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Basic Shapes #1 Cheat Card: The Circle

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There are lots of straight lines in sewing, but we love the circle. In fact, in my humble opinion, the circle is the Queen of the geometric shapes. Don't get me wrong; I like all those squares, rectangles, triangles, octagons, and whatnot; but the circle is the coolest of the bunch: smooth and pretty and endlessly useful. Our latest sewing Cheat Card explains the parts of a circle and why you need Pi (not pie). 

As much as we love Queen Circle, we also know she can be challenging. Our Cheat Card illustrates the parts of a circle. And, outlines the basics steps to figuring out the proper size of an opening into which a circle can be inserted. This requires working with Pi (or π), which is not the same (or as delicious) as pie and ice cream, but is very useful formula when it comes to working with circles.

All of our Cheat Cards are the size of a standard business card: 2” wide x 3½” high. That’s small enough to tuck into your wallet or tack up on the bulletin board in your sewing room. This mini size makes them super convenient, but of course, we can’t possibly fit every bit of information onto them. For more details about circles, check out our tutorial: How to Make and Measure a Circle Without a Pattern. Along with the info summarized below on the Cheat Card, the full tutorial also includes steps for how to draw a circle when you are not provided with a pattern, and has a handy conversion from decimals to inches, which is necessary when working with Pi.

The Basic Shapes #1 Cheat Card is available in six different backgrounds. All six designs print out on one 8½” x 11” sheet of paper from which you can cut out the cards. You may want to print on a heavier card stock (80 to 100lb cover is a good option) or print on regular paper then glue that lighter weight sheet to a stiff backing material prior to cutting. There are crop marks on each card to help you get a perfect slice.

This is the fourth installment in our Cheat Card series. You may also want to print out the Yardage Conversion Cheat Cards, the Measuring Tape Cheat Cards, and the Sewing Machine Needles Cheat Cards. These three sets of cards are set-up on the same variety of pretty backgrounds. Pick your favorite design and build a set, or cut them all out to share with your sewing friends.

Is there a cheat or hack you wish you could have as a handy mini card? Leave us a comment below and we’ll add it to our list. As you probably guessed from that #1 in the title, we have more Cheat Cards planned on other geometric shapes as well as on the most common angles.

The Basic Shapes #1 - The Circle Cheat Card is available here as a .PDF file. Click the image below to download. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free program.

We’ve minimized the file size, but please be patient with the download process. In addition, make sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader, and the latest version of your printer driver. Adobe does always recommend a re-start of your computer with any update.

If you are experiencing printing issues, you can also try the Print as Image option in your printer’s browser window. This option is often under the Advanced tab. You can also save the downloaded PDF to your computer and print from there.

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Comments (11)

Vanisha Griggs said:
Vanisha Griggs's picture

I would love a cheat card for standard children sizes for waist, leg openings, wrist and upper arm. So when you are measuring elastic to insert in these areas you don't have to keep reading through patterns to see how long to cut elastic. Often these patterns are simple you just need the measurements and not a stupid elastic guide. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Vanisha - Thanks for your suggestion. We'll do a little research on that and add it to the list of possibilities.

nb05144 said:
nb05144's picture

Angie, good suggestion.  It would be great to have all different cards on one page, less printing.  Thanks.

Patti McGarry said:
Patti McGarry's picture

I love the look of quilts set on point. Is there a formula to calculate the size of the setting triangles based on the size of the blocks? That would be extremely helpful!

Linda Rapp said:
Linda Rapp's picture

How about cards that give the finished HST squares and the beginning square size? They could be done with the different methods of making them i.e. making 2, 4 or 8 at a time.

Angie Wagner said:
Angie Wagner's picture

Could you put one of each Cheat Sheet on a page so we only have to print one page?  I would like to have to whole set, but don't need 6 sets.  

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Angie - We don't have that as an option at the moment, but might be able to do that once we're finished with the series.