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Thread: How do you use a template with a rotary cutter?

  1. #1
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    How do you use a template with a rotary cutter?

    I've read through the archives looking for ideas about using templates with my rotary cutter, but am still left with questions.
    What I want to know is how others handle templates when cutting pieces. When cutting shapes for applique, I pin my pattern to the fabric and use scissors to cut around it. But, when cutting odd shapes with straight edges, I'd like to use my rotary cutter. Then I begin to run into problems with the pattern moving as I reposition my ruler. Do you use tape to hold templates in place? I can't imagine gluing to the fabric, but must confess to being tempted. Tracing doesn't seem to solve the problem but instead adds the inaccuracy of line thickness and ink or other substance on my fabric.
    I think I'm stuck somewhere in my past life of sewing clothing and all that cutting out of patterns! Mostly the templates I use are paper with the pattern printed on it that I then cut around. Pinning doesn't work because the pin then interferes with the ruler.
    Barbara

    Samuel Johnson - Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed, not by strength but by perseverance.

  2. #2
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    I just watched a fons and porter show that adressed this. They put a small cutting mat on a large one...cut 2 sides and then turned it to cut 2 more. The other thing they did was use a glue stick to hold a template in place - the thin kind you can make yourself. I also have heard of gluing fine grade sandpaper to the template - that helps hold it in place and not slip - have not tried any of this, but it sounds good.

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Sandpaper ... you can buy dots of it in the hardware store. Saves cutting and glue already there.

    Perhaps some 2-sided tape on your template?

    I don't use paper templates, though when I have had templates in acrylic, a small rotary cutter zips around the edges pretty quick.

    If they are templates you'll use a lot, for a very low cost, a glass cutting shop could cut them easy enough for you. Mine puts a hole in them, so I can easily string all together that are a set.

    I've also heard of folks using old tupperware lids, or yogurt lids, etc. to cut out templates, so they have something more substantial than a piece of paper .... that I'd soon cut it up with the rotary cutter!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  4. #4
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    You have for more patience than I!!! I have several templates and tried to do a Dresden Plate but gave up after the inaccurate cuts. I love quilting so far, but I dread "cutting" so I decided to splurge on the AccuQuilt go. I hope this works better for me if not I guess I will give up quilting!!
    Merry Christmas!!
    Lisa

  5. #5
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    I take tape and wrap it so that the sticky side is out and tape the ends together (hope that makes sense). Then I put them between the template and the fabric. When it stops sticking, I just make more til I'm done.

  6. #6
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    Does anybody draw around templates and cut out shapes with scissors anymore?
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  7. #7
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    Trace your template onto the paper side of freezer paper. The shiny side of freezer paper can be temporarily fused to the fabric with your iron. The rotary ruler should be able to be either placed right at the edge of the shape for rotary cutting or on the 1/4 inch mark on the ruler and cut to add the seam allowance. The template can then be peeled off and used a few more times before it loses it's stickiness. I think this would be your best bet on a template that wouldn't shift as you cut. Good Luck!

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    if i have a template, i tape it to the ruler and then place and cut... this includes one strip and multiple strips...for instance, when cutting the windmill...i sewed the 'blade' fabric in a strip to the 'sky' fabric and then marked the template with the line where they were sewn together.... tape face up (so you can see thru the ruler) to the ruler and then line up line with seam...cut and done....the 8 seam block just became a 4 seam block... love it!!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member barb55's Avatar
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    That is what I do .You can see through the tape but can't the sandpaper.

    Quote Originally Posted by yngldy View Post
    I take tape and wrap it so that the sticky side is out and tape the ends together (hope that makes sense). Then I put them between the template and the fabric. When it stops sticking, I just make more til I'm done.
    Barb

  10. #10
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    Trace your template onto the paper side of freezer paper. The shiny side of freezer paper can be temporarily fused to the fabric with your iron. The rotary ruler should be able to be either placed right at the edge of the shape for rotary cutting or on the 1/4 inch mark on the ruler and cut to add the seam allowance. The template can then be peeled off and used a few more times before it loses it's stickiness. I think this would be your best bet on a template that wouldn't shift as you cut. Good Luck!
    I also agree with Tartan, the freezer paper works great on both straight edges and cut with a rotary cutter or for a template that has curves and is cut with scissors, and can be reused a number of times
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  11. #11
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    What type of templates are you talking about? Paper, 1/4" acryllic, or template plastic?

    I have used sandpaper dots, glue stick, invisigrip all with success on the acryllic templates.

