Thursday, June 03, 2010

designing your own circle quilt--part 2--making your templates

I have 7 out of 12 of the full circles in my circle quilt pieced together--it's coming along. Today I have a tutorial for making your own circle quilt block template. In part 1, I talked about determining the size of your quilt and from that, deciding on the size of your quilt blocks. My quilt blocks (one quarter circle and the square it fits into) are 6 inches square, finished. Here's how I made my template:

Image 1. I drew my 6" square on a piece of paper, using the corner of the paper for two of the sides of the square. Seam allowances will be added later--don't worry about them for now.

Image 2. Using a compass, draw the arc of the circle while holding the pointy part of the compass on the corner of the square. You might want to draw a few different blocks, making the quarter circle section different sizes, to see what you like. When I made the template for my quilt, I had my 10-year-old draw up a few different sample blocks and in the end decided on one where the quarter circle is kind of large in proportion to the square.

Image 3. Cut out both pieces.
Image 4. Now we need to trace the templates onto cardboard. I used a cereal box. You can also get template plastic at quilt shops, if you want. Start out by tracing the straight lines of the quarter-circle shape using my quilting ruler. Add the seam allowance lines, again using the ruler. I had to place the ruler slightly less than 1/4" away from the first lines I drew, to allow for the thickness of my pencil lead. (A sharper pencil would have helped but I couldn't find a pencil sharpener.)

Images 5 and 6. Place the paper template on the cardboard next to the straight lines, and trace the curved edge. Or, you could use your compass, making sure it is adjusted to the same angle it was for the original  paper template.

Image 7. Add seam allowance to the curve. I use my ruler to make a series of small marks that are 1/4" from the original line, and then draw a line to connect them. Rotate the ruler as you go around the curve to make sure the marks, and the seam allowance you are adding, will be an even 1/4" from the original line. (I hope that makes sense. If you have another way to add even seam allowances to curves, please share!)
Image 8. The quarter circle unit with the seam allowance for the curve marked.

Image 9. The template for the square corner part of the block. I used a ruler to draw all the straight lines, and traced the paper template edge for the curve. Then added the curve seam allowance using the same method I used for the quarter circle template.

Image 10. Cut out your finished templates!

Please let me know if you have any questions or if this is confusing at all!
The next post in this series will address figuring out your fabric yardage requirements, and cutting out the blocks. I'd love to hear from you if you are working on a quilt (or thinking about it) using these ideas!