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.


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