A template is a pattern made from extra-sturdy material so you can trace around it many times without wearing away the edges.

Making a Template

1. Trace pattern onto transparent template plastic, available at quilt shops and crafts supply stores. (Cardboard and other thick materials can be used in a pinch, but they are not as sturdy and will wear down over time.) Be sure to trace all lines, dots, and arrows. Use a ruler and permanent marker to ensure straight, lasting lines (Photo 1).

2. Cut out the template and check it against the original pattern for accuracy. Even small errors will multiply as you assemble the quilt. If you printed or photocopied the original pattern and made a template based on the printout, double-check that it was printed at 100% and check its measurements against the original.

3. Using a pushpin, make holes large enough to accommodate a pencil point in all marked dots (Photo 2).

Using a Template

1. Place fabric right side down on 220-grit sandpaper to prevent it from stretching as you trace. Place template facedown atop fabric, paying attention to grain direction arrow on template, and trace around template using your favorite fabric marking tool. (Don't use a ballpoint pen or ink pen because it might bleed.)

2. Mark any matching points through the holes in the template.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to trace the number of pieces needed, positioning the tracings without space between them (Photo 3). Use scissors or a rotary cutter and acrylic ruler to precisely cut fabric pieces on the drawn lines.

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