The focus of the system for now is to simplify cutting charts and provide a cross-reference between rotary cutting and different manufacturers’ dies.
The foundation of EDeN is the Chart. In it, you’ll find the EDeN Number, the rotary cutting equivalent, and then the equivalent dies across the three most popular fabric die-cutting systems. EDeN focuses primarily on geometric shapes, because these are the most common shapes for quilting.
Let’s look at an example from the EDeN Chart so you can familiarize yourself with the notation.
The EDeN Number
EDeN Numbers have two parts, the Shape Abbreviation and the Shape Size.
- Shape Abbreviation: This tells you what shape to cut. These should be pretty easy to remember!
- CIR = Circle
- DIA = Diamond
- HEX = Hexagon
- HHX = Half Hexagon
- HRC = Half Rectangle
- HST = Half-Square Triangle
- PGM = Parallelogram
- QST = Quarter-Square Triangle
- REC = Rectangle
- KIT = Kite (also known as Starburst)
- SOP = Square On-Point
- SQ = Square
- STR = Strip
- TIS = Triangle in a Square
- TPZ = Trapezoid (Chisel)
- Shape Size: This is expressed as a finished size, except for CIR, HEX and HHX, to make it easier to convert between cutting systems. To express common fractions, you’ll see numbers like this: X = the finished size is exact—so “SQ-3” indicates a square that finishes at 3″.
- X¼ = this adds 1/4″ to the finished size—so SQ-3¼ is a square that finishes at 3-1/4″.
- X½ = this adds 1/2″ to the finished size—so SQ-3½ is a square that finishes at 3-1/2″.
- X¾ = this adds 3/4″ to the finished size—so SQ-3¾ is a square that finishes at 3-3/4″.
On rare occasions, sizes may need to be expressed to the ⅛”. The rules are the same as above.
Rectangles, half rectangles, & strips have special notations:
- The rectangle charts end at 12″ finished. Any shape longer than 12″ is considered a strip.
- Rectangles have two measurements for the width and length, e.g. REC-3 x 6, or REC-1¾ x 6.
- Both rectangles and strips should be cut on the lengthwise grain. You will see this referred to in the charts as length-of-fabric (LOF). To do this, always cut the longest measurement across the width-of-fabric, then cut your pieces to the correct width.
- For borders or sashing, you may need to piece these lengthwise strips together to get the total border length.
Circles, hexagons, and half hexagons are expressed differently:
- Circles are expressed by their cut diameter size. Circles can be used as applique as well as for piecing, but some circles are too small to be pieced. Using the cut size means we are able to include all circle dies.
- Hexagons and Half Hexagons are expressed by the length of their cut side. This conforms to the methods used to denote English Paper Piecing, which makes it easier to compare like for like.
At present, anything that cannot be described using EDeN Numbers will use the traditional method of naming the shape to be cut. EDeN isn’t appropriate for every die or every pattern!
Using EDeN in a Pattern
When you see EDeN in a pattern, you’ll be able to look up the EDeN Number to find the proper dies to use for your system. You might see it designated in a couple of different ways:
- Some designers & publications will choose to use only the EDeN Number in their cutting charts. So you might see something like:
- From blue fabric: cut four SQ-3, six HST-6, and one SQ-1½
- Other designers & publications will choose to list the rotary instructions first, followed by the EDeN Number. That might look like:
- From blue fabric: cut four 3-1/2″ squares [SQ-3]; cut three 6⅞” squares, then cut in half along one diagonal [HST-6]; cut one 2″ square [SQ-1½].
- The most likely scenario is no indication of EDeN at all! You can still use EDeN, just in a slightly different way.
Using the EDeN Chart
The EDeN Chart is a comprehensive listing of the most common piecing shapes across rotary cutting and the three most popular fabric die-cutting systems. The EDeN Number is on the far left of the chart, followed by the Rotary cut size, then the manufacturers’ die listing.
- If a shape can be made from more than one die or combination of dies, all of them will be listed in the chart.
- When a strip cutter is specified by itself for a unit that is square, you are meant to use the strip cutter to cut strips, then rotate the strips 90° on the same die and re-cut the fabric to make squares.
- When a strip cutter is specified to cut diamonds, you are meant to cut strips first, then rotate the strip the indicated number of degrees to cut diamonds. There are videos on-line which show how to mark strip cutters for diamonds.
- When a strip cutter is shown in combination with another die (e.g. 2″ strip cutter AND 3-1/2″ strip cutter), this is an indication to cut strips on the first die, then rotate 90° and layer on the second die to cut rectangles.
- This is also how parallelograms are made, except the strip is rotated 45° for the second cut.
What if you don’t have the right dies? If your cutting system allows it, you may be able to adapt the die from another manufacturer. As a last resort, you can always use the rotary cutting instructions.
What if you don’t have the EDeN Number? Simply look up the rotary cut size for that shape, and follow it across the chart to the column that has your die-cutting system.
How do you get the latest EDeN Chart? Just go here to download it.