East Dakota Quilter

First Passacaglia Rosette & More EPP Fussy Cutting Tips


I know I always underestimate how long it will take me to complete a project, but we’re talking whole new levels with the La Passacaglia quilt. (If you don’t know what quilt I’m talking about, check out my earlier post here.) I worked on it with all my free time last week and only made it through three rings on the first rosette. Now I am finally FINISHED… with the first rosette of many, haha. Here’s my first blue & orange rosette:

Passacaglia Rosette by East Dakota Quilter

It’s big! It takes up an entire café table. The photo below was taken earlier in the afternoon, when I thought I was finished. Then I noticed my error and had to re-sew a section. Can you spot the issue? The lighting was much better for the mix-up than the final version. Bummer!

Passacaglia Oops by East Dakota Quilter

In case you’re curious, here’s the back side of my La Passacaglia.

Passacaglia Back by East Dakota Quilter

I also came up with another fun technique for fussy cutting. In my last post, I described using a wet erase pen on acrylic templates to ensure multiple cuts of fabric have an identical pattern. It worked pretty well. But I thought to myself, If I could just copy the fabric pattern and somehow see through it, I could line things up, and there wouldn’t be the user error of my not marking perfectly or accidentally lifting half the marker off the acrylic with my fingers. That’s when I came up with what might be an even BETTER idea than the wet erase/acrylic method!

Did you have a math class in the 1990s? If so, you might remember your teacher standing at the overhead projector, using his/her wet erase marker to complete math problems that were photocopied onto a transparency sheet. Those transparency sheets are still available for sale, believe it or not. (I got mine here; no affiliation.) I just put my fabric in a copy machine, inserted a transparency sheet, and hit copy at 100%. Do make sure the scale of your copier is correct by lining up the transparency over the fabric after copying the first print.

Fabric and transparency side-by-side (Sorry - reflective surfaces are difficult to photograph)

Fabric and transparency side-by-side, but one is backward (also, reflective surfaces are difficult to photograph)

I photocopied onto paper before using the paper copies to make transparency sheets. I wanted to be sure I got all the important elements on a single sheet first. The paper copy made it easy to try multiple configurations and to test the repeat pattern before cutting into the transparency sheet. For this part, I skipped the seam allowance to see what the finished pieces would look like.  When you’re happy with the selection, you can use an acrylic template to cut around the transparency version, then double-stick tape the transparency to the acrylic. From there, just line it up over the fabric to make multiple, identical cuts. What could be easier?! (Reminder: Be sure to include the seam allowance here, even if you skipped it for the step above.)

East Dakota Quilter - Fussy Cutting w Photocopies

East Dakota Quilter - Fussy cutting w transparency sheets

Of course, this doesn’t work if you don’t have access to a copier, but if you do… BAM! You’re welcome. This method (photocopying fabric onto either paper or transparency) also makes it easy to see whether two images on the fabric are too close together to get separate cuts. (Be sure to include seam allowances.) Fussy Cutting Tips by East Dakota Quilter

You could also use washi tape on the bottom of an acrylic template to hide seam allowances and really see what portion of the fabric will show on the final piece. (You don’t need to see that the outer edges line up with the fabric because you can already see through the transparency!) My first passacaglia rosette was made before I thought of the photocopy/transparency method. I am confident my next few rosettes will be even better! I’ve already started on my second.

Check out my WIPs page for links to all my La Passacaglia posts.


7 thoughts on “First Passacaglia Rosette & More EPP Fussy Cutting Tips

  1. Hi Tiffany,
    I found your blog while searching for more information on Passacaglia quilts .( I don’t really want to buy another book!) I think I would like to make one of these quits as it satisfies the OCD in me! I spend a lot of time away from home and my machine and this is by hand. I enjoyed your ideas for fussy cutting and I’m looking forward to seeing your quilt finished. When I read orange and blue I thought ” What is she thinking?”……. BUT it looks lovely. How big will your finished quilt be?…. and why in all the pictures are the rosettes not completed on one section?
    Best wishes with your project
    Penny McDonald
    PS I couldn’t find your mistake!!

    • Hi Penny – Glad you stopped by! I was worried that an orange and blue palette would be too limiting, but it seems to be going okay so far. Some of the colors I have planned are an almost mustard yellow (on the yellow side of orange) and a fiery, almost-red orange on the other end of the orange spectrum. And there are so many blues! Plus, I can use grays, whites, and other neutrals to balance. Thanks for the encouragement! I think the finished Passacaglia is around 57 x 96, although many are either adding extras or removing certain pieces. The reason many rosettes are not finished is that one links up with another and overlaps for a particular section. The “bite” taken out of my rosette is because another rosette will cover that section. My mistake is actually part of that “bite.” I accidentally put one of the stars in the bite section instead of around the outside edge. Fortunately, it was easy to correct! I learned we should knot off each piece or small set of pieces so the entire quilt won’t unravel if one set of threads gets snagged. The advice is already proving incredibly useful! Good luck with your quilt, too!

  2. Hi, your colour combination is beautiful!!! I’m thinking of starting this quilt too, but choosing fabrics and/or colours seems difficult. I followed a one day course with Willyne for the fireworks quilt. Did you know she makes all her quilts by hand? Without papers in it? It wouldn’t be my choice, I’d rather use the papers for accuracy. It is an intriguing pattern and I’m curious how your quilt will grow;)
    Annemieke (from theNetherlands)

    • Willyne impresses me in every way. Not only does she create the patterns from thin air, but she makes great quilts without even using papers! Blows my mind. I am lucky just to follow along with her book, haha. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Great idea!!! thanks for sharing.

  4. Beautiful first rosette….well done.

  5. Pingback: La Passacaglia & EPP Research | East Dakota Quilter

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