I’m all for anything that makes my patchwork and quilting easier. I’m MUCH more likely to start a project if I think it will be easy and I’ll see a quick finish! So when I was offered some acrylic templates for cutting patchwork quilt pieces a few weeks back, I jumped at the chance to try them.
These lovelies come from All Things Acrylic, an Etsy store started after Eric started making templates for his mother in law. Now I figure any guy who starts a business for quilters after helping his MIL has got to be a good guy and I have been impressed. I was expecting a couple of templates to play with but instead received enough to inspire me to make half a dozen quilts – and some bow ties! Yes, there is a template specifically for cutting the shape to make bow ties with a tutorial on Instructables. Awesome!
Anyway back to the templates…
I immediately knew the hexagon template would help me finish a WIP (work in progress) that I had in my stash. I started stitching these hexagon stitcheries last year sometime and shared them over a couple of months:
But somehow I got stalled on the last couple and put them aside. This past week I finished the last one – waiting outside Physie classes – as you do! – and moved on to creating a quilt with the finished hexagons plus some extra hexagons cut with my new template.
The quilt is not quite finished ready to show you but I wanted to give you some tips for using the templates anyway.
Templates can be made from cardboard or template plastic but these acrylic templates are well worth the investment. They are thicker, sturdier and provide a much more solid edge to run your rotary cutter along as you are cutting. They can be used over and over, and with care should last for a VERY long time.
They have the seam allowance built-in and tiny holes so you can mark the junction points. Use a sharp pencil or pen to mark the junction points – just leave the template in place and pop the pencil through the holes in the corners.
You will want to mark the points on the wrong side of the fabric as that is what you can see when you are sewing your pieces together.
When you are sewing your hexagons, you will sew from dot to dot for perfect accuracy and no stitches in the seam allowance. This means you will be able to iron your seams flat or trim them without snipping any threads.
Some patchwork pieces can be tricky to pin for sewing, for example, the Drunkards Path pieces that have a quarter circle piece and a matching corner curved piece. When you are matching up these kind of tricky pieces, put the pin through the junction point of each piece to match them together. Then add pins around the curve starting in the centre of each curve to help hold them in place while you carefully sew.
I invested in a smaller rotary cutter to cut my hexagons and it certainly made it easier. A smaller cutter will come in handy for cutting curves too so it was worth my little trip to the shops!
Something I will be adding to my templates is some small non-slip dots. I have these on my larger quilt rulers and they stop the ruler from sliding around as you are cutting. I must find some more.
If you are cutting a bunch of hexagons from the same fabric try strip cutting:
1. Cut a strip of fabric the width of your hexagon template.
2. Line up the template on one end of the strip.
3. Trim off the small triangles left on the end of the fabric.
4. Without moving the template then trim the opposite side of the hexagon.
5. Move your template along the strip to cut the next shape.
You could also fold your strip to cut multiple hexagons at once.
All Things Acrylic on Etsy has a good collection of templates in various sets and pieces. Eric can also create custom templates for you. The finish on these is excellent – no rough edges to snag the fabric or your hands – and the markings are clear and accurate.
Although his shop is based in the U.S., he does ship around the world so ask about the cost of shipping to your country. My parcel certainly arrived here in Australia in a couple of weeks and safely packaged to avoid damage.
Update: Eric doesn’t currently have any acrylic templates listed in his store so I would also recommend these Marti Michel templates as an alternative.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by All Things Acrylic and I was gifted some templates to sample. I love supporting small crafty businesses in this way, and only write about items that I think are good quality and of interest to Crafty Mummy readers. All opinions and copy are my own based on my use of these products and my discussions with the owner. There are also a couple of affiliate links to Amazon in this post in case you want to check out products I mentioned available there.