As I mentioned last week I’ve recently upgraded my Electric Quilt design software and have been giving it a try out by designing a new quilt pattern inspired by the photo art design I used to make this clutch purse.
Electric Quilt is an awesome program for designing pieced and appliqued quilts. As well as designing quilts, the program allows you to easily and automatically print out your pattern blocks and template pieces, either with or without seam allowances.
However I discovered that the program doesn’t have the ability to print quilt blocks with a broken line to indicate the seam allowance; instead it prints a find unbroken line.
This is fine for personal use but professional patterns are generally printed with broken lines and since I’m trying very, very hard to find professional software to replace Illustrator I was at first a little disappointed not to find this feature in EQ5.
However – after contacting Electric Quilt customer support, I was given a fairly simple and rather ingenious work-around in super quick time (within hours) which is much appreciated!
So if you’re getting a little fed up, as I am, with the bloated, unintuitive, and often difficult to use software that Adobe is offering up these days and are looking for a professional replacement to their design software, then read on.
How to make professional pattern pieces in EQ7
My challenge was to design raw edge applique pattern pieces that have only a partial seam allowance which is used to indicate where one pattern piece overlaps an adjoining piece. For example in this flower design, the adjoining flower petals overlap each other and then the stem overlaps the petals. Normally on a pattern piece, this overlap is indicated by a seam allowance extension that has a broken line.
If you’ve never used EQ before, the design tools are very easy to use, everything is very intuitive, and you have lots of great tools to work with. Tracing pattern pieces from a photo or image is a breeze and it is SO much easier to draw in EQ7 than in Illustrator. This is my simplified traced flower design.
For raw edge applique pattern pieces, you need to draw the seam allowance manually as a separate line drawing.
Then save each pattern piece together with the seam allowance extension onto a separate quilt block and save to your sketchbook.
Next you need to set things up so you can touch up the pattern outlines using the thread tool which is only available on the quilt worktable, and to do this you need to make a new quilt the same size as your quilt block.
It’s quick and easy to make a new quilt, and the best thing is you only need to set this up once, save it to your sketchbook, and then retrieve it to use for each of the pattern pieces.
To make a new one-block quilt
1. Click Worktable > Work on Quilt.
2. Click Quilt > New Quilt > Horizontal.
3. Click the Layout tab > change number of blocks to 1 H x 1 V and set to the same size as your applique block.
4. Click the Borders tab and delete the borders.
5. Click the Layer 2 tab (for applique and patch pieces) > click the Set Block tool, find your block and set it into the quilt. It should look like one block, just as it did on the Block worktable.
If you haven’t already set up your Set Thread Tool, right-click the right-hand toolbar > choose Add/Remove Buttons > click the Set Thread tool to add it to your toolbar.
Then select the thread color, style and weight and click on your pattern piece to set the lines. I’ve set the pattern piece in a solid line, and the seam extension in a broken line.
Now you can export your pattern piece in jpg or tiff format for additional editing if needed, although you have the ability to add text while on Layer 2 of the quilt, so if you set things up correctly you won’t even need additional editing. And that’s all there is to it. Simply ingenious!