Fussy Cutting with Templates & Lightboxes
A few days ago I started working on my Single Girl Quilt. I love quilts that let me fussy cut with templates, but sometimes it can be tricky to get the perfect fussy cut, especially if you're working with a paper template instead of a clear acrylic template. I've put together a quick tutorial for perfect fussy cuts every time using the Daylight Company Wafer 2 Lightbox.
Tools you'll need:
- Wafer 2 Lightbox*
- Erasable Marking Pen (I use Frixxion eraseable pens)
- Fabric of Choice
Step 1: Position your template roughly over the motif you want to fussy cut - but don't mark anything yet! Notice that you can't see though your template for exact placement yet.
Step 2: Turn on the lightbox. You can now see your fabric through your paper template. Position the template as desired. In this instance I was able to add in more complete flowers around the bird motif. Take care to get all your featured motif within the seam allowance line of your template!
Step 3: Use your eraseable pen to trace around the paper template, be careful not to shift the paper!
Step 4: Now, turn off your lightbox. You'll notice it's a little hard to see your drawn line until after your turn the lightbox off. Admire the beautiful template shape you've drawn on your fabric.
Step 5: Use your scissors to cut out the template shape you've traced on your fabric. I like to use scissors on any curved edges, but if you prefer to cut out with a rotary cutter, then the Daylight Wafer 2 Lightbox is especially great because of the included frosted clear cutting mat. You can cut directly on this portion of the lightbox! It's not necessary for the lightbox to be on for this part of the fussy cutting, but it's awfully convenient.
Step 6: CELEBRATE! That's really all it takes. Just repeat this process with as many templates as you need for your pattern.
*So, let's talk Lightboxes* This is a sewing room luxury. Daylight company gave me one to try out, and I've found that I reach for it again and again for a lot of random sewing tasks. I'll be doing my best to put together more things like the above tutorial on the different ways I use it!
If you don't have a lightbox, there are other ways to achieve similar results, but this is definitely the easiest.
- If you have a clear extension table on your sewing machine, you can shine a flashlight up through the table and put your fabric on top. This isn't the ideal way to do it, especially since extension tables have writing on them, and that shows up through light too.
- If it's a bright day outside you can tape your fabric to the window and follow similar steps, but this can be really difficult if you're doing a lot of different shapes of fussy cuts since it involves a lot of reset between each piece.
- Invest in template plastic and make your templates out of template plastic instead of paper. Personally I find it difficult to cut template plastic pieces accurately, it always feels a little thick and awkward to me, but this could be personal preference.
- Send out your paper pattern templates to a professional acrylic cutter who can create custom acrylic templates for you. This sounds great, except it is an additional cost to the pattern you've already purchased, and it takes time. Generally when I want to start a project the last thing I want to do is wait for templates to arrive in the mail.
After working with the Wafer 2 for a bit, I've decided it's a really awesome size. It's large without being too big for my work space, but if you're mostly working with smaller fussy cut pieces, the Wafer 1 is also a great choice. Even more portable, and a lower price point.