Here is a question from a QuiltSandwich quilter about the cutting diagram:
When defining a 6" square block with allowance of ½" on cut edge and 1" at selvage edge, the calculator states the need for ¼ yard. This seems to be more than I actually need. The cutting diagram shows the allowances in yellow, pieces cut on fold in pink. What is the gray area in reference to?
This is a great question! Once you fully understand how to read the cutting diagram you'll have all the information you need to put the frustrations of 'coming up short' after cutting fabric behind you!
Below is the Yardage Calculator set to match your project —
WHITE AREA — Pieces
The strip and the piece cut-lines are shown in white. QuiltSandwich's cutting diagram shows how to cut pieces needed from a strip. The numbers '4' & '2' on the blocks show that it is possible to get the four pieces needed from the folded strip as well as 2 more. Following this cutting diagram — cutting the pieces from the folded fabric — you would get four 6 1/2" blocks
YELLOW AREAS — Allowances
In yellow is the additional fabric added for allowances to the yardage calculation. Allowances make sure you have enough fabric to cut out strips and blocks after shrinking and squaring up the fabric. (We all know fabric never comes off the bolt perfectly square — so it is important to compensate for the fabric lost due to trimming to square up.)
GRAY AREAS — Extra Fabric
The diagram shows two gray areas: a rectangle at the fold of the fabric and another area running along the bottom of the strip. This is the unused or truly extra fabric — scrap — fabric that is not large enough for more pieces and beyond what is needed for allowances.
Why so much Extra Fabric?
Here is where we must share one other insight — the yardage calculator increments yardage in 1/8 yards. This is based on our understanding of the minimum acceptable fabric purchase, understanding that the minimum purchase amount varies by quilt shop. Therefore, because a 6 1/2" block (not even including the allowances!) is bigger than 1/8 yard (4 1/2"), the calculator increments 2 full 1/8 yards, so 1/4 yard is the least amount of fabric recommended for these pieces. The cutting diagram shows this.
Think of the cutting diagram as providing guidance.
The Cutting Diagram shows honestly and exactly how fabric will be utilized, so you can confidently make a plan before cutting. A look at the cutting diagram shows just how the fabric is utilized —
Of course, if you are purchasing fabric, you'll likely need to buy a full 1/4 yard at your local quilt shop. However, in the right situation knowing that only an 8 1/2” length of fabric is needed could be really helpful!
Are you are pulling from your stash?
Trying to use scraps?
Working with a kit?
You might be able to take advantage of the insight provided by the cutting diagram and get by with less than the ideal yardage.
And — think about this — sometimes you're not sure if you have enough of the 'perfect fabric'.
Finally, because the cutting diagram let's you adjust allowances to fit a particular piece of fabric so that you can confidently pre-plan your piece count before cutting! This can be especially helpful if you have a fabric scrap that is already squared up. If this is the case, set the squaring up allowance to zero and the cutting diagram will show you exactly what you need!