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Topic: SERIOUS help needed with Paper Piecing  (Read 2824 times)
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« on: January 19, 2009 06:43:24 PM »

Okay, I LOVE this quilt.  My cousin is pregnant and I would love to make a version of this for her shower.  She is using Pottery Barn Kids Airplane Bedding in the nursery, so I thought this would be complimentary without being matchy-matchy.  She's obviously not going to use this in the crib, but if she wants to throw it over the rocker or take it places for the baby to play on, it would work well.  I also wanted it to be something that the baby would use in childhood as well, so I'm going with a 60"x60" generous crib size.

Anyway, I've pieced blocks for one other project, and that was all triangles and squares, with a very straightforward assembly.  I'm quite confused with this one though.  I get that I sew piece 1 to 2 and then 2 to 3, and so on, but it's the actual paper piecing that I'm not clear on.  I've viewed the following tutorials:


Obviously there are so many different techniques out there, so I think I've gone and made myself even more confused.  I need serious help deciding which technique would be best for THIS block, and then at least where to start.  Obviously, I'm going to practice on scrap fabric, and I have until the middle of February, but any and all help anyone can offer would be GREATLY appreciated!
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2009 07:19:49 PM »

contact angelbum she is the master paper piecer! and I know she has done that block! Smiley

« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2009 07:51:14 AM »

I would say the first tip is that "freezer paper piecing" and "paper piecing" are not the same thing.

"Freezer paper piecing" is much like regular piecing except that the pattern is temporarily attached to the fabric. You sew on the edge of the paper.

"Paper piecing" is totally different. With "paper piecing" you layer the paper and the fabric then sew through both of them - actually sewing on the paper. I think the second link you have (that showes the bug jar) best demonstrates the technique. One important difference is the bug jar pattern has the seam allowance between the two paper patterns already added. The star block doesn't.

It may not be very clear but with the star block you are going to cut the "block" into 5 pieces. You will "paper piece" each of those 5 paper sections. Then you will sew those 5 sections together. When you cut the paper apart the seam allowance won't be there so you need trim the sections with an extra 1/4" along each edge. I would probably cut one paper pattern apart then redraw/trace each section to add the 1/4" to the paper. Make copies of that then you don't have to worry about the seam allowance.

I would also add that that is not the easiest paper pieced pattern because sewning those 5 sections together involves some slight angles. Most "paper pieced" patterns are done entirely with straight seams.
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2009 03:00:36 PM »

Before committing yourself or investing in any job, try it out first.  Print out a basic pattern to PP.  Here's a simple one:
to make this:

Make at least 4 and then attach them together.  (You can use them later in a scrappy sampler to give away.)  Once you have made a few, you can see how difficult/easy it is and if you really want to do more than that.  I also recommend that you make one block of the actual pattern you plan to use before making any fabric purchases. 
Part of this process is "ironing" the crease after each seam.  I usually use my nails but 1/2 of a clothes pin works great too.  Don't expect your first 3 blocks to look anything other than dismal.  The first three things you cooked were probably pretty pathetic too.  After that, no problem.
Here is one I made.  Each block has over 70 individual pieces of fabric.  Each one took me a little over an hour and lots of aggravation.  I didn't make more than one each day and the quilt was intended to be bigger. 

« Last Edit: January 27, 2009 10:45:41 AM by jungrrl - Reason: Please do not hotlink images - thanks! » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Here's my stuff:


Are you making a selvage quilt?  I have some to share. PM me.
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2009 08:54:25 PM »

I second the idea of pulling a simple paper pieced pattern and seeing by example how it works - there's a huge difference between looking at it and being confused by the drawing and actually doing it - and I usually find it easier to just jump right in, and usually there's a good logic to how it's put together.

I also second the idea of "exploding" the drawing - essentially cutting it out, adding the seam allowances, and tracing it onto something like template plastic. then photocopy the design itself so you have your stitching lines, however many times you need for each block.

That being said, I find those instructions *exceptionally* confusing myself, and I've got a fair bit of experience with paper piecing. I'm lucky in that the UTtERLY INSANE paper pieced quilt I'm working on (it's here under cathedral garden) did some nifty design work to essentially build in the seam allowances.)

I'm going to *try* to explain it as best I can, so bear with me

Lay piece one face up on the WRONG SIDE paper, with the seam allowances essentially covering the 'lines", going over them by a uniform 1/4". Pin it. Lay piece 2 face down, matching up the connecting seam with piece one (this gives you your seam allowance.), overlapping it almost entirely - what you want to match up is the adjoining seam, the one between piece 1 and piece 2, so that when you fold it OPEN after sewing it'll overlap where piece 2 is indicated. (you can pin along the line to test to make sure it'll open right)  Pin it to both piece 1 and the paper.  Flip it over, and sew along the line. this ties the piece to the paper and to the first piece. If you've done it al properly, when you make it such that both piece 1 and piece 2 are right side up, they will cover the areas indicated to be piece 1 and piece 2. then take piece 3 (which is weird, because in this one, there's multiple pieces marked 1 and 2... which is where I get all confused), and do the same thing again - line up the seams, sew along the line, fold open.

I HOPE i've explained it clearly.
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2009 10:15:46 AM »

Thanks anaixmander!  I've decided to scrap this idea for this particular gift, but I do still want to attempt the quilt eventually, because I do think it's just a perfect blend of traditional, modern, and quirky.  I will definitely refer back to your instructions when I finally decide to give it a try!
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2009 09:44:13 PM »

Hey Keeperrox,

Sorry for the late reply, I had no idea I had a pm until tonight. The new layout doesn't seem to show new messages unless you specifically go in to look -  Embarrassed

Yeah, if you've never paper pieced before, definitely familiarize yourself with the process with a tutorial. I posted one on here somewhere, and I also posted a learning to paper piece tutorial and a more advanced pp tutorial on my blog. All done with photos to make the explanation more clear. I find I need pictures!

This star block is not terribly straighforward when it comes to sewing it together, as the seams are not one straight line. What I ended up doing was pinning and sewing up to the inner point, unpinning, pinning the rest of the edge (after the point) and sewing that. Mind you for my quilt square I shrank the pattern down by more than 50% so my pieces were ridiculously tiny.

Anyhoo, good luck with your quilt, I'm sure it'll look wonderful whatever you choose to do!


« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009 07:14:02 PM »

Forget the paper piecing, you can do it as just machine quilting.  They come together nicely.  So long as you draw your seam allowance on and don't sew everything straight.  Trust me Smiley
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