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Using Quilt Templates and Specialty Rulers to Cut ...

Using Quilt Templates and Specialty Rulers to Cut Fabric

I have a few basic rulers in my sewing studio….ok maybe more than a few.  Most of them are the typical sized square or rectangle, but from time to time I like using quilt templates or different sized rulers when cutting fabric.

There is something nice about not having to come up with a certain angle– or size, or whatever.   It’s not that I can’t figure the math out, it’s just nicer when you have a ruler that takes care of it all!

using a quilt template for cutting fabric

There are a lot of different cutting rulers or quilt templates out there.   They come in all different shapes and sizes.  Some are rectangular, square, triangle.  Some are for making dresden plates, flying geese, or simply squaring up a half square triangle.

I am one to pick up a notion and then I have no idea how to use it!  I am pretty sure for the most part that you are smarter than I and understand what to do {isn’t that why you bought it in the first place?} but for me…. a little instruction goes a long way.

cutting fabric with templates and rulers | patchwork posse | easy sewing projects and free quilt patterns

Hints and Tips for Specialty Rulers:

*  All of these rulers come with measurements.  Make sure you pay attention to what they are divided into. Some rulers and marked at half, or one, or quarter inches.  Also— what measurement does the ruler end on?  I have found myself cutting away happy until I look at the end of the ruler to see that the last measurement is a half!  Trimming that same fabric up to take that half inch off was a killer– worse, I might have had to start over with some off sized strips left over!

* Expect that there will be some fabric wasting.  These rulers are ‘special’.  They help you cut out the perfect shape…no matter what it is and be able to repeat cutting that perfect shape no matter how many times you cut it out.  Because of this and the odd shape that the rulers come in, there will be times when you are tossing out a bunch of weird shaped triangles, smalle squares, odd shapes of whatever.  If you want, you can put them into a scrap bag to use later when you need little bits for applique or other projects.

* Write down or read the instructions.  Sometimes we buy rulers because our best sewing friend told us to.  We take it home, set it aside and we really have no idea what to do with it when we find it again.  Write down the instructions before tucking it away!  Tape it to the ruler so when you pull it out, you’ll know just what to do.  Find a place to keep all ruler instructions together.

*  Use the ruler.  Use it right when you get it.  You’ll remember better what to do with it.  Also- If you have a specific pattern that goes with the ruler, make sure you pair them up when storing them so they are easily found and used.

*  Ask before you buy.  Don’t just jump to the counter and purchase the next best thing in rulers.  Ask around.  What do your friends say?  Borrow one at a sewing retreat or sewing group.  Give it a spin before you commit.  Sometimes you think you’ll love it, but after using it a few times, it just doesn’t do what you want it to do.

Here are a few non-specialty ruler helps….just in case you aren’t ready to commit to purchasing one yet. 

plastic applique templates dresden plate how to make your own template| patchworkposse | easy sewing projects and free quilt tutorials

pre-k patchwork Quilting 101 Series | patchwork posse #quilting #sewing #tutorials

Q & A-  What rulers are in your sewing studio?  Do you have a favorite?  How do you use them?  Start the discussion in the comments-

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  1. Robyn

    13 October

    I love the new Corner Beam ruler. Wow! so easy. Also the Creative grid pineapple, log cabin, and hexie. Taking quilting to another level

  2. Phyllis

    13 October

    Love the shape/cut ruler, easy angle, tri recs, 12 1/2 inch ruler and 6 x 24 ruler.

  3. Ann

    13 October

    The only specialty template I have is the dresden plate blade template and I love it. I have used it three times in the last two years. I like to made small wall hangings with it now, but someday I will make a dresden plate quilt top.

  4. Gwen

    14 October

    I love the block lock ruler for squaring up half square triangles. Makes the squaring up easy peasy

  5. Laura B

    14 October

    Good tips on quilting rulers. I have quite a collection because one time while visiting an antique mall, I came across a whole stash of them, all being sold for $3-5. Woohoo! Paydirt! A couple of chips and broken corners, but otherwise in excellent shape. Actually, my shopping buddy spied them first. He works in a sign shop and is always on the lookout for a good straight edge to use at work. I absolutely forbade him to even consider the idea. They were mine for quilting. I haven’t used them all (yet), but some of them have certainly come in handy. I’ve had to google the instructions for some of them, but eventually I’m sure I’ll figure out how to use them all.

  6. Becky

    14 October

    you are one lucky gal! Congrats on the find and for scoring them before they could be taken from someone else 🙂

  7. Becky

    14 October

    I do have that ruler– just picked it up this year. I love it!

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