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  • Ellen

Tips & Tricks: Hand piecing - Making templates

Almost all of my quilts are entirely hand pieced (and hand quilted, but more about that some other time).

Hand piecing might be a bit slower than machine piecing but it's so relaxing and fulfilling!


It all starts with... (you know me already, haha!) good preparations! :)


So lets dive a little deeper into how I make my templates.

Please note that there are many different ways and materials to make templates.  This is how I do it and how I like it best. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

Making templates


1. Whether I'm using templates from a pattern or templates I've drawn on graph paper, I always rought cut them, leaving some extra paper around the actual shape of the template. If I cut directly on the line, I will have trouble cutting them to the exact shape later on.


2. I use a glue stick to glue the templates to the back of a sheet of sand paper. Sand paper avoids that the template from sliding when you trace it onto your fabric. You can get sand paper very cheaply at your local DIY store.


3. I now cut the templates exactly on the line. Notice that because there's some extra paper around the shape, I can clearly see where to cut. If I would have cut on the line in step 1, I wouldn't be able to cut this precise anymore.

Tracing templates onto your fabric


4. Place the template onto the back of your fabric. Ideally you place the fabric onto a cutting mat or a sheet of sand paper

to avoid sliding.


5. Trace the template with a thin pencil line. I use a refillable lead pencil or a white pencil for darker fabrics. Make sure to hold the tip of the pencil to the template, to avoid drawing your template too large.


6. Sand paper templates will not last forever. If you need to trace a template several times make sure to watch your corners!

If they start to get blunt, you need to make a new template.

Still, I prefer the sand paper over template plastic as the latter is very slippery and more difficult to cut.

Cutting your fabrics


7. I eyeball a 1/4" (0,5 cm) seam allowance, but of course you can measure and draw it if you feel more confident doing that.

Remember, for machine piecing an exact seam allowance is key, but for hand piecing, you will focus on the sewing lines that are drawn onto the back of your fabrics, so it doesn't really matter if your seams aren't exactly the same width. You can cut them to the right width later.

Have you tried making your templates this way before?


In a next post, we'll dive into pinning the fabrics, so make sure to keep an eye on our blog!

Happy quilting!


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