My current project calls for the use of a template as part of the main blocks.
There a two main ways to use templates.
The first is to just use paper and a ruler. I purchased my Storm At Sea pattern online as a downloadable pattern so I was able to print it at home. When you print a pattern with templates, it is important to make sure your printer settings are such that the page is printed at 100% and NOT scaled to fit the page.
Once I cut out my template and the appropriate sized strip of fabric, I aligned the template according to the directions. I then set my ruler to the edge of the paper and used my rotary blade to cut. It is important to make sure you don’t cut the paper, otherwise your template will no longer cut the correct dimensions.
Because this is a pretty simple template, this is the method I used for this particular project and I was able to cut my pieces fairly quickly.
The other method to use templates is to use a piece of translucent plastic. This material is available at most craft stores as well as on Amazon.
For this method, I cut out the template from the paper and placed it on the plastic. Then I traced it with a permanent marker. Using an X-Acto knife and ruler, I cut along the marking lines. Do not use your rotary blade to cut the plastic! You will damage the blade and they are not cheap.
When the plastic is cut, it is then aligned to the fabric and cut either with a rotary blade or traced and cut by hand with fabric scissors.
This pattern calls for only one template so it is fairly easy to create and use. A variation on this method is to glue the paper template to the plastic as seen below. If a pattern calls for more than one template, this would allow me to keep the templates organized. Some patterns have pieces that require cutting by hand. With these types of templates, you must take grain direction into consideration. This is why I glue my paper templates onto the plastic. As you can see in the photo, the arrows act as a guide so I always know where to place the template on the fabric.
For this template variation, once the template is placed on the fabric, it is then traced with a pencil or other marking tool and cut by hand with fabric scissors. My Halloween quilt used this template method (the pieces above are for the upper middle block). It is a lot more time consuming but part of the love of quilting is enjoying the process involved.