Learning How To Paper Piece

For one of my Christmas presents, I’m making some pillows using a Storm at Sea design.

To make these, I *thought* the easiest way would be to do paper-pieceing.  It turned out to be a super complicated pain-in-the-rear (look ma, no swearing!).

Want to learn about paper piecing, too?  Well this is where I’m started.

One very important key is to use the tiniest stitch-length possible, as this will perforate the paper nicely, making it easier to remove when you are ready.

What’s a little bogus about those directions, and most paper-piecing directions I’ve read, is that it relies on your ability to see through the paper and any other fabrics you have already sewn.   How are you supposed to be able to look through so many layers and know that the fabric piece is aligned correctly on top?

For instructions on how I go about paper piecing, continue reading.

So this is how I went about doing my paper piecing:

1. I had my husband design the patterns (he’s an engineer and it is a present from both of us, after all).  The rectangle pattern is outlined showing the 1/4 of an inch seam allowance.   That way, I knew my finished block would have to be at least that big in order to allow 1/4 of an inch seam allowance.   The red arrows are extensions to my sewing lines.

2. I placed my center fabric piece on the block  (I’m prepping two blocks at the same time here):

3.  I placed my second fabric piece on the block, right-side up to ensure it would cover the whole area.  (Sorry for the use of white fabric on white paper.  I know it’s hard to see.  You can click on the image to enlarge).

4.  I flipped my fabric right-side down and drew my sewing line by connecting the red arrows.   I drew it on with pencil. 

5.  I sewed the line and pressed the fabric open.  Yay! It covers the whole area!

6.  I repeated for the other corners, and then trimmed the paper.  When you are finished and ready to sew all your blocks together, you’ll have to rip off the paper backing.

7. Here’s another block I made using paper piecing.  On this block there was another layer, making things more complicated.

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Filed under Quilting, Techniques

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