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How to make Quilt templates

This time, let’s look at the second method of fussy cutting with Inklingo—templates!

Template Rule # 1 

Use templates without seam allowances.

It’s a beautiful rule. It applies all the time:

  • whether or not you are fussy cutting
  • whether you are using scissors or a rotary cutter
  • whether you are sewing by hand or by machine
  • whether or not you will mark a sewing line, crosshairs, matches, etc.
  • whether the shapes are curved or straight
  • with any shape, including new ones you dream up on your own
  • even if you are using English Paper Piecing

My first choice is always to print on fabric with Inklingo but there are situations when templates make sense.

This article focuses on fussy cutting but the info is helpful any time you need templates. I do not recommend EPP for any design but the tips below will help you with that too.

 

Use templates without seam allowances

Use templates without seam allowances!

If you have been using metal, acrylic, or plastic templates with seam allowances for Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (or any design), you will love how much simpler and more accurate it is to work with templates without seam allowances!

I love anything that is simpler and faster with precise results!
(Especially when it costs less—almost nothing!)

 

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses

In the POTC book, I recommend freezer paper (FP) templates whenever you are not printing the shapes on fabric with Inklingo.

Once you learn how to use freezer paper to make templates, you will never need to buy acrylic/plastic/metal shapes againwhether you use Inklingo or not.

If freezer paper (FP) is new to you, there is an article about it (what it is, etc.) under the Top Ten Tutes tab (above).

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Swiss cheese fussy cutting

TRADITIONAL TEMPLATE METHOD – SWISS CHEESE

The fabric above has holes all over it!

“Swiss cheese fussy cutting” can require a lot more fabric and it takes longer than printing identical sheets of fabric with Inklingo but it works beautifully in the right circumstances.

My first choice is Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting (see Part 2) but Inklingo is the very best method for traditional Swiss cheese fussy cutting with templates too.

 

Fussy Cut POTC with Inklingo

For example, templates are ideal for fussy cutting when:

  • you only need a few shapes from a particular fabric
  • you need ten or more identical shapes from several fabrics
    (e.g. Millefiori Quilts Passacaglia rosettes)
  • you don’t have enough fabric for Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting
  • you don’t have a suitable fabric for Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting

 

Yes to freezer paper!

FREEZER PAPER TEMPLATES
WITHOUT SEAM ALLOWANCES
ARE
 ALWAYS BETTER THAN ANY SHAPE
WITH SEAM ALLOWANCES

I have never liked using acrylic or plastic templates. They slide . . .  but the main problem is that they include the seam allowances.

If templates with seam allowances were ever a good idea (doubtful), it stopped being smart when quilters started using freezer paper more than twenty years ago.

 

FP template plus acrylic ruler

THE “AH HA MOMENT”
Freezer paper templates without seam allowances can be matched with any of your acrylic rulers, so you can rotary cut more accurately!

People who make templates don’t tell you this, of course. They don’t want you to know our little secret.

Buying acrylic shapes makes no sense if you have freezer paper and an acrylic ruler.

The photo shows how I add seam allowances around a hexagon template when I cut (one seam allowance left to trim), but it is the same for diamonds, hexagons, triangles, kites, Cleopatra’s Fan, Double Wedding Ring—ANY shape for ANY design.

FP + an acrylic ruler can be used for ANY shape!

 

Sew along a line

Which one would you rather sew? Dot to dot or along a line?

This is my main problem with templates with seam allowances—they add extra work and make it more difficult to sew.

The sewing line is more important than the cutting line, so it makes no sense to use templates with seam allowances. They are not designed to let you mark sewing lines on the fabric.

Sewing “Dot to Dot” is a heart-breaker. (No wonder hand piecing gets a bad rap!)

 

How to make templates

MAKE TEMPLATES WITH FREEZER PAPER

You probably have everything you need to make templates without seam allowances, so you won’t need to buy anything. (If you feel like shopping, buy fabric. You can never have too much fabric!)

  • freezer paper
  • scissors or a rotary cutter and mat
  • an acrylic ruler (for rotary cutting) (mark the desired seam allowance with masking tape underneath)
  • a thin ruler and mechanical pencil (for marking seam lines, if required)
  • 1/2 inch strip of paper (useful for spacing templates to allow for two 0.25 inch seam allowances)

Even in countries where freezer paper is not available in grocery stores (the way it is in North America), freezer paper costs less than other templates.

That’s it! Do you have everything?

 

Window template and no seam allowance template

For Swiss cheese fussy cutting, I use a window template AND a template without seam allowances.

FP templates are great when I am fussy cutting because they make it easier to ensure that I am cutting identical shapes but I love them even when I am not fussy cutting.

In this example, I printed POTC hexagons on FP with Inklingo. You could just draw or trace the shape from the book to make these two FP shapes.

 

Window templates for fussy cutting

STEP 1 – PRINT WINDOW TEMPLATES! 

