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2 essential TIPS for cutting perfect Bargello patchwork strips

by Robin Bogaert

Welcome back! Yesterday, I discussed the material list to make the Batty for Bargello quilted reversible table runner started. I also included the pattern and applique design. Today, I’ll discuss tips and notions for success to complete the cutting process including the importance of a brand new and very sharp KAI Ultra Rotary Cutter Replacement Straight Blade – 45mm for my rotary cutter and Best Press Starch Alternative.

Picture of a KAI 45mm Rotary Blade

The KAI Rotary Blade Used

Picture of a Best Press Starch Alternative Bottle

Best Press Starch Alternative, I love the Lavender Fields, it is available in unscented

Cutting Instructions

  1. Insert a new, sharp rotary cutter blade into your rotary cutter. I used the KAI Ultra Rotary Cutter Replacement Straight Blade 45mm and I can tell you it’s extremely sharp. It’s a tungsten steel blade, made for cloth, leather, vinyl, film, and paper. The bonus is when you’re done with it or want to switch out the blade, it comes with a reusable storage container.

TIP 1 It’s important with bargello style piecing to have a sharp blade as accuracy in sizing of all the fabric pieces is key to getting the right ombré and wave effect.  It also reduces hand fatigue if a sharp blade is in your rotary cutter. With this project, we will be cutting several strips and then sub-cutting pieced units, so accuracy and ease of cutting are essential.

  1. Number all fabrics as shown from 1 to 12, take a photo of your fabric and number as shown or label fabric pieces with tape. If you don’t number your fabrics the process gets very confusing, and you lose track of the design. Your end fabric must be gradually shaded colors. As you can see in the photo the darkest color is 1 and it gradually goes to 9. In the end, I added the pop of orange. If you follow the way I chose the fabric, 12 fabrics of varying shades dark to light, you will achieve the same effect. Place the pop of color where you want it. If you use the coloring page, free download here you can try out your colors and design.

100% cotton fabric fat quarters ranging in colour from black to grey to white and orange, 12 fat quarters in total on a surface and numbered ready for a project

Fabrics identified by number light to dark

3. Iron all fabric with a dry iron and I recommend using Best Press Starch Alternative. With bargello piecing accuracy              is a key to success.

TIP 2 This is a product I use all the time because it stabilizes the fabric making it slightly sturdier, it removes all creases, and there’s no clogging, no flaking, and no residue as well. When needing accurate piecing, using a starch or starch alternative helps the fabric to stay static and it will not stretch as easily. You’ll achieve a nicely squared fabric. It’s important to use a dry iron with no steam as the steam will dilute the starch effect and allow your fabric to stretch more easily.

Ironing fabric crease out of orange fabric with Best Press

Ironing all fat quarters of Fabric Creations Cotton with Best Press Starch Alternative and a dry iron

4. Once all fabric is ironed, cut 3 strips 2½” x 21” from each fabric. You’ll have 36 strips cut, don’t forget to keep your             fabric numbered. I used my numbered photo for reference.

36 strips of fabric cut out with a rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler

All 36 strips, (3 of each of 12 colors) are now cut out

To recap bargello piecing success TIPS: use a sharp rotary blade, I used the KAI Ultra Rotary Replacement Blade, use Best Press Starch Alternative so that fabric doesn’t stretch and number your fabrics so you don’t lose track of the design. With these TIPS you’re ready for the fun part, tomorrow’s piecing! Join me as I show you how easy it is to piece one bargello block and I’ll share tips for pressing success. I promise you that tomorrow, you’ll start to imagine all the amazing possibilities with just one block and all your stash of fabric.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Batty for Bargello | A quilted reversible table runner

Go to part 3: Accurately piecing the Batty for Bargello Table Runner


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