Monday, March 3, 2014

Paper Piecing Tutorial from a Amateur

I have decided that I am going to learn paper piecing. To make sure I know it well enough to do it I am going to teach it.  I will even show you what not to do.  To start off you need a block.  If your a beginner you want to start with something pretty easy.  I created a block Star Bright Block which is the motivation for the quilt I am making.  It is pretty easy and well is what I started with.

Step 1 Pick you pattern.  Using the attached PDF this block should finish as 6 1/2 inch I believe.

One thing I realized when doing my block is the order of the block.  I let EQ7 pick its own order, but I quickly learned that it would be easier to work from the center of the block out.  So I will be renumbering it with the first 2 in the middle then the next 2 moving out.  and the last 2 being the outside.

Step 2 Line up your first 2 fabrics.  You will want them nice sides together.  Then you will want to align them with the first line you plan to stitch. You can see the shadow of your fabric if you hold your paper up to the light.

Step 3  Sewing down the line.  You will want to start and end your line just before and after the line.  I did not back stitch at all and with going a little over each direction prevented the need for that.  I held my fabric together, but it would be acceptable to pin it in place.

Step 4 Trimming your block.  You will first want to fold your pattern down the line you sewed.  With the sewing line as your guide.  You will then want to trim your excess fabric and paper using your ruler.

Step 5 Iron your first 2 fabrics flat.

Step 6 For this block we need to add 5 more fabric pieces.  Starting at step 2 again repeat the process.  I learned on my first block that some fabrics are hard to see though and some practice is needed to get the next ones lined up.  Continue steps 2-6 for the next 4 pieces.

Step 7  Hopefully if you made it this far you have a block that looks somewhat like the block above.  Now that is not how we want the finished block so we now flip out papers over and trim.  Make sure you put your ruler on the 1/4 inch line so that there is the seam allowance left on the block to sew them all together when the blocks are all completed.

Step 8 Align your blocks for your finished quilt.  Here are a few suggestions.

OK, now for things not to do.  To start with make sure you know where your fabric is going.  When picking fabric pieces, make sure they are long and wide enough to fit the spot they need to cover.  My first try I started from the outside edge and worked in and learned the hard way that fabric needs to fit the block.  Not the block fit the fabric.  It is hard to see from the pictures, but my fabric did not cover the tip of my block. Good thing was this was the first block that I tried and I learned from my mistakes.  For the 2 middle pieces I started with 9 inch strip that was 2 1/4 wide. The next 2 strips, I used 8 and 7 inch strips both with 2 3/4 width.  It wasted more fabric, but caused much less frustration in the end.

As I hate wasting fabric, I ended up using my scraps to make a piece of fabric, that I will use on a hot pad some time later this year.  If you like or hate or think something is missing in my tutorial let me know.  Also if you have a favorite tutorial, please put it in the comments and I will check it out.  It is a new adventure for me to paper piece.

Check out this post to see what my plans for these blocks are.  I will post more of the blocks as I get them done.


Teresa Quilts said...

Good tutorial, Richard. Love the green fabrics you are using, too. How is your knee?

Cheryl said...

Very nice block.

Gene Black said...

Be sure to make your stitch length shorter so that the paper tears off more easily.

BUT leave the paper on until after the blocks are joined so you can use the lines to get perfect seam allowances!

And if your paper tears while you are still sewing it, a piece of transparent tape will be just fine to hold it together.

Instead of pinning you can also use a dab of gluestick.

Those are the tips that I remember from when I took a class on paper piecing.

Barbie Mills said...

I really like some of those alternate layouts.

Laura B said...

Hi Richard,
The Craftsy course I'm taking also says to use a DRY iron. If you use steam, it can cause the ink on your paper to get on your fabric. Also cover the ironing board with freezer paper to avoid the ink getting on the ironing board cover. Thanks for the tutorial. Your blocks look great. I've run into the problem of cutting my fabric too short as well (even though my class video reminded me not to).

Sew Surprising said...

I find using a add a quarter ruler a real bonus, its smaller and easy to use, rather than your bigger rulers. Also I use a piece of cardboard or postcard to fold back onto my lines, really makes trimming easier, and great if you dont use a light box which I think really helps with process. :)

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