In Part 3, I showed you how to use Inklingo for traditional “Swiss cheese fussy cutting” and I explained Template Rule # 1:
Always use templates without seam allowances.
In Part 3, the example was Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses.
This time it is Passacaglia rosettes and I am sharing bonus tips for using freezer paper templates. (Passacaglia is the quilt on the cover of Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein.)
This is another very long article. I considered breaking it into several parts but I hope you will find it helpful to have everything in one place.
If you have been using metal, acrylic, or plastic templates with seam allowances for Passacaglia rosettes (or any design), you will love how much simpler and more accurate it is to work with templates without seam allowances!
This article focuses on fussy cutting shapes for Passacaglia rosettes but the info is helpful any time you need templates, whether you are sewing by hand or by machine.
If you haven’t used freezer paper (FP) before, I think you will be amazed by the advantages!
FP is the best template material and it costs almost nothing compared to the alternatives. There is an article about it (what it is, etc.) under the Top Ten Tutes tab (above).
You probably have everything already!
- freezer paper
- scissors or a rotary cutter and mat
- an acrylic ruler (for rotary cutting)
- 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)
- optional: highlighter marker
You do NOT need acrylic, plastic or metal templates, so this method is inexpensive and better!
Make window templates and templates without seam allowances. Both are made with freezer paper.
As I explained in Part 3, I print the shapes on freezer paper with Inklingo to make both of these templates. However, you can trace the shapes from the Millefiori Quilts book. Tracing is free. Printing is precise and fast.
(You don’t need the window template if you aren’t fussy cutting.)
There are two choices:
(1) Print the shapes with seam allowances on freezer paper (above). Chop the freezer paper into individual pentagons (above). When you cut out the center, each can be used for a window template and a template without seam allowances, so you get both from the same page.
(2) Print the window template and the template without seam allowances separately on two pieces of freezer paper (below).
CUT THE WINDOW Rotary cut on the stitching lines to accurately cut the template without seam allowances AND get a window template. It is okay to cut a little beyond the seam ending as long as the window template still holds together. Try to work in good light so the ruler does not cast a shadow. (Cut with scissors, if you prefer.)
REPAIR TIP If you cut too far (or if a freezer paper template rips), you can repair it with another layer of FP. Iron the plastic side of the damaged template to the paper side of an FP patch. (Trim to size, if necessary.) Freezer paper templates never wear out.
CUTTING TIP We use the same method for cutting paper as we use for cutting fabric. Plant the blade on the line first and then nudge the ruler into position. It improves accuracy and is safer. (See the free Diamond Triangle Square shape collection, page H28-H29 for more rotary cutting tips.)
You can cut with scissors if you prefer but if the lighting is good, rotary cutting is fast and accurate.
TIP Make enough. In this case, I have 10 window templates and 10 templates without seam allowances because I will be fussy cutting 10 pentagons. You can work with fewer but you don’t have to.
If you prefer, you can print two sheets of freezer paper, one with seam allowances (first photo) and one without seam allowances (this photo).
There are two reasons you might want to print the two templates separately.
- You might find it easier to rotary the shapes without seam allowances than to carefully carve out the window template.
- When you cut the layout without seam allowances, the matching marks are included along the seams.
CUTTING TIP This layout of pentagons (no seam allowances) can be rotary cut but it might not be obvious at first glance. Sometimes you have to examine a layout for a moment to understand where to start. For this layout, rotary cut horizontal rows first to make it easier to rotary cut the shapes apart. As usual, plant the blade on the line first and then nudge the ruler into position.
SPEED TIP You can print one sheet of freezer paper (no seam allowances), layer it with 3 or 4 unprinted sheets and rotary cut several layers at a time. It is helpful to strategically staple the sheets together, so nothing shifts while you are cutting.
Layouts of shapes without seam allowances are always included in Inklingo shape collections for the special times when you need templates.
SAVE-YOUR-EYES TIP Use a highlighter to make it easier to see the edges of the freezer paper against white background fabric. Just run the highlighter around the edges of each shape. Work on a piece of scrap paper, so you can get all the way to the edge of the template.
That is Step 1. It is all about preparing the two templates. They never wear out and they are easy to store in an envelope between uses.
Template Rule # 1 – Always use templates without seam allowances.
STEP 2 – FIND A DESIGN YOU WANT TO FUSSY CUT
The design might be an individual flower or other motif. The window template makes it easy to see what will show when the shape is sewn because it does not include the seam allowances. (One of many reasons to use templates without seam allowances!)
Check to see if the design shows clearly on the wrong side of the fabric (above). This is the case with many fabrics.
