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.
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!
- an acrylic ruler*
- a scrap of freezer paper (FP)
- hot, dry iron (or glue stick)
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.)
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.
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 . . .
. . . 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!
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.
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!
- 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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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!
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