Saturday, November 18, 2017

It's a Maker: Calculating fabric measurements...

In my last post, I shared how I "translated" a fantastic pattern to Design Space speak. But, it was simply a block. And, for the most part, a block does not a quilt make. So, how do I determine the amount of fabric that I will need to make my last project using the Bright Morning Block from Patchwork Square. You can find that project on my blog by clicking here.

Using the blocks created in my last post, I depend on Design Space to guide my fabric needs. I'll use the brown blocks in the foreground as my example:


Please, note that all similar shapes are grouped. It is so much easier to move or hide shapes! 

From the upper right corner of the DS, select the MAKE IT button.


I am not going to cut these shapes yet....I still need to get my fabric together! I just want to look at how Design Space lays the shapes on the mat automatically.


Looking at this layout and planning to make only one block, this would waste fabric. In DS 3, I can move the bottom two squares to a better location. Less waste!


For a single block, I need a cut of fabric 12" wide and 7" long. I used the markings on the visual mat to determine that amount.  But, I want to do a runner of three blocks. The software can automatically multiply the squares to create the same block times 3. 


Select PROJECT COPIES and designate 3---3 blocks using these same cuts. Then select APPLY. 
Look what happens with the default 12 x 12 mat.....


I now have 3 cutting mats; the open space means either wasted fabric or secondary cuts that I do not want to make. Cricut has designed the Maker to be super efficient. Let's see how....


Choose the drop-down arrow next to MATERIAL SIZE and scroll to the 12 x 24" mat at the bottom. SELECT it. My layout now looks like this:


I am so much happier! Excess fabric is inevitable..I just want to decrease the amount. This layout and mat the longer mat allow me to use a cut of fabric 12" x 24" long (or 12 x 42 -- and save the leftover!) 

But what if I want 6 of this particular block? Simple....just increase the PROJECT COPIES to 6 and be sure to select the 12 x 24" mat. 

Looking at the mats, I note that one mat needs a length of 22.5" and the other needs a length of 18.5". Add the two together and the length of fabric is 41". Again, a minimum cut of 12 x 42"!

I'll be honest, I have tried to lay my blocks out in DS using a custom template. I was not successful for a number of reasons. But, by letting DS do the magic, I maintain the accuracy of the cuts and the integrity of my mat. Plus, I can consistantly multiply my blocks for each and every project. And, finally, by not loading the DS file with extra shapes, the saved file is smaller and quicker to open. 

Before I run off to cut my runner blocks, I have to say...these cuts or my calcuations do not include borders. These are simply the blocks themselves. My border length and widths are calculated based upon my particular project. In creating the 3 block runner, I most likely would not use any sashing, just stitch block to block. I envision my side borders a minimum of 36" long and 3"wide with the top and bottom borders close to 18" x 3". But, I am funny, often my projects take on a life of their own and border plans change! 

I have found that sorting through the facets of DS actually opens the hidden gems of potential of this program.  I hope that this look at calculating fabrics for your quilting will help you see the possibilities that exist for DS and for quilting! 

Until next time....keep sorting those scraps and generating the gems!









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