• How To Mark Quilting Designs

    Today and in the next issue, I will post about various ways to mark designs.

    Marking quilting designs

    There are so many ways to mark quilting designs on quilts that each quilter needs to choose for herself the method that works best for her. Each quilter needs to take into consideration the colors of fabrics she usually uses in choosing a marking method and her visual ability to see the markings.

    In the following sections we will discuss stencils, templates, tear-away patterns, and perforated patterns. Then we will discuss several different ways to mark the quilt using different types of pens, pencils and chalk.

    Plastic Quilting Stencils and Templates -

    There are many products available for marking your quilting design on a quilt. One of the most common is the quilting stencil. Quilting stencils are usually made of lightweight plastic and have slots cut through in the pattern design. They are inexpensive and readily available at quilt stores, chain stores, and online.

    Please look at your quilting stencil. You will see long cuts through the plastic with short 'bridges'. These bridges are necessary to keep the stencil intact. But as you are quilting you would continue to quilt the marked lines through the unmarked 'bridge' area to the other marked line.

    Some quilting designs made into stencils are continuous and some are not. When machine quilting you might want to start with a continuous line quilting design to avoid many starts and stops and stitching back over a line that has already been quilted.

    I find quilting stencils very easy to work with. You simply choose the size you want leaving at least 1/4" - 1/2" along the edge of the patch. Then mark using a washout marker, pencil or chalk.

    There are several ways you might make your own quilting stencils. Use ordinary template plastic available at quilt stores and a double bladed craft knife, a wood burning tool with a stencil cutting point, or cut the stencil with a fine point scissors.

    Quilting templates are also made from template plastic but are usually a shape that is actually cut out of the plastic and you trace around with a washout marker, pencil or chalk. They are much simpler to make but would not be as detailed a design as a stencil.

    Both quilting stencils and hand made templates are very economical as they can be reused many times. If you get a small tear in the plastic it can be mended with tape.

    Subscriber comments:
    A couple of other good way of making stencils are to use a heavy felt and trace it out and cut it or to use card stock. They all work equally as good.
    Perforated Paper Patterns

    Perforated patterns are very easy to make. Just take a piece of good quality tracing paper. Draw or trace your quilting design using a permanent marker. Then place the tracing paper right side down on a bath towel or pillow. Using a large pin, poke a hole in the tracing paper approximately 1/8" apart. Or you could unthread your sewing machine needle, turn your paper right side down, and make the holes with your machine. Place the tracing paper right side up on your quilt and "pounce" using a powder in a muslin bag. When your paper is placed on your quilt the rough feel of the holes would be facing up.

    Perforated paper patterns are economical, very easy to make, and can be reused many times.

    Printed tear-away patterns

    Many printed tear away patterns are available commercially. They come in sheets and on rolls. They are inexpensive and readily available at quilt stores, chain stores and online.

    The patterns are printed on paper that tears away easily. Tape or pin them to your quilt and stitch through the paper and quilt sandwich. Then they are torn away. The disadvantage is they can be used only one time so would have to be replenished.

    You may make your own printed tear away patterns using very light weight paper or tissue wrapping paper. Simply trace your design on the paper making as many copies you need and using them the same as the commercially available tear-away patterns.

    Glad Press'n Seal food wrap product is available at the supermarket. It is a lightweight plastic product that is tacky on one side. Place the tacky side down on your paper pattern and trace. Lift and place on your quilt sandwich. Quilt and tear away. I have found a blue ball-point pen works best for writing on the Press'n Seal wrap. Blue seems to show well on the quilt even with dark colors. A wet ink marker is not a good idea as it would smear and you could possibly get some unwanted ink on your quilt.

    Subscriber comments:
    You can also use cornstartch in a pounch or chalk box to mark designs on quilts. We machine quilt and use this a lot on dark colors.
    Subscriber omments:
    Never thought of using Press'n Seal. I have, however, used tissue paper that I've coated the shiny side with Craft Bond spray adhesive. I let it dry for 5 to 10 min. (it's still tacky) and place it on my quilt sandwich pieces right over pins if necessary and then machine quilt. Tearing off the paper is super easy and no residue is left.
    That's all for now. In the next issue, I will cover the following topics: marking pens, pencils, chalk, and chalk pads.
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