What is Fussy Cutting?

Some feedback I’ve been getting lately is that many people who read here are beginners or intermediate beginners. {Welcome! *waves hello*} Knowing that I’ve decided that every now and then I’ll write a blog post based on simple skills that can really take your quilting and sewing projects to the next level.

Confession. When I first started sewing I had to google “what is fussy cutting” and I wish someone had written this blog post for me!


Fussy cutting is when you deliberately cut a piece of fabric in order to showcase a picture or print within it. It is usually done using larger scale and novelty prints.

The size or reason for using fussy cuts may vary depending on the project you are working on. You might like to feature a particular picture or you might just need to cut fabric exactly to ensure a pattern is centred.

This week’s Quilt Block Boot Camp block is the Economy block and I’ve used this tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts. In the centre I’ve cut a pretty woodland scene that is part of a Belle & Boo print fabric.

Sometimes cutting specific pieces from the centre of fabric can be quite fiddly so here are some tools that can help:

  • Special fussy cutting tools like this kit, which makes cutting your designs really easy.

Love these gnomes and they make a great feature on this pouch.

Tricks you need to know when fussy cutting:

  • Make sure you ensure that you have enough seam allowance. around the feature design. Nothing worse than cutting out a cute kitten only to chop off its head when sewing everything together!
  • Use the markings on your quilting ruler to centre your design before cutting so the feature design is placed perfectly.
  • If you are unsure, cut your piece too big then trim it down to the size you require.

Hexies are another great way to use fussy cutting to feature prints like the mustard love birds.
Fabulous Fussy Cutters:
  • Flossie Teacakes: This post is great sharing how she fussy cuts for english paper piecing.
  • Gnome Angel: She has a Facebook group devoted to fussy cutters and she makes incredible things like these X blocks and this pouch.
  • Cat from Cat + Vee: She has a way with fabric that just mesmerises me. See amazing fussy cutting on this pouch  and this bag.
So now you’ll have to get out your prints and make them pop! Happy fussy cutting!

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4 thoughts on “What is Fussy Cutting?

  1. I would probably be an intermediate beginner, so I know a few things, but most of what I know is through online tutorials, so think this is a great idea. Perhaps the most important piece of advice you gave in this tutorial was 'don't forget about the seam allowance'! It is so frustrating and upsetting to have your perfect little picture ruined by your own silly mistake.

  2. Thanks for this post! I am also a beginner and every time I watch quilting videos I feel like John Snow, because I seem to know nothing’. :P. Usually it is becasue of the terminology though, so really appreciated your quit explanation of fuzzy cutting.

    I admit I found your site by googling the exact words: ‘What is fuzzy cutting’.

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