Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Mirror Image a Pattern

Quite often I am asked how to mirror image a pattern. When paper piecing quilt blocks or working with certain freezer paper or fusible applique' techniques it is often necessary to Mirror Image the block. So here is a guidline/tutorial on When and How to Mirror Image a pattern.

When do you need to Mirror Image? If a block is perfectly symmetric there is NO need to Mirror Image. Here are 2 ways to check - #1 draw an imaginary line down the center of the pattern. Does it look identical on both sides? If the shapes and placement of pieces are not equal then you will need to mirror image. #2 look at the block and then hold it up to a mirror. If the image has changed in any way - such as now the points face left vs right or the red patch is now on the right instead of the left..etc. then you will need to Mirror Image the pattern.

How to Mirror Image - You have several options here:

#1 If you have a graphics program such as Photoshop, Paint Shop etc. you will choose to edit and then FLIP your picture either vertical or horizontally.

#2 Many of today's inkjet printers have the capability to mirror image. If you have a digital read out screen on yours then either find your manual or click onto Properties or Settings in the control panel and begin searching thru your options. You'll be looking for wording such as "mirror output, or flip horizontally".

#3 Here is the easiest remedy - Print your patterns onto Vellum paper or "other" very thin sheer paper. Flip the paper over to the reverse side. Now your image is reversed. Be sure to mark this side as mirror imaged.

I don't have a large printer screen. If I'm working on an applique' piece that is larger than 8.5" and I need to reverse or Mirror Image it - I will either flip the pattern over and trace the reversed images onto freezer paper or I will take the pattern to my local Office Supply store and have them copy it for me.

I hope you find this information helpful!

every quilt tells a story...


  1. Thanks Aunt Reen, never thought about reversing an imagage but it might come up some time. Good information.


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