Nancy’s Quilting Classroom: Using Quilting Templates and Rulers

Are you ready to take your quilts to another level? Then it’s time to start making quilts with templates and specialty rulers. When I started quilting in the mid-1970s, I made my own templates from cardboard. I’d trace around the cardboard template and cut out the pieces using scissors. After tracing a few times, the template was no longer accurate. Fast forward to rotary cutting. A wide variety of acrylic templates are now available that can be used with a rotary cutter.

I wanted to create a unique hexagon design that I could piece on my sewing machine. Using a hexagon ruler to make “Twirling Hexies” from Scraps Quilts Summer 2015 made this quilt easy to cut out. The fun design is fat quarter friendly and is perfect for using up those medium- and large-scale prints you’ve been saving.



Diane Tomlinson used a Whirling Pinwheel template set to made a classically traditional quilt. The reproduction fabrics in “Fond Memories” from Love of Quilting September/October 2015 give this quilt a cozy, vintage look. Watch the video to see how to make this wonderful quilt.

Fond Memories Quilt


Cutting accurate, spikey triangles is super easy using a Tri-Recs ruler. I especially love how the elongated triangles create lots of secondary designs and movement in my quilt “Electric Blue” from Love of Quilting March/April 2015. I also used the rulers to create the pieced outer border on this dynamic quilt. Learn how to cut and assemble the quilt in my Craft Daily video.

Electric Blue - Two Color Quilts
Electric Blue - Two Color Quilts


Here’s another hexagon quilt, but with a twist! Jean Nolte used a Twisted Triangle template and a 60-degree Pyramid ruler to make her “Twisted Triangles” quilt from Love of Quilting January/February 2015. This sensational quilt is fat quarter friendly and is great practice for piecing curves. Check out the video to see how easy this quilt is to make.

Twisted Triangles - Fat Quarter Quilt Patterns
Twisted Triangles - Fat Quarter Quilt Patterns


Admittedly, “Ruby Sunrise” from Love of Quilting March/April 2015 is a challenging pattern. I used a set of  Marti Michell’s Sunburst templates to make cutting easier. In the sashing, I added Sawtooth Star blocks as cornerstones. The finishing touch was a dogtooth border. For tips on making this stunning quilt, check out my online class “Secrets to Quilting Success”.

Ruby Sunrise Quilt
Throw Quilt Patterns


I’ve just barely scratched the surface of all the fabulous quilt patterns that can be made using templates and rulers. Classic quilt patterns such as Double Wedding Ring, Thousand Pyramid,  Pine Burr, and Wagon Wheel are all much easier to cut out using templates. These quilt patterns take some time and patience to construct, but the results are worth it!

Nancy Mahoney, Fons & Porter Guest BloggerHappy Quilting ~

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About Nancy Mahoney

Author, teacher, fabric designer, and award-winning quiltmaker, Nancy Mahoney has enjoyed making quilts for over 30 years, during which time an impressive range of her beautiful quilts have been featured in many books and in over 180 national and international quilt magazines. Nancy enjoys combining traditional blocks and updated techniques to create dazzling quilts. She doesn’t consider herself a specialist in one particular area, although Nancy’s favorite techniques include precision machine piecing, quilt design, and machine appliqué. When she’s not designing and making quilts, Nancy enjoys traveling to guilds and events around the country, sharing her quilts, teaching her piecing and machine appliqué techniques, and visiting gardens. Visit Nancy on her website,, for more quilting information and fun!