Reducing and Enlarging Patterns (aka... thinking outside the block!)
My mother has put together a beautiful collection of Applique Blocks. Although the reason they are popular with quilters is obvious, I am challenging our readers to think "Outside the Block." There are many ways to use these Applique Block Patterns in other crafty endeavors. But first things first, we need to know how to re-scale the patterns and that is what we are going to talk about today.
Reducing and Enlarging Your Patterns:
All of our pattern blocks are designed to fit on a 6 inch square but of course often your project will vary in size. Here are several ways to reduce or enlarge our patterns to fit everything from a 1 inch barrette to an 8 foot tall wall mural, using a bit of math and a variety of tools depending on your needs and what you have available to you.
First let us talk about the basic math formula for reducing and enlarging. You will need to know the existing size of either the height or width of the image and your desired size of the same measurement.
Desired Size / Existing Size = Percentage to Enlarge or Reduce the Pattern
Reducing for a t-shirt pocket example:
You have a pattern with a width of 5 inches and would like it to be 2 inches wide.
2 / 5 = 0.4 (40%)
Enlarging to Make a Wall Hanging example:
You have a pattern with a height of 6 inches and would like to be 14 inches tall.
14 / 6 = 2.33 (233%)
Second let us talk about tools for scaling. Depending on your home computer/printer's capabilities, learning to use that may be all you need but there are other ways to think big (or small) as well that requires nothing more than a ruler and a pencil.
Using a Home Printer...
Most home printers today can also make photocopies. This is a great tool for minimal scaling options. Use the scaling formula above to determine the percentage to which you will need to set your printer/copier. This works as long as the finished image size will fit on the printer paper.
Some home printer/copiers will allow for tiling, which means it will enlarge and print an image that is greater than a single sheet of paper by printing a portion of the image on several sheets of paper that can then be taped together to form the one large image. Check your printer’s manual for details on this option.
Using a Copy Center…
Copy Centers have the ability to print very large images. This is a great option if you would like to enlarge your image to create something like a large banner. They will even do the math for you if you haven’t already calculated your scaling percentage.
This is an old school technique (very old school, it was employed in decorating the pyramids) for scaling images. Draw a grid over your pattern. For our six inch blocks a one inch grid pattern would be an easy starting point. This means you would have 6x6 block grid pattern to follow. Now draw another 6x6 block grid pattern at the scale of your desired size. If you would like your image to be 3 feet tall, draw a 3 foot tall box and then grid it with 6x6 blocks. In this example, you would have 6 inch square blocks in your enlarged grid. Now you need to freehand copy what appears in each pattern grid blocks to the new sized grid blocks. Breaking up the image into these smaller blocks and then focusing on drawing one block at a time makes it easier to draw the pattern and keep it in proportion… even for the untrained, I can’t draw anything crafter.
If you have an overhead projector available to you, it also can be a useful tool for enlarging images. You will need to copy your pattern onto a sheet of transparency paper. You can get transparency paper that will run through your home printer/copier. Once you have your transparent pattern, place a large sheet of paper on the wall, set up your projector so that it is displaying the pattern at the desired size on the wall. You can then trace the projected image onto the paper.
Now you have the tools to think outside the 6 inch block.