Placing Template on FabricPlace template on pre-washed and ironed fabric, observing grain lines. Blocks will be more accurate and fit together more easily if the outside edges of the patches are out on the straight grain of the fabric. Sometimes this is not always possible, as for example when selective piecing (See Below). In this case, starching the fabric and careful minimal handling will help.
Marking Cutting LinesIf you are hand piecing, mark the cutting line (at left) and sewing lines (below). A 0.5 mm mechanical pencil is ideal for this purpose. On dark fabric, a 0.5 mm Pigma brand pen in a contrasting color works well. Or try the ARDCOTM blue or white marking pencils. Maintaining a sharp point is essential.
Marking Sewing LinesCheck this link for more help with how to mark tight corner pieces.
Mark the entire sewing line if hand piecing. Mark only the corners if machine piecing. When machine piecing, in some cases it is not necessary to mark the sewing line at all. This includes anywhere that the patches to be sewn together line up very well. Examples would be sewing squares together, or the same shape triangles together.
Using the Rotary CutterIf you wish to use the rotary cutter, hold the template as shown. Make the cuts, shifting your fingers as needed. I like to use a smaller mat that I can turn around. Small chunks (sections) of fabric are also easier to handle. Use the smaller size rotary cutter and never rush!
When cutting curved pieces, use the new, smaller, 18 mm rotary cutter.
Check this link for more help with how to mark tight corner pieces.
Selective PiecingSelective piecing is a popular technique for I-Spy and many other quilts. Simply center the window template on the fabric motif and mark or cut.
Kaleidoscopic PiecingFor Kaleidoscopic piecing, center and cut the window template on the same fabric motif however many times the block design calls for (e.g. Dresden Plate = 16, LeMoyne Star = 8, etc.).
You are now ready to piece your block!
If you have any questions or comments on these tips, please send them to Shirley Templates.