How to cut fabric with Templates A Tutorial

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Hi Everyone,

No, I am not going to tell you how to make the Aviatrix Medallion Quilt. I am going to show you my handy dandy way to cut fabric with templates (as long as they are geometric) without having to draw them out and cut them by hand. It is accurate and super fast. One of the templates in the Aviatrix Medallion has to be cut more than 200 times... that is just a lot of cutting without a little shortcut. It took me less than an hour my way. So I hope this helps you all too. Oh and I finished my center by the way:

Draw your templates on to semi transparent template plastic with a dark marker. Something that won't rub off like a sharpie. Make sure the marker is completely dry before you start cutting. Using an acrylic ruler in a smallish size if you have one, (just makes it easier to flip it around you can use a big one if that is all you have) I used a 6" by 12", and some scotch tape. Tape the template to your ruler with one of the angles on the edge of the ruler.

If your template is not bilateral (meaning you can't cut it in half and have two mirror images) then you need to cut two templates. I will show you that in a moment. This piece is bilateral so it will be fine. Cut your fabric in a strip that is the width of the template between the two parallel lines. Lay the ruler and template on your strip so that the two parallels line up with the top and bottom of the strip and the point close to the edge.

Cut off the edge then flip your ruler over and line up the angle with the edge you just cut.
Yes, I know it is upside down but it doesn't matter as long as you are careful not to let it slip it it still works to cut along the edge with your rotary cutter. Flip the ruler back over and around and line up your next piece.

Continue on down the strip. I cut 4 layers at a time this way. Much more than that and you start to get a little less accurate.

The diamonds are just parallelograms too so you do this the same way.

Now, if you have a piece that is still geometric but is not bilateral you can still do this. You just need to cut more templates from the plastic. For the Aviatrix Medallion there is a piece that is like this so I cut it out of the template plastic twice and taped it on two different sides of my ruler like this:

 One side has the angle the other side has the straight.

Then you start with the side that has the angle at the end of your strip:

This is what happens if you don't have the other piece taped on...

You can't cut the next piece because the ruler is in the way :)

So with the side that has the straight edge taped on...
Now I know a lot of us old timers knew how to do this but some of the new sewists don't. So just a little help from me to you! Ta da!

26 comments on "How to cut fabric with Templates A Tutorial "
  1. this is great! I never would have thought to do that.

  2. Great tip! Thanks so much! This will be very helpful when I do my next half hexie quilt.

  3. Thanks for the tip Julie I bet a lot of readers didn't know about this and this old timer is a little rusty so I appreciate the reminder. Your medallion is looking fabulous.

  4. Now that is very clever! Good to know!!!!!!

  5. Mind blown. I've avoided using patterns that require templates, but no more. Thank you!

  6. Thank you Julie for this great info! Way to go girl! I was having second thoughts about the Aviatrix Medallion Quilt when I heard there were templates. Thanks to you I'm back on board.

  7. Your tutorial is great. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks so much for posting this! I just did my first star and wish I had seen this before I started--would not have had nearly the problems I had! :-)

  9. Thank you so much for writing this up! I am getting ready to do the Aviatrix Medallion Quilt a Long and I was feeling a little intimidated by the templates.

  10. In the good ole days we made cardboard templates & cut out the pieces first tracing around them in pencil then cutting out with scissors. I much prefer plastic- templates & rulers !! Thanks for your post :-)

  11. Thanks for the great cutting tips! I purchased Elizabeth's pattern so your tips will come in very handy when I start fabric cutting!

  12. Love your center! Thanks for the great tips :)

  13. Thank you so much for this tutorial it arrived at exactly the right time for a diamond epp project I've just started. I was cutting around the template as a diamond and was worried about the amount of fabric I was wasting. I've since tried your method and wastage is almost none. Super happy. Thank you again . Louise xx

  14. What a great idea! I having been quilting for many years, and have never seen this before. Taping to the ruler, thats just so cool!

  15. I've got my pattern and my stack of fabric for the Aviatrix quilt along, but I have to tell you when I read that one of the templates has to be used 200 times I about fell out of my chair and gave up before even beginning.

    Thank you for this wonderful tutorial. I have never seen this technique before and it is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing it.

  16. Great tip. I love any idea that helps to save time, especially with cutting.

  17. I saw this tip on a quilting dvd a few years ago and forgot about it, it's a great tip

  18. Julie, thank you so much for posting this tutorial. Not only will I be able to finish the cutting for the Aviatrix, I will now tackle a quilt I've been admiring for years, but have been too reluctant to cut the required gabillion trapezoids. Yay!

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  20. Thanks for sharing this -- I wouldn't have thought of it! I've cut fabric before with templates made out of that kind of plastic, and I ended up shaving bits off the template every once in a while. >_<

  21. great tip - I thought maybe I would have to buy a special ruler but no! Thanks!

  22. Great, so glad I came across this awesome tip. Since I'm a fairly new sewist With out a "real" person to help me with tips like this. Or that I can even call or go to for help. I have no option other than turn to & rely on. Other than the good ol' InterWeb.
    So greatly appreciated.
    Sewing in South Carolina
    Thank you so much!

  23. Wish I'd found this article BEFORE I cut those 200 pieces ��

  24. This is so very clever I'm shocked I didn't think of it!


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