Why I Don’t Sell Acrylic Templates

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses

WHY I DON’T SELL ACRYLIC TEMPLATES
I still get requests for acrylic templates for POTC.  I don’t recommend them or sell them for any design.

YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS ARTICLE
It took me several days to write this because I needed to reconsider some strong language. In the end, I decided to vent. I have been holding this in for years.

The info in this article is useful whether you use Inklingo or not.

Some quilters will resist the message but it will set other quilters free—to dance along a more creative and satisfying path.

I know this article may upset some people but I needed to write it because anything less would not be true to my passion for making quilting more accessible

New subscriber? I don’t normally vent like this. I hope you will stick around to see what I post next time too.

Print on fabric

Of course, I think Inklingo is the best tool available to quilters today but even if you do not use Inklingo, you never, ever, ever need acrylic templates for any design.

I discussed how to use freezer paper with acrylic rulers in Live Video 08 but I don’t think I was blunt enough:
Knowing what I know, it would be disrespectful to sell acrylic templates.

My mission is making quilting more accessible for everyone and there is an inexpensive, more useful alternative that gives you the freedom to make ANY design. You don’t need acrylic or Inklingo!

How to make templates

You probably already have everything you need, above. (No affiliation.)

Since the introduction of rotary cutters in the early 1980s, designers have promoted acrylic templates for absolutely everything. At first glance, it looked like a big upgrade from using cereal box cardboard and it has proven to be an easy way for designers to make a little money. Unfortunately it does not benefit quilters.

Many of the businesses that sell acrylic templates have talented designers who create wonderful designs and write excellent instructions, so it baffles me that they continue to promote acrylic. They can do better.

In fact, acrylic templates have been promoted so heavily that some quilters automatically assume they need them for every quilt. However, acrylic templates are one of the worst tools available to quilters. A few illustrations make it obvious.

Add seam allowances when you cut

I recommend using freezer paper templates in the FINISHED size. Add the seam allowance when you cut the fabric with a rotary cutter OR scissors.

SO MANY ADVANTAGES!
Working in the FINISHED size makes every step easier, including designing. In fact, it allows you to make templates in any shape, any size. It also makes the cutting and sewing easier.

Anything you can draw (or print) on freezer, you can cut apart and put together again.

A drawing of the complete block is all you need. Be creative. Draw it. Trace it. Print it. Your choice. Add or remove lines to suit your own style.

Freezer paper templates are inexpensive, flexible, available on the spot. No need to pay postage and wait for a piece of plastic to be delivered.

You can have ANY shape, any time, anywhere, right now. All you need is freezer paper and one acrylic ruler.

How to use freezer paper templates

ROTARY CUT
Cut single layers OR cut several layers at a time, as demonstrated in Live Video 08.

When you press freezer paper with a hot, dry iron, it sticks temporarily to fabric—no sliding. (If you cannot use an iron for some reason, use temporary Glue Dots, which are also demonstrated in that Live Video.)

Each template can be used over and over and over and over again.

You can write on freezer paper templates, store them in envelopes, and have as many as you want. They can be enormous or tiny.

As if that were not enough, there is another huge advantage of working with the shape in the FINISHED size—it makes it easy to mark the sewing lines (if required), which is much easier and more precise than trying to sew “dot to dot.”

It is the sewing line that is important. 

Adding drilled holes to acrylic templates is what Monkey calls a “gratuitous invention” or a “negative improvement.” Acrylic templates created the problem. Drilling holes does not solve it.

Window template and no seam allowance template

Fussy Cutting is fabulous with freezer paper templates. No more peering through thick plastic that wants to slide.

Have as many templates as fussy flowers to be cut, not just one to move around. I have written detailed instructions for fussy cutting with freezer paper templates several times on the blog, so I won’t repeat it here.

FP template plus acrylic ruler

VARIABLE SEAM ALLOWANCES
With freezer paper templates, YOU decide on the amount of seam allowance you want. The width is entirely up to you, so when you are sewing tiny pieces, you can use less than 0.25 inch and in other cases, you might want something wider than 0.25 inch.

WANT TO USE SCISSORS?
Acrylic templates are intended to be used for rotary cutting, so if you want to cut with scissors, you are instructed to draw around the acrylic to mark the cutting line and use dots to mark the seam endings. Good grief!  This is the exact opposite of what you actually need.

It is better to use a template in the finished size, so you can mark the sewing lines, when required. That is what is important. You can eye-ball the seam allowance when you cut with scissors. I think you will be amazed how quickly you train your eye.

