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 www.lindafranz.com. 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 www.sharonstroud.com.
Okay, enough frivolity for this time.