For most of my needleturn applique, I love to use templastic for my applique pattern templates. The durability is an advantage if you to trace many shapes, such as identical leaves - or if they are in reverse image, the template can easily be flipped over. As these templates are flexible and long lasting, you can establish an excellent library upon which to use for future projects. Sort them into categories and store them in folders, stackable containers or your preferred system.
The transparency of plastic templates is also exciting if you are working with lovely large scale fabric prints as you can move the template over the fabrics in a ‘try before you cut’ approach. The opaque plastic allows you to ’see’ the finished applique effect created by the prints and to capture very interesting and dynamic overall results.
Cut-out or ‘negative’ applique templates. I have designed and developed Bon Bon Applique Templates (see Bon Bon Shop and previous entries) to allow applique shapes to be traced directly onto fabric, based on the ‘negative’ or cut-out shape. This provides wonderful accuracy and speed. There are an assortment of shapes in the collection which can be interpreted in many ways to create leaves and petals and other concepts. The cut-out shape also allows you to ‘flip’ the template over for reverse images and to ‘rehearse’ fabrics to determine if they are suitable for your design.
Quilters freezer paper is certainly an accurate template material and can be used either on the right or wrong side of the fabrics. I will discuss the application of these methods in a future tutorial. Freezer paper is excellent if the applique shape is long and willowy or delicate and lacy. Freezer paper can stabilise the fabric well to allow you to trace the shape onto the fabric, unlike plastic which can be rather unruly in this respect. Although it is reusable to a limited extent, the downside of freezer paper is that you will usually need to cut every single shape required for your pattern including the reverse image shapes.
Templastic and quilter’s freezer paper are readily available at your local patchwork and quilting shop.
Other template materials can be easily obtainable everyday bits and pieces such as card, paper and the like. When I have been away on holidays, I have frequently had to resort to using whatever is available which may include cutting up magazine pages or using travel brochures, tracing around cardboard drink coasters, cutting up cardboard from packaging, tracing around lids and bottles, etc. This approach stirs a definite affinity with our quilting sisters of past times, and a very strong sense of current satisfaction and accomplishment!
In essence, there is not one perfect template material! It is a case of trying what is available and deciding which you prefer to use.
Another tutorial coming soon……