TIP  If you don’t trust yourself to cut an accurate 0.25 inch seam allowance (yet) with scissors, you can train your eye with a simple crutch. Cut a strip of masking tape 0.25 inches wide (or other width, as illustrated in Live Video 08) and place it on the fabric around the freezer paper template when you cut, moving it from one side to the next as you go.

When you have the sewing line marked, it doesn’t really matter if the seam allowances are precise. It is the sewing line that is important. 

You might be amazed by how quickly you learn to judge where to cut to get 0.25 inch, even on curves.

Free shapes to print on fabric

Of course, Inklingo has more advantages than even wonderful freezer paper templates—precision corners, matching marks, layouts that use the fabric efficiently with perfect straight grain, detailed instructions, yardage requirements for any number of shapes, downloadable, etc.

Inklingo is fabulous but when you can’t use Inklingo, use freezer paper templates! (No affiliation.)

recycle acrylic

FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR GRANDCHILDREN
If you are making heirloom quilts for grandchildren, it makes sense to think about not polluting the world they will inherit.

Now that you can see why acrylic templates are more expensive and less useful than the alternatives, you might want to get them out of your sewing room.

Please don’t just throw acrylic in the garbage because it could end up floating in the oceans for the next 1000 years. (Recycle Acrylic)

Introduction to Inklingo

Inklingo is all about making quilting more accessible but you do NOT need to use Inklingo to benefit from this information.

I always recommend starting with the Diamond Triangle Square shape collection ($20 value) because it includes the first chapter of The Inklingo Handbook (pages H5 – H48) and some great shapes to print on fabric.

Wash tub and board

You can still buy wash boards on Amazon. That doesn’t mean that is a good way to do laundry in 2018.

I have been teaching quilting with freezer paper templates since my Quilted Diamonds books (2002, 2004). It is not new but it is a fabulous method that makes quilting more accessible no matter what design you want to make.

Why does anyone still sell acrylic templates?

Acrylic rulers. Yes. 
Acrylic templates. No.

I hope you can get some freezer paper (no affiliation) and get your creative juices flowing!

NOTE
You may think I am too harsh in my assessment of those who promote acrylic for everything. They can do better.

Monkey says, So tell me how you really feel.

I say, I feel better for venting. If you want more info, please see Live Video 08. There is also a  summary of the other LIVE videos on the website. (Click on the Video tab.)

Thank you for visiting.

Linda & Monkey

[]

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! 12 Year Anniversary Special on the handbook

Inklingo on Facebook

Fussy Cutting with Inklingo – Part 3

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

[]

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

Inklingo on Facebook

FREE Templates for Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC) – Part 2

Make templates for any shape!

In Part 1, we showed you the advantages of freezer paper templates with an acrylic ruler.

It works for ANY SHAPE—triangles, hexagons, anything you can draw or print!

  • Have as many as you want!
  • They’re free! (Spend the money on fabric instead!)
  • If you lose one, you can make another one!
  • No waiting to start a project!

The advantages for FUSSY CUTTING POTC!

I find fussy cutting hexagons for Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC) difficult with acrylic templates because they slide around.

Freezer paper (plus acrylic edge) gives me more control and makes everything go faster. Once you try it, I don’t think you will bother with acrylic hexagons again!

(NOTE This article describes traditional fussy cutting, which makes Swiss cheese of the fabric. Inklingo is also perfect for No Waste Fussy Cutting when you have the right fabric!)

Once you have turned freezer paper templates into acrylic templates with your rulers, I don’t think you will need acrylic shapes for any design.

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Hexagon template for Patchwork of the Crosses

1. Print or draw the shapes on freezer paper or plain paper to make individual window templates (above).

It is an advantage to have several window templates instead of one acrylic hexagon. You will usually need 4 or 8 for POTC and 5 or 10 for Passacaglia and Ballet from Millefiori Quilts and Millefiori Quilts 2.

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Print templates for POTC

2. Prepare as many FP templates as you need.
(No seam allowances, see Part 1.)

You can use the shape from the window template or you can print the Inklingo shapes without seam allowances and rotary cut precision shapes.

ANYTHING you can draw on freezer paper can be used this way!

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Fussy Cutting identical hexagons

3. Position the window template over the first design, with the fabric draped over your ironing board. Find identical designs in the fabric and mark with additional window templates.

If the window templates are freezer paper, press with a hot, dry iron to hold in position. (Use a small piece of tape to hold the paper templates in position temporarily, if necessary.)

When you see several of them positioned on the fabric, you will get a good idea of the number of repeats available and what will be left for additional sets of identical shapes.

Depending on the design you want to fussy cut, it may not always be possible to have straight grain on two sides. As usual, handle bias gently and never use steam to press.

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Fussy Cutting identical hexagons

With this fabric, I could see the designs just as clearly from the wrong side, so I placed the fabric on the ironing board wrong side up.

