Saturday, July 9, 2011


Here it is: A quick tutorial on using spacers for hand piecing.

These spacers are 1/2 x about 4-1/2 inches. The 1/2 inch is critical; the length can be to your liking. I hand them out in my hand piecing classes so that students can more accurately judge the distance needed between two templates to allow for seam allowances. The spacers are made from card stock--index cards work great and come in wonderful colors.

Lay out two freezer paper templates on the wrong side of your fabric. Lay a spacer between the two templates as shown. Press with a hot, dry iron--the freezer paper will stick to the fabric and the spacer will just lift off to be used again.

You can use multiple spacers if you'd like, so that you can position multiple pieces easily.

The purpose of the spacers, you ask? When you rotary cut around the freezer paper, leaving a 1/4 inch seam, you only have to cut once to get perfect seams on both pieces. On this pic, notice that the 1/4 inch line on the ruler is lined up with the edge of the freezer paper. One cut, two seams!

This shows the resultant fabric, marked for piecing and cut with perfect 1/4 inch seams using a rotary cutter and ruler.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I rarely use the spacers. My preference is to place my pieces slightly farther apart and cut around each piece separately. But for anyone learning hand piecing, it is so much easier to know exactly how much fabric to leave between templates. (The templates are the finished size, no seam allowances added.)

For tons of hand piecing tips, patterns, books and dvd's, visit She has also appeared on Simply Quilts and is the inventor of Inklingo--a method of marking fabric for hand or machine piecing using your ink jet printer. Check it out!

And, of course, (okay, here comes the shameless self-advertisement), I offer hand piecing classes. You can check them out at

Okay, enough frivolity for this time.




  1. Hi there, my friend! The self-advertisement wasn't shameless, after all you had already promoted Linda Franz. So there you were putting someone else before yourself. That was a great little tutorial about using the spacers. I especially love the paragraph "in the interest of full disclosure". I haven't started stitching those binding strips yet, but they're on my agenda for this coming week. Jerry says "Hi". Big Hugs and Much Love!, Jay

  2. Jay was exactly right, you put someone else before yourself, as Sharon always does :)

    Thanks for the info on Linda Franz as I did not know about her. And of course, Miss Sharon's classes are the best!!!!! I still remember Sharon's words, " The length of the thread should NOT be enough to sew the entire block..." ROFL
    HUGS my friend.

    Miss Mitten and BEYOND!!

  3. thank you thank you, Sharon - tutorial very much appreciated. Kathleen

  4. That's a wonderful tip - thank you for sharing it.

    Do you have any tips on marking a grid for hand quilting?



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