How to Use a Quilting Template

Learn how to use a quilting template from quilting expert Cathy Izzo in this Howcast video.

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What's better on a winter's night than a cozy quilt? Learn how to make one yourself with these quilting videos. Led by quilting expert Cathy Izzo, they teach you everything from how to design your quilt (or use a quilting template) to how to miter the corners. You'll soon be ready to test your skills on the best quilt of all -- a baby quilt.

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Today I'm going to show you something about templates. We don't use templates as much as we used to because of the wonderful invention of rotary cutters, but there are times when you're going to need a template because you have an odd shape, like this tumbler shape right here. So, very simply, the way to do it is put it on the wrong side of your fabric, hold it down, and draw around it with a pencil. Keep the point of the pencil sharp so that your line is thin. And then you've got your odd shape. You would cut these out with a scissors. Use sharp scissors all the time because it makes life very easy. And you would eyeball a quarter of an inch seam allowance. And templates like this are usually used for hand sewing because you'll be sewing on the line that you drew. And that's your first template. It's pretty easy on light fabric like this one. If you have dark fabric, a little more difficult, but still we have tools for that. You take your template. The nice thing about a clear template is you can fussy-cut. You can pick a section of the fabric that you really want to use, place it over that, use a white pencil on dark fabric. It shows up really well. And you do the same thing. Just mark your lines and cut around it. So, that's for hand sewing. You would sew on the line and eyeball the seam. If you wanted to rotary cut your fabric because you were going to machine sew, you would use a template like this or this, and you can see they come in different shapes. These are hexagons. These are diamonds. There's all kinds of templates you can get for just about any shape you can imagine. So, if you were rotary cutting, you just carefully go around the edge. And what I would do is cut the fabric out so that I could move it. And then you can slide it just to make life easier. And there's your hexagon. Those are some tips about using templates on light fabric, dark fabric, hand-piecing, and rotary cutting from machine piecing.

Expert

  • Cathy Izzo

    A former network television executive turned obsessive quilter, Cathy opened The City Quilter, now one of the best-known quilt shops in the U.S. With more than 4,000 fabrics, hundreds of books, patterns, kits and notions, Bernina sewing machines, and 150-plus different classes each year, this Manhattan store serves the needs of quilters and sewers around the world. Unique to The City Quilter is the "City Collection" of New York-themed fabrics that it developed and sells exclusively.