I realize that you are not a quiltmaker, and so I am grateful that you have published a free quilt pattern to go with your latest fabric line.  I liked it enough to download it, and now that I’ve read through it, I’d like to make the quilt.

However, in reading the pattern from beginning to end, I think it could have used some proofreading by someone who makes quilts.  Since you’ve been generous enough to provide us with a free pattern, I would like to return the favour.  Here, free of charge, is a wee bit of advice on writing quilt patterns:

1.  Modern quilters don’t often use templates for piecing.  Especially when the pieces are just squares and rectangles.  Generally, we like to use a rotary cutter and ruler.  It was nice of you to provide full-size templates in your pattern.  Next time, if you could also include the dimensions of each template somewhere in the instructions, we’d be even happier.  It would save us having to measure the shapes on your pattern to figure out what size they are (while hoping that our printers faithfully printed the templates at the correct size).

2.  Most patterns that include templates will indicate whether seam allowances are included or whether they need to be added before cutting.  It’s generally agreed that for piecing, templates have the seam allowances included already, but there’s always some publisher who decides to be different, so it’s helpful to mention it.

3.  Contrary to your advice, it is not customary to cut the backing fabric the same size as the quilt top before quilting it.  Any experienced quilter will tell you to cut the batting and backing larger than the top.  You want some extra fabric around the edges, because you will begin quilting from the centre of the quilt, and the quilting process (especially machine quilting) will tend to draw in the backing and batting as you stitch.  You don’t want to get to the edges of the quilt and find that there’s no backing for the outer inch of it.

4.  In quilting, “sashing” and “borders” are not the same thing.  Strips of fabric that are sewn around the outside of the quilt top are borders.  Strips of fabric that separate blocks within the quilt are sashing.  It’s important to use these terms correctly, because experienced quilters may make certain assumptions when they see them.  If I’m dealing with sashing, for example, I don’t mind piecing a strip together from two pieces of fabric if I have to, because it’s not as noticeable.  However, I’m fanatical about my borders, and I want each side to be cut from one continuous piece of fabric.  That affects my choices about how much fabric to buy.  Please don’t tell me I’m going to be sewing sashing, when I’m really buying fabric for borders.

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