Paper piecing part 3...where I tell the truth.

Okay, so yesterday, I talked about picking fabrics and cutting them and the day before I prepared the pattern. Today, the rubber hits the road and I'm going to start with a confession. Now, when I subcut my strips yesterday, I did a nice write up about how I measure and cut.

Balogna. Here's what I really do. But, don't ignore what I said yesterday, because there's a lot of description of what has to happen in there. And, I had to do it that way in order to be able to do it this way.

So, I lay the pattern over fabric piece 1 and I see how long it has to be to give me sufficient seam allowance at both ends and I snip it.

Then, I fold the fabric over until I get enough repeats and I cut it. Simple. Easy. No measuring. But risky. Remember that old saw: measure twice, cut once. This way, I barely measure once, but I haven't made a mistake yet.

Then, I fold the paper along the line 1-2 and press the pattern section 1 to fabric 1.

I cut piece two the same way. And, I layer them together, making sure of the seam allowances at both ends, and sew it down. I took this photo from this angle to show how I chain piece my sections. If I keep all my seams trimmed, this is easy to do and no worries about cutting threads between sections or anything like that.

One caution about trying to chain piece these. Sometimes, you have to trim a seam that's way down the line. For example, to enjoy the benefit of chain piecing (can you tell I've been writing legal documents at work?), I had to trim for piece 6 before I sewed on piece 4. But, it was worth it. It keeps all my seam allowances small, so I can chain from one to the next without having to sew through a large piece that's going to get cut off and tossed later.

'Nother note. This one from Judy Mathieson. She suggested we press the freezer paper to a piece of muslin right up front to take the shine off of it. The shiny side of the paper can stick to the bottom of your sewing machine foot. My thought was pish-posh. Until it happened. Fortunately, I knew exactly what to do. Instead of the muslin, I just start out being liberal about pressing the paper to my ironing board cover. Likely, that's a bad thing and will leave a residue on the fabric. But, hey, I replace that periodically anyway, so not going to worry about it.

Okay, so piece two is sewn on and I fold the paper at the line 2-3 and iron it down. The excess fabric from piece two is not stuck to the freezer paper and just hangs out there for a minute...

Until I can trim it off. I lay my add-a-quarter ruler on the folded line 2-3. That leaves a quarter inch seam allowance from piece 2 for me to attach piece 3.

That's what makes my way different from what I've seen in books and on TV. Most people seem to keep that extra piece 2 hanging out there and then they try to lay on piece 3 and they hold it up to a light to see if they got the seam allowance right and they cross their fingers and say a little prayer and sew. If I cut it first, and get that seam allowance out there and I can line piece three up exactly along that, and the needle punched pattern will help me lay on piece 3 so that I can make sure there's plenty of seam allowance at both ends.

Add piece 3 and then 4, just like we learned to count in first grade before we knew about fractions. This particular quarter block had 10 pieces. After the section is finished, trim it to an exact quarter inch seam allowance all around. I trim this from the back and then again from the front. Trimming from the back gets me real close. But, then I flip it over and measure from the intersection match points where one section will adjoin another section. I do that because sometimes the actual match point is not exactly a quarter inch from the edge of the paper and I want my match points to be exact when I join the sections together. That second trim has saved me hours of trying to match a quarter inch match point with a 3/16th match point.

And, press all the seam allowances for the joins open. That reduces bulk and there's a good bit of bulk, especially where lots of points come together and in the center of the block.

The block on the right above is one I made this morning in a couple of hours. Not a lot of match points and only about a quarter as many pieces as some of the blocks I've pieced so far.

Okay, so that's it for me today. We have decided to go to the rodeo carnival today. Okay, so I don't generally do large crowds and this promises to push me to my limits. We usually do this on a weekday. When Rob brought it up last night, he offered to take Sydney himself and leave me to sew all day, but I enjoy the carnival with them, even though I spend most of my time standing around. So, I'm going to be one face in the milling crowd. But, I insist on going early while most folks are still asleep.

Have a good one. Lane


Kate said...

I love that you used Judy Matthieson's techniques... I had the opportunity to take a class with her and it was fantastic... I had just moved to California about two days before, and I could only find half my quilting supplies, but just threw caution to the wind and went to the class and I'm so glad I did... your post is wonderful...
The rodeo???? you certainly are a multi-faceted person... never boring!! that is good...

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your day at the carnival. I'm not a big crowd person either, just stand around not knowing where to go or what to do. Happy National Quilting Day to you. Thanks for sharing.