Quilting Tips on Freezer Paper Templates

Hand Piecing Using Freezer Paper Templates


Quilting Tips on Freezer Paper Templates. Can save you some money and teach you a lot about templates. Although slower than machine piecing, hand piecing quilt blocks allows precise sewing blocks that might be difficult to machine piece, improves hand-eye coordination used in hand quilting, and produces blocks that are accurate and true to size. Since the advent of computer quilting programs, block templates can be printed to size on freezer paper. Freezer paper templates can be ironed onto fabric and used to transfer sewing lines.

Hand piecing is portable, relaxing and it requires few materials:

 Fabric chosen for the block
 Freezer paper
 Paper scissors and/or rotary cutter (a small rotary cutter is sufficient, since only one layer of fabric needs to be cut). A small pair of scissors for cutting thread is also handy
 Mechanical pencil
 Thin ruler to draw sewing lines and rotary cutter ruler
 Hand piecing needle
 Thin cotton thread
 Sharp pins
 Iron and ironing board
 A block drawing true to size

First, one must choose the block. It can be traced on the rough side (paper side) of the freezer paper with a Quilting Tips on Freezer Paper Templatesmechanical pencil or printed on a computer’s printer. If feeding the freezer paper onto a computer’s printer, make sure the rough side of the freezer paper is placed so the ink will print on that side. Once printed, mark grain line, outside edges’ pieces, or any other marks that will help you put the block together again.

Then, cut the freezer paper pieces apart with your paper scissors. Using scissors to cut paper dulls the blades somewhat, so never use your fabric scissors to cut paper. Get the iron set on “cotton” with no steam. Place the template pieces on the wrong side of the fabric with the shiny side of the freezer paper facing the wrong side of the fabric. Use the hot iron to adhere the paper templates to the fabric, placing them so there is one half inch between them, to allow space for seam allowances. Once fabric cools down use the mechanical pencil and a thin ruler to mark the sewing lines right next to the paper template, extending the lines a little past the intersections, as to have cross hairs on the edges. Mark lightly, just enough to be able to see the sewing line. Then use the rotary cutter or the fabric scissors to separate the fabric pieces, measuring one quarter inch from the sewing line to the cutting line (seam allowance).

Lay the fabric pieces with the templates still attached, arranged to match the block layout. Pick them up as you go to sew them together.
The fabric is ready to be sewn then. You can leave the freezer paper templates adhered to the fabric or remove them before sewing, whichever is easier for you. Use the pins to join the pieces to be sewn right sides together, by placing one at the beginning, one at the end and as many as needed on the sewing line, matching the sewing lines, placing theQuilting Tips on Freezer Paper Templates first and last pins right at the intersection of the sewing lines. Thread your needle –a sharp works well, whichever size feels comfortable to you- with the cotton thread. Thin thread reduces bulk, size 60 weight cotton is ideal. Thread the needle with the end that comes out of the spool, then cut it. Make a small knot at the tail end and bring the needle about one eight of an inch from the cross hairs at the beginning of the seam line. Back-stitch to the cross hairs and start sewing on the pencil line with a small, even line of running stitches. After three or four stitches, tug slightly and make a back-stitch. Make sure the stitches lay on or right above the pencil line –doing so will ensure the block will be stitched true to size-d. Continue sewing the seam until you get to the end of the sewing line. Stitch all the way to the cross hairs, then make a few back-stitches right on the stitches you’ve already made and cut the thread leaving a very short tail, to avoid shadows, more so if your fabric is light colored.

Quilting Tips on Freezer Paper Templates

Quilting Tips on Freezer Paper Templates

Figure out a logical piecing sequence. For instance, if sewing a four patch, stitch the short seams on two squares, to make two units, then sew the two units together to create the block. Do not catch the seam allowances when sewing units together. One of the advantages of hand piecing is the fact that seams are not stitched down, so they can be ironed to reduce bulk, opening them as needed.
Finger press the seams as you finish stitching them, but wait to press the block until you have finished piecing it. If the block is small or if it has a lot of pieces, the seams can be graded (top seam allowance trimmed down to 1/8 inch) to remove bulk and allow the block to lay flat. It’s best to grade the seams after the quilt top is totally sewn. Grading also allows easier hand quilting, if the quilting lines are going to intersect with seams.

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