fabric in a strong colour that has very little pattern - like a solid or tone-on-tone print and buy 1½ yards of it. I figure that will give me sufficient for bordering a wall quilt plus a table runner or a bag and if there is any over, I know it will be a useful piece to have in my stash.

Another principle I work on is that I usually choose a range that has four distinct colours and has very few neutrals. That's my personal preference but I have found it gives such a wide variety of "looks", as I hope you can see in the photos above.

 Yes, I love Pre-cuts. Being able to have a whole range of fabric without buying 42 pieces from the roll is just wonderful. I don't live within easy range of a quilt shop so I love that everything matches, without my having to go searching for just the right colour to fit in. I love the variety that can be obtained when selecting portions of the range and I love all the wonderful choices I have for my beloved appliques. Whoever invented Pre-cuts deserves a medal!

Happy stitching!


Jacquie Morris said...

You make such wonderful things.. I love popping in on your blog :)
Smiles :)

Melody said...

Beautiful fabric choices and a really enjoyable and informative post. You certainly did get a lot of different looks from one range.

sunny said...

Great advice! You sure know how to use your fabric. I recently won a jelly roll, and I've spent hours searching for just the right pattern for it. I need to find something soon while I can still find matching yardage.

Christine M said...

Great post, Val. It's amazing what you made from a layer cake.

Rose said...

Ho là là ! que de merveilles,
douce journée

Patricia said...

Val, Thank you for sharing. This has inspired me. Love all of your projects.

Patricia C

KaHolly said...

You've got it all figured out! I appreciate that, because I never know how much to purchase of what! Now, I do! XO

Grandma said...

Great helpful post, thank you.