Friday, November 18, 2011

Templates & Piecing 101 -- tutorial

 I received an e-mail from a disappointed customer yesterday. She said, “I decided to try the pattern. It doesn’t work. I went to a friend’s for help – she does paper piecing all the time. She couldn’t figure it out either. I made the separate pieces ... When I sewed A & B & C together it doesn’t come out like a boot.”

Oh dear. The pattern in question is called Dancing Boots. It is template pieced, not paper foundation pieced. There isn’t much information on the internet about making quilt templates and basic piecing. (I do have my Quick Stick & Rotary Cut up on the web.) But there isn't much that’s easy to find. I thought I’d better make a boot and take step-by-step photos. It’s pretty basic stuff and you can skip it if you are an experienced quilter.

Templates are found in quilting magazines, books, or packaged patterns. They are usually black and white drawings with two lines around the edges – one the sewing line, the other the cutting line. Make copies of the templates you need (keep the originals in a safe place). Rough cut around your copied templates. You will use them to cut out your fabric patches for quilting. Here are my paper templates arranged on some fabric ready to cut the patches. (You can click on any of the photos to see more detail.)

 The paper templates are stuck onto the fabric with sticky tape on the non-printed side. I use rolled pieces of transparent tape, but you could use double sided sticky tape. Put the tape pieces in the corners and here and there along the sides.
 Line up your see-through ruler along the outside cutting line (on a self-healing cutting surface). Use your rotary cutter to cut on this line.

When all your templates are cut, keep the paper stuck to them until you arrange them for sewing (following the piecing diagram). It is sometimes hard to tell one fabric patch from another similar one unless you have a guideline.
 Pull off the paper templates and arrange the fabric patches in the order you are going to sew them together.
 Sew the first two logical fabric patches together on your machine using a ¼ inch seam. For the Dancing Boot "standing boot" sew patch C to patch B. Press the seam to one side after sewing. Press all your seams as you go.
 Sew your combined C and B to patch D. This begins the leg portion of the boot. Press seam.
 Sew patch A to E.
 Sew the two boot leg strips together. Press the seam.
Sew patches G and F to the two top corners of the boot leg strip. Press seams.
 Sew patch H across the top of the boot leg assembly. Press seam.
 Sew patch J to I to assemble the toe section of the boot. Press seam.
 Sew the leg section to the toe section to finish the block. Press all seams to flatten the block. The complete block should be 9 ½ inches by 9 ½ inches because there are ¼ inch seam allowances all around the sides. The finished block will be 9 inches when it is sewn into a quilt.
I had such a good time making the standing boot (it was years ago I made the first ones for a quilt) that I sewed up a kicking boot. The kicking boot is a little harder to put together than the standing one. Now I have two boots in red and green for Christmas.

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Blogger BrendaLou said...

thanks for the great tutorial! As a quilt designer myself, the words you dread..."it doesn't work, it's wrong!" And 99 times they misunderstood a measurement or didn't follow the directions! I'm sure your patterns are always perfect.

5:20 PM  

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