(Contributed by Marje Rhine, pattern editor for American Quilter magazine)
Like many quilters, I shied away from using templates for many years. When I did use them, I tried to cut around them with a rotary ruler firmly held over the edge of the template. But this didn’t work too well and I usually ended up taking slices out of the template before I was done. Heavier duty template plastic that you can rotary cut around is nice, but when cutting through many layers the cutter can still slip and it just didn’t feel safe. So I came up with a method for making straight-edge templates (this doesn’t work with curves) that can be used for rotary cutting. The resulting patches are very accurate and I can cut the entire quilt without ruining my plastic template, or my finger.
Following are instructions for my method. In addition to the template pattern and fabric you will need:
• Template plastic or cardboard – a cereal box is about the right weight
• Add-a-Quarter™ ruler – this comes in 2 sizes, 6” or 12”
• General purpose glue stick
• Optional: restickable or repositionable glue stick
Glue the template onto a piece of paper, again using the general purpose glue stick. Make sure there is a wide margin of paper all round. Using the Add-a-Quarter ruler, cut out around the template, adding the 1/4” seam allowance to the paper around the plastic template. The lip of the ruler fits snuggly against the edge of the plastic to give an accurate 1/4”.
Rub the back of the template with restickable or repositionable glue stick. This is a non-permanent adhesive that makes the back slightly tacky so the template won’t slip on the fabric. Double-sided tape or a loop of tape might work as well.
After cutting the first pieces I always do a sewing test before cutting out the whole quilt.