There are times when it is necessary to photocopy patterns from a magazine, particularly when paper piecing is involved. Our Block-of-the-Month Sampler has two blocks made with paper piecing, “Log Cabin Plus” and “Tricolor Hexagon”. Because these two blocks are blended with pieced blocks, it is critical that the measurements be accurate! There are a couple of ways to make sure that your photocopies turn out perfectly.
The first, and most obvious, is to make certain that your original is flat and entirely within the copy field. If you’re photocopying from a book or magazine, it is very easy to add an accidental distortion, especially when you’re close to the spine and the original is slightly curved. Avoid this by either cutting a page out of the magazine or breaking the spine so that your original lies entirely flat.
To make certain that the scale is correct after copying, many patterns will include a 1″ measure. Make sure you check this after your first test copy to see if it is truly at 1″. If a scale is not included, I like to make my own DIY version, and add a flat ruler to bed of the copy.
If your pattern calls for enlarging “33%”, or something like that, enlarge from the original only, and never from a copy of the original. Each copy of a copy is going to lose some if its overall integrity, so it is best to use the original source material. To illustrate this, I’ve copied a copy of a copy of the original (that’s four steps removed from the original):
But the biggest issue with copying copies over and over is that each step away from the original will change size. If you’re looking to be perfectly accurate, this is a critical aspect.
If you are working on a patter that uses a single block, your copies from a single source will be fine because they will be consistently the same size. In the case of the Block-of-the-Month, these blocks must fit in with a variety of others and these tips will help you out. Happy quilting!