Training Tuesday: Pattern Creation, Pt 1

I am still working on Training Tuesday’s. I am learning quite a bit while I look for things to write about. Because of that, Training Tuesday will continue for the foreseeable future! This week, we start a series on Pattern Creation. I will quote the magazine so you can read what was written back in the early 70s and then I will show you my version. If you have a version you’d like to share, please do!

I know there are some really good computer programs that allow you to create a quilt with simply a few quilts. However, I am old-school and still love doing things by hand. I was a computer technician and programmer for nearly 30 years (I started at 13 years old on computers). I don’t play with computers as much as I used to – I’ve started to shun them except for blogs or maybe playing MInecraft with my boys. I find that I am more in tune with the pattern and learn more when I am doing it with pencil and eraser on graph paper. Of course, we all know I am a hands-on learner, anyway!

How to Copy A Quilt And Make A Pattern, Part I, Applique Quilts

Quilter’s Newsletter, #32, 1972

“Did you ever see a particularly beautiful museum quilt or a photo of a gorgeous new quilt in a magazine and wish you could make one just like it–but there is no available pattern? I think this must have happened to all of us at least once, and it is frustrating. But there is a solution to this problem and an easy one at that! Learn to draft your own patterns so you can copy any quilt you see. We will tell you how to do it in a short series beginning with this issue.

“Applique Quilts. If you have in your possession a quilt you want to copy, it is very easy to make a pattern. Lay the quilt on the floor or a bed and measure its length, width, block size, border, etc.. You can copy the pattern pieces by playing a piece of tissue paper over a block and tracing. Foil can also be used for this purpose. Smooth it over an appliqued block, and the line of the pieces will make an impression in the foil. You can then transfer these outlines to cardboard or paper to make your pattern.

“When viewing a quilt in a museum or other public place, the best bet is to take a snapshot of the quilt. You can then use the method described below to make the pattern. If you have no camera with you, make a sketch and jot down your estimates of some of the measurements such as the block and quilt size. When you get home draw a more accurate picture before you forget details.

“1. Enlarging a photo or sketch. On page 6 directions are given for enlarging a design using connected dots. [Naia: I have included that article at the bottom of this one] This is a simple method which can be used to enlarge any quilt block picture you may have. If you have a photo of a whole quilt and want to make a pattern for the border and the quilting design as well as for the block, use the method described below.


“Place the section of the photo to be enlarged on the upper left corner of a very large piece of wrapping paper.


“Draw line A-B the length you wish the enlargement to be. Draw line C-A through the corners of the photo and continue this line to D.


“Connect points B and D. This line will be the width of the enlargement. Draw a line down from A to point E. Connect E and D. Draw in the diagonal line B-E. Draw in a diagonal line on the photo, F-G. At the point where the two diagonal lines meet in the center of each area (marked “x”) draw one horizontal and one vertical line. You now have four equal divisions in both the photo and the enlargement.


“In each of these four divisions, complete the other diagonals and then divide further into equal rectangles with horizontal and vertical lines. Copy the design from the original, triangle by triangle, into the corresponding triangle of the enlargement.”

A very good process, if you think about it. It breaks it down into elements so you can easily go between elements and recreate what is in the photo. Much like a child’s book that teaches children how to draw cartoon characters! The entire picture is cut up into grids and the child is instructed to draw each grid – not the entire picture.


“How to Enlarge a Design using Connected Dots”

“Draw a straight line above a picture of the design you wish to copy, and put dots along this line 1″ apart. Make the same kind of line along the sides and bottom of the picture. Connect the dots up and down and across. (The quilt designs on this page and the previous page already have the dots drawn for you. Simply connect the dots.) You now have a grid covering the picture you wish to copy. Decide how much larger than the picture you want your pattern to be. (We suggest you make the patterns for the Odds and Ends Tree and the Dutch Tulip four times the size of the pictures.) Let’s say you want your pattern to be four times larger than the picture. Draw a grid on another piece of paper, each square to be 4″ instead of 1″. Copy the outline of the design in each small square into the corresponding large square. This will be your basic pattern without seam allowances. Trace off the separate elements of the basic pattern onto another sheet of paper, and add a 1/4″ seam allowance. (You may prefer to work without a seam allowance, in which case this last step is unnecessary.)”


Pretty fun and looks easy! Give it a whirl and we’ll meet back here next Tuesday to continue this article!


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