You won’t always be able to do this but it is nice if you can if you are planning to use a mechanical pencil to mark the sewing lines.

I find the window more helpful than covering the design with acrylic because I can see exactly where the points and corners fall on each flower in the design.

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Fussy Cutting POTC hexagons

4. Drop the FP templates into the opening in the windows template and touch with a hot, dry iron to hold in position. Then you can remove the window templates. They can be used over and over again.

 

Rotary cut hexagons

5. Slide a cutting mat under the fabric on the ironing board and cut.
Add the seam allowance, as described in Part 1.

Hooray! You have the results you would get with an acrylic template but you did not have to pay for acrylic or wait for an acrylic template to arrive in the mail!

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Rotary cut hexagons

This has many advantages over acrylic templates:

  • You have as many templates as you need, not just one hexagon.
  • The templates don’t slip the way acrylic does, so you can be sure every hexagon is perfect.
  • You choose how wide or narrow to make the seam allowances.
  • Optional: Add the sewing lines if you wish. (Part 1)

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Print hexagons on fabric

Of course, it is easier and more precise when you print the shapes on fabric with Inklingo and rotary cut several layers at a time.

My first choice is always to print the shapes on fabric. It is faster, easier and more accurate than using any kind of template and you can sew by hand or by machine.

If you can find a fabric suitable for No Waste Fussy Cutting, you won’t need templates, but when you do need templates, I recommend freezer paper with an acrylic ruler instead of acrylic templates.

There is also a video for POTC on the Main Lucy Boston Page on the website. (You are on the blog now.)

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Introduction to Inklingo

Just in case you would like to skip templates entirely and print the shapes on fabric instead, there are step by step instructions and a new VIDEO on the Welcome to Inklingo page on the website.

Inklingo quilters spend more time sewing and less time getting ready to sew—and get better results!
Why templates?

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Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC)

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If you subscribe to the blog (top of right side-bar), you will be the first to see Part 3 of this article.

 

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC)

IN PART 3 —FIVE BONUS TEMPLATE TIPS!

Quilting doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think! You’ll get better value when you spend on fabric or a wonderful class experience!

I don’t think you will want to bother with acrylic templates once you have used freezer paper.

I would love to see photos of what you are making with Inklingo. You can browse the albums on the Inklingo Facebook page to see what other Inklingo quilters are sharing too.

 

FREE Cleopatra's Fan Design Book

REMINDER ABOUT FREE CLEO

If you haven’t ordered and downloaded the Cleopatra’s Fan Design Book (138 pages, PDF), you can still get it while it’s free!

When you can’t use Inklingo, use freezer paper!

Welcome to Inklingo! See you soon for Part 3.

Linda & Monkey

[]

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

25 Signs YOU are an Inklingo Quilter

Inklingo on Facebook

FREE Templates for Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC) – Part 1

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC)

Only one template is required for POTC blocks. It is a 90° Hexagon. All 6 sides are 1 inch. (Three other sizes are available from Inklingo.)

Since I wrote the book, several quilters have asked if I sell an acrylic template for the hexagon.

 

template for hexagons

I don’t sell acrylic templates!

However, this article explains how to make an acrylic template for ANY shape!

These templates are free because you already have everything you need in your sewing room!

Even if you need to buy freezer paper or a ruler, these are cheap acrylic templates!

*For the POTC hexagon, I prefer to use a 1 x 12 inch ruler, but you can use any other acrylic ruler. (A very big one will  be awkward.)

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Trace the hexagon on freezer paper

Trace the template onto FP (or print with Inklingo, or draw it) and cut it out.

I normally use a rotary cutter but scissors make it portable.

 

Freezer paper templates

Position the FP template on the fabric, plastic coated side down. You can make sure it stays in position by pressing it with a hot, dry iron.

The freezer paper will bond temporarily, peel off, and be ready to use over and over and over again!

(If you don’t want to use an iron, use a small dab of glue-stick on the plastic coated side to hold it in position temporarily. Once there is glue on the plastic coated side, don’t use that template with a hot iron again.)

So far this is just a freezer paper template but . . .

Rotary cut with acrylic template

. . . it it just needs the ruler to give you the acrylic edges!

Align the acrylic ruler so when you rotary cut you are adding seam allowance all the way around.

From here on, all of the tips you know for using an ordinary acrylic template are the same—except that you have more to hold onto and the templates don’t slip!

More accurate! You aren’t sacrificing any benefits and you save money.

That’s it! Isn’t this cool?

FP + acrylic ruler = acrylic template

  • Any shape!
  • Have as many as you want!
  • They’re free! (Spend the money on fabric instead!)
  • If you lose it, just make another one!
  • No waiting to start a project!
  • Never out of stock!

