What are Quilting Templates?

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  • Written By: S. Gonzales
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Images By: Catherine Jones, Theo Malings, n/a
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2019
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Quilting templates are patterns that are used by quilt-makers. These templates provide quilt-makers with tangible, exact patterns with which to work and to reference. Quilters who use quilting templates are less likely to encounter problems while creating a quilt, because templates give exact measurements for which curves and angles can be cut. Quilting templates can be made out of paper, cardboard, acrylic plastic or even metal.

How a quilt maker intends to sew a quilt can have an effect on the type of quilting template chosen. Those who hand-sew or use appliques will need to ensure that their templates are meant to cut fabric precisely. Cutting fabrics using seam allowances and cutting lines can result in quilt material that is not cut practically. If both sewing and cutting lines are present on a template, hand-sewers need to cut the fabrics on stitching lines.

Quilters can create their own quilting templates if they prefer not to buy them. Cardboard and even paper hypothetically can be used to create quilting templates, but these materials are advised against. Materials such as these are known to fall apart quickly and after many uses. Quilters can create durable templates by making them out of acrylic plastic or metal. Rotary cutters can be used to cut the templates out of cardboard or acrylic plastic, but quilters should plan on using a different set of rotary cutters for their fabrics, because cardboard and acrylic plastic can dull blades.


Quilt-makers who choose to create their own templates out of acrylic plastic or metal will have a durable template to use more than once. The templates also can be passed or lent to other quilt-makers to use. The sturdiness of these materials decreases the likelihood that the templates can be broken or destroyed. Template-makers can create designs using their imaginations and previous work, or they can use stencils to make a template that is uniquely their own.

The breadth of a quilt can determine what kind of quilting template needs to be used. Generally, larger quilts can necessitate the use of acrylic plastic or metal quilting templates. This is because quilters regularly will have to return to the template, and the template will have to be of durable quality.

Exactness is an integral part of quilt-making, so quilting templates often are used for patchwork and applique. Using templates can give quilt-makers the reassurance that their fabric pieces always will be cut in the same way and in the perfect measurements. Templates help take the guesswork out of quilt-making.


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