Monday, March 9, 2020

Hand Pieced QAL - Template Tutorial

One of our goals with both of our Hand Piecing QALs is to teach new skills to everyone.

The Book Club pattern includes templates for each of the 9 blocks in our sampler.  While some of the patches can be rotary cut (and we’ve provided their measurements), learning to use templates is a great skill to have in your tool bag.

And before I go any further, let me just say that there are many ways to do things, including working with templates.  What I am sharing today, is what has worked for me.  Check out Kristin's tutorials - she has put together an awesome video tutorial.

One of the great things about templates is that you can create shapes that would be hard, if not impossible, to cut with a ruler and rotary cutter. Templates are crucial for curved pieces and just a lot easier for some geometric shapes.

For the QAL, I tended to do my prep in batches - creating templates for 3 blocks at a time, marking their stitching lines and then getting down to the business of hand piecing each block.

When you are printing the templates on paper, make sure to read the first page of the template pdf file as it will show what the printer settings will looks like.  Print a sample page and check the 1'' square before printing all the templates.

The template itself will have a solid line - this is the stitching line - and a dashed line which is the cutting line.

Paper templates need to either be glued to cardboard or traced to template plastic to make them sturdy enough that you can accurately trace them to fabric.  To get the job done, you'll need to assemble some tools like scissors, marking pencils, rulers and potentially an exacto knife.

Any type of cardboard will work but I like to use manila folders.

Roughly cut out the template from the paper and glue it to the cardboard using regular school glue.  Once the glue is dry, carefully cut the template on the dashed lines.  Consider an exacto knife and ruler for those straight edges or just tackle the cutting with scissors.   You are now ready to transfer the shape to your fabric.
Template plastic is a great alternative especially if you want to fussy cut your fabrics.

Place your paper template on a table - possibly securing it with tape - and then lay the template plastic and trace.  Use a ruler where you can to keep lines straight.   When you are ready to cut out, you can use an exacto knife and ruler for those straight edges or just tackle the cutting with scissors.  Use a sharpie to transfer the template information - name and letter!

The large outer unit in the Elizabeth block requires you to tape two pieces of the paper template together before transferring the template to cardboard or template plastic.

Once you've made your template, go ahead and trace them on the wrong size of the fabric.  You can use a rotary cutter and ruler for any straight lines and a fabric scissors for any curves.

Be creative as you lay out your template shapes - if you nest them together you can get several shapes cut from a oddly shaped piece of fabric.

Once your fabric units are all cut out, mark your 1/4" stitching lines (tutorial) on the wrong side of the fabric.  I use a regular pencil for light colored fabrics and a chalk pencil for dark colored fabrics.  I like using the Perfect Piecer for marking seam lines but really any ruler will do.

Once everything is marked, it will be time to lay out your fabric shapes and start sewing together the block!

A couple of more things -

  • Marking curves is slightly different - watch for a future tutorial on that later in the QAL.
  • Some quilters use templates completely differently - they create their templates using the stitching line - and then cut their fabric 1/4'' beyond that marked stitching line.  I've done it that way when especially when the pieces are small and I can easily watch that my stitches are hitting the stitching lines.  If this is the way you want to approach it, these templates will work for you too - just work with the solid line when creating them.

More on Book Club: A Hand Pieced QAL in case you missed it -

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Have a wonderful day! Patty

1 comment:

Thanks for visiting Elm Street Quilts. Looking forward to hearing from you!