Paper Piecing, May 13, 2011

Several have asked if I could put together a tutorial on paper piecing.  I've used the sailboat pattern from the Quiltmaker Magazine Jan/Feb 11 called Dances With Waves.  This was Quiltmakers Make-A-Blanket Day pattern in support of Project Linus.

First reproduce your pattern.  Make sure it copies (or prints out) at the exact size as called out in the instructions. Sometimes there will be a measurement box on the pattern. Use a ruler to make sure it measures as it suggests. If you don’t have the right pattern size it will make a difference in your over all finish size.

In this case I need 6 ½” and my printer only printed it at 6 ¼”. I took the print out to a copier and enlarged it by .05% (105%) and now I have a 6 ½” pattern to work with.
Enlarged Pattern
Using the same original and copier setting make ALL the copies you need for your project. Repeat with each pattern in the project.  Trim each pattern to make them easier to handle.
For the paper piecing method you’ll need a firm straight edge like a bookmark or index card and an Add-A-Quarter ruler.

Measure area to cover starting with #1. Cut a strip 1” larger all the way around. You will want your piece to be ½” over the pattern to be covered. #1 is 1 ½” x 2 5/8”; you will need your fabric piece to be 2 ½” x 3 5/8”.

Center the fabric piece from the back of your pattern with right side of fabric facing you. Hold the pattern (you’ll need both hands) facing you with a light behind so you can see through to the fabric.
Wrong Side of Pattern Should Be Against Wrong Side of Fabric
Stitching from the front of the pattern run a basting stitch through the #1 fabric and pattern.
Take your straight edge and place it on the line between #1 and #2.
Straight Edge On Line
Fold the pattern over the straight edge exposing the fabric.
Pattern Folded Over Straight Edge Exposing Fabric
Using your Add-A-Quarter ruler trim away excess fabric #1 over the line between #1 and #2 on the pattern.
Add-A-Quarter on Fabric #1 Positioned for Trimming
Measure #2 the same way as you did #1. #2 fabric will need to include the seam allowance of the pattern.  Add an extra ¼” to your piece to cover this.
Measure Fabric #2 Add for Pattern Seam Allowance
Place #2 fabric piece over #1 fabric right sides together. You should be able to line up #2 fabric with its edge exactly on #1 fabric edge (where you just used your Add-A-Quarter ruler to trim excess fabric #1). Use your light source behind you with the pattern facing you to make sure #1 and #2 fabrics line up correctly.

Now the tricky part…holding fabrics in place with both hands flip the unit to the front where you can see the pattern.  With a very small stitch length sew from the pattern side on the line between #1 and #2. Start and end a couple of stitches over the line to secure the stitching.

Take your straight edge and place it on the line between #1 and #2. Fold the pattern over your straight edge exposing the fabric making certain your #1 and #2 fabrics are still right sides together as you sewed them. Using your Add-A-Quarter ruler trim away excess fabric #1 and #2.  Note that there should be very little, if any, fabric #1 to trim.
Trim Fabric #1 and Fabric #2
Open fabric #2 finger press and iron press the pieces open. Make sure you have covered each pattern piece entirely with fabric.

Continue with each pattern piece in numeric order the same way as with #1 and #2 until you’ve completed the last pattern piece.
Fabric #3 to Fabric #2
Fabric #5 to Fabric #6 and then Fabric #7

Using a ruler trim away the remaining excess fabric that you will have over the seam allowance. You will be trimming on the outside line.
Trim the Outside Line Leaving 1/4" Seam Allowance
Once you’ve completed the last trimming you can remove the paper or wait until you’ve attached the unit to the next unit.  You will also need to remove the basting stitch on #1.

If you have any questions leave me a comment.  This can be challenging.  You will need practice.  The results are worth it!

1 comment:

Kerry's Quilting said...

Great job on the tutorial! It is really detailed and easy to follow.