If you are a quilter, you know how important it is to have sturdy templates for you quilting and appliqués patterns. With a few simple tools, you can create your own templates from overhead projector transparency sheets that will last for years.
Overhead Projector Transparency Sheets (purchased at any office supply store, look for photocopy quality)
A good source of quilting patterns
Access to a photocopier
Choose your patterns:
The first step is to choose the patterns you wish to use. If you wish to create appliqué patterns, children’s picture books, coloring books, and even magazine images are a good place to start. For geometric shapes for quilt patterns, purchase a quilting magazine or quilting book with patterns. You can also design your own using a drawing program on your computer.
Decide the size you will need:
Most photocopiers have the capability to enlarge or reduce the size of the quilting pattern. Decide the size ahead of time to save time and effort when it comes to the actual copying of your template. Always run a test copy on plain paper and make adjustments to size until you reach the size you need, before making a copy onto the overhead projector transparency sheet.
If you have access to a copier that you can use yourself, there are a few things you need to know. The copier will need to be set for bypass and you will need to use the bypass tray for your overhead sheets. The copier should have a setting for overhead sheets. This setting creates a lower temperature. If you try to run them without this setting, the overhead transparency sheet will melt and stick to the roller in the photocopier. Any photocopy shop should be able to copy your patterns onto an overhead projector transparency sheet for you.
Once you have run your design through the copier, you will have your very own template on a sheet of clear acetate.
If you wish to cut out the templates, use a pair of sharp scissors to cut along the outline. This is a great way to create a template for geometric designs that you will use as a pattern to cut fabric pieces for your quilt. If you are creating appliqué patterns, you can use a sturdy needle such as darning needle to puncture dotted lines to mark areas where pieces overlap. You can later use these holes to mark your fabric with a quilting pencil. In this case, you will want to make two copies of the pattern. One will be used as a guide for placement and the second will be for you to cut out individual pieces for appliqué. The great thing about this template is that you can simply lay the overhead projector transparency sheet over the top of your fabric to check that your pieces are positioned correctly. You can also jot down directions for project completion with a permanent marker right on the overhead sheet.
Storing Your Templates:
To store the complete template, punch holes in the edge of the overhead projector transparency sheet and add to a three ring binder. Individual pieces can be stored either in plastic sleeves or placed in a manila folder. Simply punch holes in the edge of the envelope and add to the binder.
Using overhead transparency sheets for your templates will provide a sturdy template that will not wear or tear. They are easy to store, they can be positioned over the fabric to check for proper placement of pieces, and with a little care they will last for years.