 

Rotary cut with acrylic template

TIP Position masking tape on the underside of the ruler to make it easy add the same seam allowance every time.

I add 0.25 inch for hand piecing (above) but you can make the seam allowance as wide or as narrow as you like. It is your choice, not the choice of whoever cut the acrylic.

I find cutting the fabric easier and more precise than with an acrylic hexagon, which can slip out of position.

 

Cut several layers at a time

You can cut several layers at a time this way, just the way you can with an ordinary acrylic template. Move the freezer paper to another 4 or 5 layers of fabric and repeat.

There are tips for using templates in another article in the Top Ten Tutes on the blog too. You will be amazed by how fast it goes!
For example:

  • use pre-cut strips
  • use a strip of paper to space the templates

PREFER SEWING LINES?

This method of making your own templates works the same way as an ordinary acrylic template that you pay for—so you don’t have sewing lines.

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Hexagons with sewing lines

Quilters who print the shapes on fabric with Inklingo know how wonderful it is to have the sewing lines, crosshairs and matching marks printed on every hexagon. It makes it faster and easier to get precise results whether you sew by hand or by machine.

However, if the shapes are not available from Inklingo (yet), or if the particular fabric is too dark on the wrong side to print, or if you are fussy cutting (Part 2, coming soon), you can mark the sewing lines manually.

  • Press the FP on the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Cut one layer at a time.
  • Use a thin, flexible ruler (not an acrylic ruler) and a mechanical pencil to mark the sewing lines.
  • Extend the lines beyond the corners, so you have crosshairs to mark the seam endings.

(I never had much luck peering at tiny dots marked through holes in an acrylic template!)

Draw the sewing lines manually

I have been using and teaching this method for fifteen years.

Marking seam lines manually is also easier than basting fabric to a template for English Paper Piecing. I do not recommend EPP for any design, including POTC. The results don’t justify the extra work.

.Print POTC hexagons on fabric

Of course, it is easier and more precise when you print the shapes on fabric with Inklingo and rotary cut several layers at a time.

Then you can sew by hand or by machine.

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How to Sew Passacaglia by Hand

This video shows how to sew Passacaglia from Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein but the same technique applies to POTC.

You don’t need to buy acrylic for Passacaglia either. Make your own acrylic templates!

There is also a video for POTC on the Main Lucy Boston Page on the website. (You are on the blog now.)

 

Make templates for any shape!

Monkey says, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that this method works for any shape like these equilateral triangles.

Anything you can draw on freezer paper can be an “acrylic” template when you use FP and an ordinary acrylic ruler—even ones with curved sides!

Using templates without seam allowances allows you to draw the complete sewing line. No more dot-to-dot!

Whether you use Inklingo or not, you don’t need to find and buy and store acrylic templates anymore. No more waiting to start a project when you use freezer paper!

Inklingo is all about making quilting more accessible. Acrylic templates never need to cost you anything.

 

Quilted Diamonds books and DVD

QUILTED DIAMONDS

My Quilted Diamonds books teach everything you need to know about hand piecing with freezer paper templates. I wrote those books and produced the two-hour lesson on DVD in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Quilted Diamonds 2 was re-printed last year and is still available.

QD books are about hand piecing but freezer paper templates are better than acrylic when you are sewing by machine too.

If it had not been for the popularity of Quilted Diamonds, I probably never would have invented Inklingo.

Once you have turned freezer paper templates into acrylic templates, I don’t think you will want to buy acrylic shapes for any design.

That’s great for everyone (except the big companies that manufacture acrylic sheets) because it leaves you more money to spend in shops on patterns, classes and fabric!

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Introduction to Inklingo

Just in case you would like to skip templates entirely and print the shapes on fabric instead, there are step by step instructions and a new VIDEO on the Welcome to Inklingo page on the website.

 

Patchwork of the Crosses

ARE YOU SUBSCRIBED?

If you subscribe to the blog (top of right side-bar), you will be the first to see Part 2 of this article: Fussy Cutting!

I would love to see photos of what you are making with Inklingo. You can browse the albums on the Inklingo Facebook page to see what other Inklingo quilters are sharing too.

REMINDER ABOUT FREE CLEO

If you haven’t ordered and downloaded the Cleopatra’s Fan Design Book (138 pages, PDF), what are you waiting for? Get it while it’s still free! Once you have it, it never expires!

In Part 2 of this article, I will show you why I prefer free templates for fussy cutting too!

Inklingo IS the quilting tool we’ve always wanted but when you can’t use Inklingo, use freezer paper!

Welcome to Inklingo!

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.

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