Every now and then I want to make a quilt that uses shapes with angles that are not marked on my quilting rulers.
|My Clear Skies quilt from 2013, from the pattern Kyoto Garden by Judy Martin in her book Stellar Quilts.|
I'm not a fan of tracing paper templates onto fabric and cutting out the shapes with scissors. If instead I trace around a paper shape with a rotary cutter, I tend to end up with a gradually smaller template as I accidentally shave a little off the template, which is also problematic. However, as long as the shape doesn't involve curves, there's an easier way, as I learned from Judy Martin's book Stellar Quilts when I made the quilt above seven years ago. I can tape the template to my ruler and use the straight edge of the ruler to rotary cut a nice, clean edge.
To demonstrate, I'll use the templates shown below from my Stellar Breeze pattern. You could also use specialty rulers for this particular shape, but not everyone has the budget for those. Plus, once you figure out this technique, you can use it for other templates that may not have a ruler substitute.
Pairing paper templates with a ruler
Step 1: Make sure that the template has been printed to the required size. In my patterns, and many others, template pages include a plain square as a size reference and the pattern specifies what size the square should be. Use a quilting ruler to check that the square is the right size. If it is, then the rest of the printing on the page should be as well.
Step 2: Carefully cut out the templates. I use my rotary cutter and a quilting ruler lined up with one side at a time to get clean, straight cuts.
I'm going to demonstrate first with the G/H template shown above.
Step 3: Use a fabric strip cut to the width specified in the pattern. Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, and square up the cut end of the folded strip. Keep the strip folded. Place the template on the strip at the cut end. In this case, the left side and bottom edges can line up with the left and bottom edges of the fabric strip.
Step 4: You can now see that the long diagonal is the edge you'll want to cut. Tape the template to the underside of a quilting ruler, with the template's long diagonal flush with one edge of the ruler.
Step 5: Place the ruler over the fabric strip, lining up the template with the fabric again as you did in Step 3.
Step 6: Use your rotary cutter to cut along the long side of the template.
Step 7: To cut a second piece, rotate the ruler and line up the template with the previous cut...and discover that the side of the template where you need to cut to complete the next piece is in the middle of the ruler. You just can't make that cut this way.
You could remove the template and reposition it, but unless these are the only two pieces you need, you'll be reposition things a lot. Instead, make a second copy of the template and continue to step 8.
Step 8: With the side you need to cut lined up flush with the edge of the ruler, tape the second template to the ruler. Just make sure it doesn't overlap the first template. I marked the second template with a large red asterisk to make it easier to keep track. Now you can line up the template with the previous cut again, and have a ruler edge where you need to cut to complete the second shape.