If possible, I always work on the wrong side of the fabric when I expect to mark sewing lines (below) because it saves an extra step .
STEP 3 – PRESS THE WINDOW TEMPLATES IN POSITION
On the ironing surface, press the window templates in position over identical designs until you have enough. Use a hot, dry iron. (No steam.)
It is better when you can position templates on straight grain but you can usually ignore it to get the design you want. Pentagons are always going to have some bias edges anyway.
In this example, I need 10 pentagons, so I have 10 window templates pressed on the wrong side of the fabric.
This is going to make Swiss cheese of a lot of fabric. This is one of the reasons Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting is always my first choice!
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 (above).
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! Perfect!
You can use the window template over and over and over again, so put it in a safe place.
STEP 6 – ADD THE SEAM ALLOWANCE WHEN YOU CUT
Slide a cutting mat underneath and cut around the FP, adding the seam allowances.
The highlighted edges are great when the fabric is a light color.
RULER TIP Use masking tape on the under-side of the ruler to mark the seam allowance. Position the edge of the masking tape (full width) along the appropriate line and rotary cut to trim the excess. (This is easier than fiddling with pre-cut, narrow strips of masking tape.)
SCISSORS TIP You can cut with scissors, if it is easier. With a small amount of practice, you might be surprised how easy it is to “eye-ball” an accurate seam allowance. If you are going to mark the sewing line, matches, and crosshairs (below), the seam allowances don’t have to be perfectly uniform. Otherwise, you can rough-cut a generous seam allowance and trim with a rotary cutter.
SEAM ALLOWANCE TIP If you will be sewing with a running stitch (recommended), 0.25 inch is perfect for most shapes. If you will be using English Paper Piecing, you might want to use a wider seam allowance. When you use templates without seam allowances, the width of the seam allowances is your choice.
STEP 7 – MARK THE SEWING LINES (IF REQUIRED)
Still on the cutting mat, 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.
Use a thin, flexible ruler, so you can extend the lines beyond the edge of the FP to create crosshairs. A thin ruler doesn’t cast a shadow. An ordinary mechanical pencil is fine in most cases but there are other colors available.
In this example for pentagons for Passacaglia rosettes, I want sewing lines but sometimes the lines are not necessary. If you are machine piecing a design that doesn’t have inset seams, you do not have to mark any lines on the fabric..
If the fabric design does not show clearly on the wrong side:
If you need to mark the sewing lines the way I do for Passacaglia pentagons and you have to work on the front to choose the designs, it takes a little more time because you have to move the template from the front of the fabric to the back and iron it into position again. It is an extra step but the results can be stunning with the right fabric.
In this example, the yellow diamonds are not fussy cut, so I just print those on fabric with Inklingo, rotary cut rows, stack the rows and cut several layers at a time. Ready.
The stitching lines are a huge advantage over acrylic, where the best you can do is mark dots through holes and then sew “Dot to Dot.”
This is the template method I teach in my Quilted Diamonds books (pre-Inklingo). Those books are an excellent introduction to hand piecing and the template technique applies to machine piecing too.
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—anything I can draw on freezer paper!
- I can choose a wider or narrower seam allowance.
- They make it easy to mark the sewing lines, if I need them.
Someone might try to tell you “You can’t fussy cut with Inklingo.” That is wrong!
There are TWO great methods:
- Traditional Swiss Cheese Fussy Cutting (above and Part 3 for POTC)
- Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting (print identical sheets of fabric, similar to Stack n Whack™, etc. Part 2)
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.
Freezer paper is inexpensive and does more than any other template material.
This VIDEO on the Welcome to Inklingo page on the website explains how Inklingo works with your ordinary Inkjet printer.
USE FREEZER PAPER TEMPLATES WITHOUT SEAM ALLOWANCES:
- 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 sewing lines, 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
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- How to Fussy Cut with Inklingo – Part 3 (Templates for POTC)
- How to Fussy Cut with Inklingo – Part 2 (No Waste Fussy Cutting)
- How to Fussy Cut with Inklingo – Part 1
This is an extremely long article but I think it is worth it. Freezer paper is one of the most important quilting tools available to quilters, and now you know even more about it!
Just in case you are wondering, I do not have any affiliation with freezer paper companies and I don’t sell it myself. It is a fabulous product. I love using it and I recommend all the time.
I hope you will also tell your friends about the new Inklingo mystery quilt, The Case of the Diamond Necklace (COTDN). There are seven clues so far.
Thank you for leaving comments and encouraging me to write more very long articles like this one.
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.
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