Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tutorial: Cutting Doo-Dads

Shall we return to kindergarten where we first got to play with scissors? That may have been when I hit my artistic prime, and I have been working to get my mojo back ever since.

When I started fusing and discovered the fact that any leftover fused scrap was usable, I began to frugally slice and dice bits to add pattern and detail to my work. Over the years it became a recognizable attribute. Along the way I added hand embroidery now and then, as well some machine embroidery to emphasize the patterns. This is why I found it difficult to quilt using mostly prints, since to me it looked like anyone could have done it. Now with my own dyed fabric, in solids, blotches, stripey and watercolory effects + ALL the doo-dads, it looks to me like I did this.

I digress.
Anyway, here's how to make some of the doo-dads in this piece.

Begin with fused fabric, and a sharp pair of small scissors, a mat and your rotary cutter, small if you have one. Cut a wedge to make the mini ziz-zag strip.

Cut one wedge at a time and separate them from the whole. Save the triangles for decorating another area. ALWAYS CUT WITH THE FUSED SIDE DOWN.

To make the wedgie Vs cut a wedge and fold in half, fused side inside.

Cut the bottom off at an angle and continue to slice at the same angle to produce the V shapes. This photo shows the inside fused side. As you open the Vs you will note which side is which, or face trouble when you press them down.
To cut the tiny dots, or any size dots, cut, and turn the fabric as you cut. Practice.

This is the $7 iron I am using, teflon coated surface, so important.

When you fuse, you are working directly on the pressing table, whether it is an ironing board or like mine, a drafting table with padding and canvas top. (I made this surface myself). I use a small rotary mat and keep everything else off the quilt while I work. It helps keep the quilt nice and clean. And don't forget to always fuse on the release paper or teflon applique sheet. Forget once and you'll never do it again.

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  1. I've just recently started fusing some elements of my pieces, and started saving all the bits and pieces with the same thought in mind.

    Good to know I'm following in the steps of a master. :)

  2. Thanks Mel - and may I say, didn't know you could get such a cute iron for $7!

  3. Anonymous10:44 AM

    You HAND CUT all those perfect little circles???!!!!??? You just keep impressing me............
    Thanks for the how-to tute.

  4. Thanks, I was wondering how you did those zig-zag strips!

  5. What? Where is the Pugs help and input into all this??? ;)

  6. I wondered if you had used a punch for those circles. You are GOOD! Thanks for all this information. You are one fabulous artist. I can't wait for your blog each day.

  7. I agree with Carol. I make my first morning cup of tea, than I head to your blog -- has been my morning ritual for more than 2 years!

    Melanie, I have been thinking about you all morning as I have been tidying up my studio and putting away fused scraps from my last project.

    May I enter an official request for a show-and-tell for how you store all your various sized scarps of fused fabrics? I am not happy with my system at all -- there has GOT to be a better way! I wanna see YOUR methods! Pics puh-leez! LOTS of 'em! ;-)

    Merci beaucoup!

  8. Thank you for all your inspiration!

  9. Judy Morningstar1:26 PM

    If you think your artistic mojo has been downhill since kindergarten, you must have been a REAL whiz at 5 years old!!! Your work is amazing!

  10. oh I love it, permission to play please?

  11. Oh! And what brand of scissors do you use? Kai?

  12. So smart! I am thinking of making an ironing table too with storage and wheels. I haven't told my hubby yet.
    He will have to do the work! I just design! :)

  13. Clever, clever. I think that fusing is the only way to go. Thanks for all your tips.

  14. Awesome! Now, one thing I didn't see in the tute... did you peel off the backing before you cut? I'm thinking I saw that somewhere in a past blog post, but not sure. Anyway, you are the cleverest! Thanks for sharing your secrets!

  15. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Thank you, Melody!! One more question - do these tiny pieces really stay on without stitching of any kind? If they do, what fusible are you using? Thank you again. Your work is so cheerful and beautiful. The eye just keeps looking.

    Maggie in AZ

  16. Great tutorial - and what a lot of work, but very inventive, and very Mel, and I just love it. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Love those cheap irons. Best advice I got when I started was use cheap irons so when you drop them or ruin them, you won't cry, you'll just go get another one. Only issue I have with the cheapies is when I need to use steam, some of them are hard to fill.
    30C here today and brilliantly sunny. Sumer is ycomin in!


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