Friday, November 18, 2011

The long awaited paper piecing tutorial

this tutorial is for a 6 inch rug mug......

First, choose your fabrics - assorted strips & scraps in small prints, monotones, or solids
- amounts will vary according to the mood of the muse....
keep in mind that paper piecing is not a frugal method of fabric consumption... 8-)

 Cut your paper pattern into sections - cut between the sections - leaving all lines - even the dotted ones, for now...
...if you are in my NewBees class, this pattern has been sent to you...

 assemble tools:  trash, rotary cutter & mat, small ruler, snips, glue stick, skewer and of course your sewing machine!
 Before proceeding, thread your sewing machine with a neutral thread and shorten the stitch length.  test your stitch length on a scrap of paper - it should tear easily along the stitching - yet feed easily through the sewing machine. 
Your stitches should not separate the paper pattern until you are ready to remove the paper.
glue first fabric piece over the #1 space, leaving at least 1/4" seam allowances on both sides of the first two stitching lines....

let fabric extend past paper so it is easier to see position..... you only need a little dab of glue - don't go over the lines with it!

align piece #2 along edge of piece #1 - sew ON THE SOLID LINE between sections 1 and 2 with paper side up.

finger press piece 2 open - confirm that all of area #2 is completely covered with seam allowance...
fold on line - use an index card to get a nice straight fold
align ruler over seam - trim seam allowances to 1/4"

after trimming pieces 1 and 2

it's okay to trim outside edge now....

piece 3 has been added and pressed open

piece 3 is trimmed- allowing 1/4" seam allowance - note the little paper ^ at the bottom has come away - that's okay!
paper side up - showing stitching ON LINES - trimmed - ready for pieces 4 & 5
oopsie!  notice how pieces are too small... boooo - hate getting to last piece and messing up!  I have tried unstitching these but have not really been successful - this is why it is soooo difficult to estimate fabric needed for paper piecing... best advice:  lots!

trim to dotted lines - I put the ruler on the dotted line and trim - leaving 1/4" seam allowances all the way around...

all trimmed - ready to sew!

trimmed sections ready to join - yes, I ran out of the original red paisley and had to use a different red for the last two blocks, but I like it better this way!

last set of seams rotate around center - remove all paper now and press.

use the tweezers on those tiny points!

add a border - I used a solid red 1 1/2" strip from my scrap stash.

press first two sides out before adding next borders....

use a skewer to guide the machine over those bumpy seam intersections!

press open - I used a piece of parchment paper under my block
so that nasty brown scorch mark on my ironing board wouldn't transfer to my block...

layer - backing fabric right side up, finished block, and batting trimmed to size of block.

sew all the way around... 1/4" seam of course!

trim off corners to reduce bulk

turn right side out through slit cut into back ..... insert scrap of MystyFuse or Stitch Witchery or whatever fusible you like.

be sure to read directions... and seal the opening!
you can also close the opening with a small iron-on applique that matches the back for a more 'professional' appearance 8-)

Add top stitching all around to finish

Hope you enjoyed your paper piecing experience - there are some other paper piecing links to refer to if you get stuck:
just go to "YOU TUBE" and search for "paper piecing tutorials".  New videos are added and removed all the time, so just look for something from a publisher that sounds familiar to you - they are usually better than the ones on blogs.

The ones by Fons & Porter and C&T are excellent. 
on the C&T tutorial, Karen Johnson of Connecting Threads teaches the most common version of Foundation Piecing - usually known as Paper Piecing - to make a baby bib with fussy cutting using the 'add a quarter' ruler.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a little work around the house - in the mud!

The retaining wall along the side of the house was getting scary - rotting wood, nasty, etc. so had to have it replaced.  The gents from Bakers Landscaping said they would be here Tuesday morning... I woke up to pouring rain, and thought to myself..... "no way they will show up in this weather!"

Much to my surprise - they arrived promptly and got right to work.... in the pouring rain!

tools, mud, more mud.....

camera shy...

I made a pot of "Winter Soup" while they worked....

seriously, I turned this pic before I uploaded it....  just touch your left ear to your shoulder.....

didn't they do a nice job of cleaning up?
I am so happy with our new retaining wall... they did it all in only 4 hours, and yes, I gave them hot soup! 
They deserved more, but that seemed to make them happy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

C&T New Product test revealed... the joy of exploration!

As you may have noticed, I have a 'relationship' with C&T as a product tester (a 'Creative Trouper') and last summer I had a fun time playing with one of their newest creative fibers - which didn't have a name at the time, but now I know is called "mul-tex"!
 When this fiber arrived... I was admittedly a bit stumped - it was shiny almost waterproof plastic on one side, and the other side was like a finely spun interfacing...  I really had to put my thinking cap on for this one!  In July, I was taking watercolor classes at the Greensburg Art Center - so I worked with what was handy!  The above pieces were painted with translucent watercolors.  I noticed they had a tendency to curl...

Here is my first try at a little scrap book - I turned the pages so the fibrous side was out, and sewed a few pieces into this little book with the pages open at the top for storing tiny trinkets & fiber scraps that are too small to put back into the 'stash' collection.  This also lets me store the scraps 'color sorted' from yellow to red!  I love that Ferris Wheel stamp from Pat Catan's!  I used several different ink colors and kept stamping over the image for a more interesting effect.

But the deal is.... I have to make something to send back to C&T!  Sometimes it's sew darn hard to return things, you know what I mean, right?  I decided to make a 'bigger, better, more complex version of the little book.
You can see the final results below, and on the C&T Flickr page - along with all the other results!

printed in ink jet printer - love my fireworks!

crumpled & painted with metallic inks - notice how it stays translucent?

tried a tie-dye fold - with metallic inks again...

loving these watercolor results - the only hard part is waiting for it to dry!

acrylic paint with silver & two shades of blue - less translucent, but still has nice depth and texture!  this was slathered on rather thick, as you can see!

This was a piece that I really tortured until the two layers separated... the fiber part was soaked with watercolor wash and draped over a bottle to dry, but was very fragile while wet!  Once dry, it was terrific!

here's the finished 'album' with stored snippets.....

and a view from the front... Sweet Book!

For those who are looking for my 'newbee' paper piecing tute, I've had a little change in my schedule... you can click on the "subscribe to" icon in the left column, and get a notice in your email as soon as it's published.

Thanks for visiting with me!  Let me know if you try the mul-tex - and remember to share pictures!