    I am also fortunate that there is a plastics company here that will cut acryllic templates for me ... so I don't use paper or plastic template sheets.

    For applique I have used freezer paper ... but I mostly do machine applique anyway.

    No matter what type of template I use I use a rotary cutter as it is so much quicker and easier.

    I also have a Third Hand - something like a square Brooklyn Revolver but it has a clamp that goes up and over and down in the center of the rotating base which then holds the template and material together while I cut. I love it. Just don't know if it is being made anymore or not.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  12. #12
    Super Member Arleners's Avatar
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    I put just a spritz of basting spray on the template. It sticks to the fabric and pulls away easily. I must admit, I don't let the project sit, I only do it if I can cut and peel right away. I don't know if time would make the paper stick too well to be peeled back.

    The other thing is use freezer paper with the shiny side down and press it onto the fabric. You can buy freezer paper cut into 8 1/2 x 11 pieces so they feed through the printer.
    Arlene

  13. #13
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deemail View Post
    if i have a template, i tape it to the ruler and then place and cut... this includes one strip and multiple strips...for instance, when cutting the windmill...i sewed the 'blade' fabric in a strip to the 'sky' fabric and then marked the template with the line where they were sewn together.... tape face up (so you can see thru the ruler) to the ruler and then line up line with seam...cut and done....the 8 seam block just became a 4 seam block... love it!!!!
    This fascinates me but I just can't visualize what you mean. Are you talking about using two rulers?
    Barbara

    Samuel Johnson - Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed, not by strength but by perseverance.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ChaiQuilter's Avatar
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    I purchased a weight. It is five inches tall by 3 inches wide and is a cylinder. I put it on the template and it keeps the fabric from moving. I also use it when cutting strips, etc., off the large pieces of fabric.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryMo View Post
    Does anybody draw around templates and cut out shapes with scissors anymore?
    I DO!!!...still the ONLY way to get accurate cuts...if you don't have a die cutter that is!

  16. #16
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    one thing you need to know is that your rotary cutter might be TOO big for the job...get a smaller one and try that..I prefer the 18mm one, it gets around tight corners and points much easier. I also just sand paper dots on the templates!

  17. #17
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    Spray a small amount of 505 spray on the back of the template and it will not move around on your fabric and can be used over and over without having to apply anymore.

  18. #18
    Senior Member neeng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryMo View Post
    Does anybody draw around templates and cut out shapes with scissors anymore?

    Yup, do it all the time.
    This fabric would be just perfect for a....

  19. #19
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I too have been wondering the same thing. Here's a tutorial I just found. http://winnowings.blogspot.com/2011/...ecing-101.html

  20. #20
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    I photocopy my template onto freezer paper, iron it onto my fabric and cut it out with sissors. This just seems to work best for me.
    Fabric is like money, no matter how much you have it's never enough.

  21. #21
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    Don't try to cut around paper templates or thin templates with a rotary cutter. If you don't lose a finger, you will shear the edges off your templates so that they are not accurate any more. Best thing to do is to place a rotary cutting rule over the top of your template, along the edge and cut accordingly if you haven't got an acrylic template to cut around. All the best with your projects.

  22. #22
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Watch a Marti Michelle video or take some classes. She uses templates with engineered corners and the pieces fit together beautifully. I've been taking some classes and there's a learning curve to it but once you get the hang of it, they're wonderful! What it basically consists of is that you lay your template on the edge of your fabric then lay a long ruler next to it. Move the template up and down your fabric a couple of times until you're sure that the long ruler is straight and the width you want. Remove the template and cut. Then use the template on the strip of fabric that you just cut.
    If no one ever experimented we'd all still be making 4 patches.

  23. #23
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    There is a clean film that you can buy to put on the back of all your rulers and templates. it would really well. I have also bought the little sandpaper dots that stick on the back of them. They both work really well.

  24. #24
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    In a pinch, I have used clear nail polish on the back of the template. Allow to dry very well, then use to cut.

  25. #25
    Super Member catmcclure's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b.zang View Post
    I've read through the archives looking for ideas about using templates with my rotary cutter, but am still left with questions. Mostly the templates I use are paper with the pattern printed on it that I then cut around. Pinning doesn't work because the pin then interferes with the ruler.
    When I'm cutting small templates I tape them onto the fabric. I use the wide mailing tape. You trim around the template so the tape only makes it marginally thicker with each use. The tape will easily peel off the leftover fabric pieces.

    When I'm cutting small templates from small leftover pieces I take the templates AND the fabric to the cutting board. That way the shapes I cut are all exact. Tape peels off the cutting board easily.

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