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Questions about using templates

Questions about using templates

Old 05-30-2012, 11:56 AM
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The BOM that I am currently working on uses templates. I believe it is 8 per block. The designer that put it together said that originally she just had the measurements listed, e.g., cut x amount of 2 inch squares, etc, but that she felt with all of the pieces people would be less confused if she just included the templates. I think it might have been easier and faster to cut without the templates but we'll see. These are professionally made acrylic templates, all are marked very clearly including grainline. All of the pieces have the corner tips cut off. The triangles, the main center square. There is one small square that has all of the points. Here are my questions:

1. I understand that cutting the dog ears off helps to match up the pieces. When I'm sewing two half triangles together I start at the edge the way I would sew any two triangles together. However, when I open it up the block isn't completely together. Am I supposed to start at the top of the notch and then pivot to sew the rest of the triangle? I'm not sure if this makes sense.

2. Can the templates be cut using a pinking blade? I would like to have an edge without the fraying but I"m not sure if the pinking blade will give enough room to cut acurrately. Has anyone tried this?

This is a pretty involved quilt and I want to make sure that I am doing everything correctly to start.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:07 PM
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I don't see how you can cut accurately with a pinked edge. While I have never tried what you describe in 2 above, it just appears to me that it would be difficult to maintain accuracy of your piecing. You say the pattern is "involved" which sounds like the accuracy of cutting and piecing is very important.
As to your #1. If your triangles don't match up then set the needle in just inside the edge. This way the two pieces will be held together when you begin sewing. Also pinning will help. The addition of the actual patterns sounds like the designer has provided them for accuracy. The availability of the acrylic templates is also for accuracy in cutting.
Now, you can certainly cut the pieces differently - strips etc. Am sure if you anayze the pattern you should be abe to do it with strips etc.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:24 PM
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another tip is to visit the website of the designer- she probably has a link for people working on this project- with tips, hints & help- good possibility she also has tutorials on the technique for accurately lining up your pieces to get them together correctly.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:53 PM
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I don't have an answer for you but I wanted to share my experience with those templates. I got some templates from Marti Mitchell and John Flynn. John's templates have the dog ears cut off and Marti's didn't. Marti's templates worked better for me because my mind (old school) couldn't wrap around where to start sewing with the blunted edge. I finally figured it out but my pattern came out much better with the dog ears left on. I think you have to give it a minute to get used to.

I'm with Holice when it comes to using a pinking blade. You would have to measure from the "valley" cut to get an accurate 1/4" When you're piecing the blocks together if the valley's don't match up it would be hard to see your 1/4" seam.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
another tip is to visit the website of the designer- she probably has a link for people working on this project- with tips, hints & help- good possibility she also has tutorials on the technique for accurately lining up your pieces to get them together correctly.
I wish that there was such a site! The block is actually the Union Square block but with a sashing that was originally used by Yoko Saito. So she gives the instructions for the block but that is pretty much it. I am hoping that with the next block I can figure out how to resolve the issue with the half square triangles. I personally prefer to use Thangles but I'm not sure what effect it will have when I have to match them up with the other pieces. I may have to try to do a test block not using the templates.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:17 PM
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The cutting instructions on the Union Square Block from Block Central is rather straight forward. However, I would prefer to cut the fabric a bit larger and then cut down to the correct size. This does not mean that it cannot be done as the cutting directions suggest (squares of 7/8" measurements). However, in doing it this way, one must be very accurate in both cutting and the piecing to end up with accurate sized blocks. I have also found that the sant 1/4" seams must be maintained for me to end up with correct size.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:38 PM
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I did the second block today using the templates again. Things went much smoother. I checked and double checked my cutting. I took your advice, Holice, and I pinned some of the more problematic areas on the block and that helped significantly. Now that I have had more practice with the block and templates I can see that it is much easier (in this case) with the template and the dog ears cut off.

My first block was supposed to be 9 1/2" unfinished. It is a bit shy of 10". I believe that is due to my seam allowance. I am using Aurifil this time and I moved my needle over which usually gives me a scant 1/4" seam but with the finer thread it was too much. My second block is the proper size. I think I may take the first block apart and redo it.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:30 AM
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Thread does make a difference. Also different sizes of thread on top and bottom also makes a difference. One must check to make sure the seam is the right size to produce the correct size of the block. After calibrating my seam allowance I make sure the same type thread is used in both bobbin and top.
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