Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How to Use Templates in Quilting

With the recent increased interest in quilting and other crafts, manufacturers are constantly searching for new products to make quilting easier for busy modern crafters. One of the innovations that has become a necessity is quilting templates. Usually made from sturdy clear acrylic, and designed to be used over and over again, templates make marking and cutting pieces for a quilt block a breeze.

Templates generally have seam line and other markings on them for the convenience of quilters. The best templates are laser cut to ensure exact precision for measurement.

With quilting templates, a rotary cutter, and a mat, you can cut the pieces for numerous blocks at one time.

Before templates and the use of rotary cutters, a quilter used paper patterns and cut block pieces with scissors, in much the same way that dressmakers cut patterns.

For quilters who are often cutting small pieces for blocks, cutting in this manner meant precision in measuring was very difficult. In quilting, accuracy is crucial.

One of the frustrations of quilting was making sure the pieces of the quilt block fit together, and with the old-fashioned style of cutting, it was a constant problem. But with templates all such worries are a thing of the past.

Quilting templates are available in every size and shape imaginable. Every geometric shape is represented, and you can buy a set of basic templates for squares and circles and rectangles so you always have them on hand. You can also buy sets of templates for a specific quilt block.

For instance, if your daughter is getting married and you want to make her a Double Wedding Ring quilt, you can buy a set of templates for that pattern. Or perhaps your best friend is having her first baby, a son. You want to make a quilt for him, and so you choose a set of templates for a square that looks like an airplane. The options are truly unlimited.

Beginning quilters will want to start with simple shapes such as rectangles, squares and circles. The process is simple-lay your neatly ironed fabric on the rotary mat, place the acrylic template atop it, hold it firmly and use the rotary cutter to trim around the edges. Once you get the hang of it, you can cut several layers of fabric at once. Using templates, you can spend an hour or two cutting pieces for quilt blocks, and get to the actual sewing and quilting so much faster.

Quilters may also want to take the time to browse the web or go to the library or local bookstore for books. Many quilting sites and books contain useful information about using templates, with tips and techniques listed that will make the process even easier. The quilting sites contain are often also laden with photos showing the use of templates in a step-by-step manner, which can be very helpful. Although the process of using templates is simple, there are always trade secrets that can make it even easier.

Investigate the use of templates in quilting today, and you'll find renewed pleasure in your craft.

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