v.— «Fussy cut means that you take a particular pattern out of the piece of fabric.…It is a block that is cut so that the motif on the fabric is centered in the square. For example, if you’re doing florals, you would cut the square so that the flower is centered on the block. You are “fussy-cutting” it rather than just rotary cutting strips and the motifs (or parts thereof) just fall wherever they fall.» —“What a fussy cut square is and how it is done?” World Wide Quilting Page July 21, 2003. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Yes! Do you have mentions from the Sixties or Seventies?

  2. ruthc says:

    This is now common lexicon among modern quilters, going back at least ten years. Definitely a non-trivial concept. Would you like a few citations (from books)?

  3. I don’t have either “charm quilt” or “charm string,” but I see the Dictionary of American Regional English has “charm string.” However, DARE dates it back only to 1947, not the 1870s.

    Thanks for “charm quilt.” I’ll add it to the citation queue.

  4. ruthc says:

    re “charm string” —
    Robert E Lee in a letter in 1868: indexed on page 21 of http://www.moc.org/site/DocServer/Leecollection.pdf?docID=185

    in print: a descriptive passage in
    1921, “AMANDA: A Daughter of the Mennonites.” Myers, Anna Balmer, full text at http://library.beau.org/gutenberg/etext04/mndmn10.txt

  5. ruthc says:

    No – and I would bet it doesn’t predate the late 1980’s. The first rotary cutter tool came to the US in 1979; by mid-80’s many designers had begun to cut multiple layers with rotary cutter and ruler, and to do strip-piecing. Once that became more of a default method, there was need for a term for the opposite: a carefully-positioned piece cut one at a time. I’ve heard the coinage attributed to Jinny Beyer, but don’t have the likely books at home. Will keep my eyes open.

  6. ruthc says:

    BTW, do you have this term? “Charm quilts are one-path designs with each patch cut from a different fabric.” (Beth Donaldson, Charm Quilts, 1997). These have had several periods of popularity, from 1880’s to 2000.

    First citation I have is 1980 (Benberry, Cuesta. “Charm Quilts.” Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, no. 120, March 1980, p. 14-15.)

    http://qnm.com/articles/feature15/index.html The term may be much older, since it comes from a similar custom of the 1870’s, the “charm string,” which was a collection of unique buttons, often collected by trading with friends.

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