First, I print the Inklingo shapes WITH seam allowances on FP and cut it into separate windows, as many as I need.

I cut on the stitching lines with a rotary cutter (or scissors), so I get a window template AND a template without seam allowances—two for one. (I’ll share my best cutting tips in a future article.)

 

Iron FP window templates in position.

STEP 2 – FIND A DESIGN YOU WANT TO FUSSY CUT

Check to see if the design shows clearly on the wrong side of the fabric. This is the case with many fabrics and it is helpful because we prefer to iron FP templates on the WRONG side of the fabric, so we can mark the seam lines. Working on the wrong side saves an extra step when we want to mark lines on the fabric.

 

Iron FP window template

STEP 3 – PRESS THE WINDOW TEMPLATES IN POSITION

On the ironing surface, press the window templates in position over identical designs with a hot, dry iron. Repeat until you have found enough identical designs. (It is usually okay to ignore straight grain to get the right design.)

In this example, I need 4 POTC hexagons, so I have 4 window templates. That’s another advantage over acrylic shapes. I can have as many as I want on the fabric at the same time!

I have some cool template tips to share in a future article, like marking “FP” on the paper side, so you don’t mistakenly touch the plastic side of the template with a hot iron.

 

Drop FP template in opening

STEP 4 – PRESS THE TEMPLATE INSIDE THE WINDOW

Still on the ironing surface, place the FP shape WITHOUT seam allowances into the window opening and press it into position.

Each identical design is now marked with two pieces of FP, the window and the center.

 

Inklingo fussy cutting

STEP 5 – PEEL OFF THE WINDOW TEMPLATE

Still at the ironing surface, peel off the window template leaving the template without seam allowances in position. Check the points/corners to make sure they are all identical. Re-press if necessary.

This template won’t move while I cut! Love it!

 

Rotary cut around template

STEP 6 – ADD THE SEAM ALLOWANCE WHEN YOU CUT

Slide a cutting mat underneath and cut around the FP, adding the seam allowances.

I have a few cool tips to share in a future article for rotary cutting and scissors cutting, so please stay tuned!

 

Mark sewing lines.

STEP 7 – MARK THE SEWING LINES (IF REQUIRED)

Still on the cutting mat, use a mechanical pencil and a thin, flexible ruler to mark the stitching lines, crosshairs and matching marks to imitate the results you get when you print the shapes on fabric with Inklingo (below)–fine, accurate lines.

This is the method I teach in my Quilted Diamonds books (pre-Inklingo). Those books are an excellent introduction to hand piecing but the template technique applies to machine piecing too.

 

Print on fabric with Inklingo

In this example for hexagons for Patchwork of the Crosses, I want sewing lines but sometimes the lines are not necessary.

For example, if you are machine piecing and there are no inset seams, you do not have to mark any lines on the fabric.

If the design does not show clearly on the wrong side of the fabric:
If you need to mark the sewing lines the way I do for POTC and you have to work on the front to choose the designs, it takes a little more time.

After cutting the shapes, remove the template from the front of the fabric and go back to the ironing surface to press it on the wrong side of the fabric (centered), so you can mark the sewing lines. It is an extra step but totally worth it for the right fabric!

 

Sew POTC with a running stitch

Marking the seam lines is a huge advantage over acrylic, where the best you can do is mark dots through holes and then sew “Dot to Dot.” I’m an experienced piecer but D to D is doomed to disappoint!

 

plastic and punch

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL QUILT SHOP

Quilt shops like selling stuff—templates, sheets of plastic, punches, special markers, etc. but when you learn about freezer paper, you won’t need those things.

Spend money on fabric and skip the stuff you don’t need—especially anything that adds extra work.

You will be a better customer if you finish your quilt faster and buy fabric for the next one sooner.

 

Passacaglia rosette fussy cut with Inklingo

Imagine how well this works for designs like Passacaglia, where you sometimes need TEN identical shapes for fussy cutting. You can have enough FP templates for each one, not just one or two acrylic shapes to slide around.

I cut several Passacaglia photos from this looooong article but I have more to show you about fussy cutting the shapes for it in another article.

 

The best quilt templates!

TEMPLATES FOR FUSSY CUTTING

I think now you can see why I use FP templates WITHOUT seam allowances for fussy cutting—NOT shapes with seam allowances.

  • They can be ironed securely into position for greater accuracy.
  • I can have as many as I want.
  • I can have any shape, any size.
  • I can choose a wider or narrower seam allowance.
  • They make it easy to mark the sewing lines, if I need them.

 

Fussy cut POTC with Inklingo

Please don’t listen when anyone tries to tell you “You can’t fussy cut with Inklingo.”

I hear it all the time but it is NOT true. There are TWO great methods:

  1. Traditional Swiss Cheese Fussy Cutting (above)
  2. Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting (print identical sheets of fabric, similar to Stack n Whack™, etc.)

