Great article on quilting templates –
As noted in previous posts, quilting templates are
shapes used to mark and cut fabric units for quilt blocks. They can also be placed on the top of the 3 layers of fabric and be used to do the actual quilting of the 3 layers together.
Quilting templates can be made out of a variety of materials – paper, cardboard, plastic, etc
. The best and most durable quilting templates are made out of clear acrylic which is often available at quilt shops, craft stores or online. To make a template from clear plastic, place the plastic over the template pattern. Then trace the pattern on to the clear plastic using a fine marker. Be sure to trace seam line markings and grain line arrows on to your template. Then cut out the traced pattern and voila – you have your template. If you’re making a template from any material that you cannot see through to trace, you’ll need to cut out the pattern, lay it on top of your paper or cardboard and trace around it – again using the finest marker you can find. Remember, precision is crucial when preparing these templates! You don’t want your templates to be even 1/4″ off – that could mess up your entire quilt block when the units don’t fit together properly.
To make quilting templates to be used in doing the actual quilting of the three layers together, freezer paper that is available at your supermarket works very well because it can be ironed on to the fabric which will deter it from moving around as you quilt. You may also be able to find sheets of this paper at quilt shops which you can run through your printer to actually print out the patterns on to the paper. Or, you can simply trace the desired pattern on to the freezer paper and cut out the templates. To use these templates, place them shiny side down on the top of the 3 layers of fabric and iron until they stick. Then quilt around the outer edge of the quilting template, being careful not to stitch on to the template. These templates can then be lifted up and reused again several times until they no longer stick to the fabric. Be careful to only iron on the templates in the immediate area you are working to avoid having the templates lift and shift in other areas, e.g., don’t iron templates on to large areas of the quilt as they may lift off and all your effort will be wasted.
You can also, of course, purchase templates online or at quilt or craft shops. But making your own templates can save you money. So why not try making your own quilting templates for your next project. Just remember to use fine markers and be as precise as possible!