An occasional post about quilting
I purchased a bagful of these Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt blocks a few years ago and the quilter who made them used a technique called fussy-cutting when she planned the designs.
So what in the world is fussy-cutting? See how there are flowers perfectly centered in the six-sided pieces that make up each block. This was done by design and the quilter used fussy-cutting to make it happen.
Basically, you center a flower (or other motif) within your block when you cut it out, so each piece has the same pattern. You can buy special clear plastic fussy-cut rulers to do this but there's a simpler way. Cut a window (mine's square but it can be any shape you like) in a piece of cardstock or cardboard the same size as your finished patch. Move it around over your fabric until you're happy with the placement, then mark around the shape with a fade-away marker. Use your rotary cutter to add 1/4" seam allowance.
And don't be afraid to focus in very tightly on the motif.
You'll see fussy-cutting used most often in Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts, but it's also used in what are called "I Spy" quilts. The quilter uses childrens and novelty prints, fussy-cutting objects within the print that children can "spy". Here are directions for making an I Spy quilt if you're so inclined.
This isn't the most economical way to use fabric—you waste whatever is in between the motifs—but it looks really cool in the finished quilt. Definitely give it a try!