Once you know how to use freezer paper, you will never need to buy acrylic/plastic/metal shapes again—whether you use Inklingo or not.

Monkey says, “You’re welcome.”

By the way, I do not have any affiliation with freezer paper companies and I don’t sell it myself. It is just a fabulous product. I love using it and I recommend to everyone.

Freezer paper is less expensive and does more than any other template material.

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Introduction to Inklingo

This VIDEO on the Welcome to Inklingo page on the website explains how printing on fabric with Inklingo works with your ordinary Inkjet printer.

MORE FREEZER PAPER TIPS

This article got soooo long that I cut out several good tips for using freezer paper. I will share them in other articles. If you subscribe to the blog (top of right side-bar) you won’t miss anything.

ARE YOU SUBSCRIBED?

Please subscribe to the blog and follow the Inklingo Facebook page for more.

Before you go, review the list under Template Rule # 1—and then  tell your friends about freezer paper. I put that info at the top because it is so important.

I hope you will also tell your friends about the new Inklingo mystery quilt, The Case of the Diamond Necklace (COTDN). New clue coming soon!

Linda & Monkey

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New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Main Beginner’s Page  There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

$10 Coupon! 10 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

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14 Responses to “Fussy Cutting with Inklingo – Part 3”

  1. Linda says:

    What a lovely comment, Judy! Thank you. It makes me happy to think you enjoy my tutorials. Russ sometimes tells me they are too long but I want to share it all. 🙂 I hope you can manage your arthritis and keep on sewing! PS I’m going to make sure Russ sees your comment too.

  2. Judy D Zedalis says:

    I love your tutorials. I wish I made more use of them. (I am getting there) Your instructions are fabulous, I love the incredible fabrics you choose. You have made hand piecing and fussy cutting painless. Well almost painless. Arthritis still aches! lol. TY so much for all your work.

  3. Linda says:

    Thank you, Driveway Barb! I love that you are sharing your enthusiasm for Inklingo with everyone in Texas. Please say hi from me & Monkey too.

  4. Ha! I didn’t even feel like the blog post was long as I was totally engrossed in your fabulous instructions, Linda! And the cute pics of Monkey, of course. I’m sharing this with some of my favorite quilt buds…. Sally and I were just sharing yesterday about no waste fussy cutting with our small stitch group and the other two gals want to do some 6 pointed stars! They are just too fun to make! New Inklingo converts on the way! Yahoo!

  5. Linda says:

    Thank you, Betsy! I’m going to show your comment to Russ. 🙂
    He helps me proofread before I post on the blog and when he saw this one yesterday he was shocked by the length.
    I lopped and cropped as much as I could.
    I am delighted that you like it–and I have dozens of photos and several paragraphs “in the bank” for a few more articles.
    I hope you have a great weekend with time to print and sew.

  6. Betsy Cobbs says:

    Another great article, Linda!! Long is GOOD! Love using freezer paper templates for everything; but especially for fussy cutting and always with Inklingo!! Today I learned to press the “inside” of the cutout template back onto the fabric, peel off the outside and then draw the cutting lines with the ruler!! Fantastic!! You certainly think of everything to make our lives easier!! Thank you!!!!
    Am hoping to start on the COTDN mystery soon (had to order more of the focus fabric for my fussy cutting)!! Betsy

  7. Linda says:

    Thank you very much, Valerie! It is encouraging to know that you read it all. Your comment gave me a very good feeling.

  8. Linda says:

    Thank you, Annika! I’m glad you like that photo AND read all the way to the end. I think I took about 250 photos this week. Some are better than others. Monkey loves the attention.

  9. Valerie Usowicz says:

    I love the detailed articles and don’t mind if they’re long. They are very interesting and l love to learn.

  10. Annika says:

    Great, great article Linda! Very clear, and easy to read and follow until the end! Loved it 🙂
    René and I both had to laugh about the picture of Monkey peeking from behind a gorgeous fussy cut quilt block.

  11. Linda says:

    Your Pickled Ladies are sensational. I am thrilled that you have shared the photos on the Quilt Obsession blog. It is going to be a masterpiece!

  12. Linda says:

    Thank you, Donna! I have been re-working, cutting and editing this article for over a week. I just could not bear to cut any more. It is definitely my favorite template method but I was afraid no one would actually read such a long article. 🙂
    I have many photos and paragraphs left over. I am very pleased that this one not too long for you.

  13. Cathi says:

    The window templates I made in just a few minutes with the clamshell pickle collection really made the whole idea I had for the Pickled Ladies quilt oh, so achievable!!I haven’t tried the other type of Swiss-cheese fussy cutting, using a freezer paper template, but if I ever do I’ll definitely be using Inklingo to print the templates on freezer paper as I know that they’ll be completely accurate!

  14. Donna Lucas says:

    I love your ‘long’ articles! They are so interesting and packed with great techniques!

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