Paper Piecing tutorial, part 1

Okay, so what exactly makes me think that I have anything to offer in paper piecing that would be important enough to warrant a tutorial???

Well, I've studied paper piecing. I did some years ago and I hated it. So, I read a book.

I did some more a couple years after that and it was okay. I liked the precision, but I still hated it. And, I read another book.

I did some last year and I kinda liked it, but it was very fabric wasteful. So, I didn't do much, except read another couple of books about paper piecing.

This year, I did some and I liked it. Then, I started the Jubilee quilt blocks and still liking it, I re-read one of those books and found out I loved it. But, what I've learned about it isn't in any of those books. There's a bit in this one and a bit in that one, but nothing that puts it all together the way I do it and nothing that talks about cutting fabric, except rough cutting the actual pieces and then trying to get them to fit the space. I think I've found a better way that I can share and that other people might also love. Without having to re-read all the books I've read about it.

But, if you'd rather read the books, start with Judy Mathieson. I ended with her and could have saved so much time.

Okay, so part one is just preparing the patterns. That's enough to start with. The pattern I'm making here is Mirzam, that I blogged about here.

So, how would I describe my method? I don't sew through the paper. I use freezer paper so the pattern stays on the fabrics right with a bit of pressing. Later, when we get to the sewing part, I cut before I sew (some people sew before the cut). And, I use an add-a-quarter ruler.

I started with my pattern and four pieces of freezer paper that are a bit larger than my pattern. The way this quilt is made is by creating either four or eight pattern sections and then sewing those sections together to form the block. This particular block had four sections. I pinned the four pieces of freezer paper, shiny side down, to the back of the pattern.

And, then, using my sewing machine without thread in the needle or the bobbin case, I stitched along every line in the pattern. I go in order, so I sew through the line between pieces 1 and 2, then the line between pieces 2 and 3, then 3 and 4, and so on. The reason I do that is so I don't forget any lines. After I take this stack apart, there is no getting it back together the same way again. So, look at my pattern below and you'll see a solid line that runs along piece 2, to the center of the block and then a quarter inch to the right of that is a dashed line. That dashed line includes the seam allowance. If you are using a method that requires sewing through the paper, then you'll want to mark that dashed line, too. You'll need that line at the end. But, if you're not going to sew through the paper, then no need to mark this line. That seam allowance gets cut off the pattern pieces.

After I've sewn along every line, I end up with 4 needle punched reproductions of the pattern.

I will unpin that, but the needle punching will keep the four copies together.

I cut along the outside marked edge while they're stuck together and after separating them, I number the pattern, same as the original. Pay attention while you number so you'll be familiar with the assembly order later.

Okay, so that's it. You have four copies of the pattern. Tomorrow, I'll talk about picking and auditioning fabrics and measuring and cutting them to approximate size. Part three will be assembly.

Everybody have a great Thursday. Even though I just spent most of 5 days in the sewing room, I'm looking forward to spending some serious time in there this weekend.



Kath said...

Lane you are a mind reader. I tried FP and learned a lot, the hard way. I decided I needed a tutorial and TA-DA! here is one that I can understand. Thankyou :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing how to paper piece. I'll look for a pattern now and hopefully be ready when you have completed your tutorial.

Auntie Em said...

I've never seen this technique with the freezer paper. Looking forward to seeing your next step.

lw said...

Me, too. I've always found paper piecing to be very fabric wasteful, so I can't wait to see how you got around it.

Bratling said...

I have a pineapple quilt that my grandmother made, carefully put away. While I know you use paper piecing, I have no idea how to do it. Thanks for the tutorial, Lane!

Mary Ann said...

I'll be trying paper piecing for the first time in a quilt class this coming Saturday morning! Thank you for the tips!