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Thread: Foundation piecing is too hard for me

  1. #26
    QM
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    Power Poster QM's Avatar
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    Paper piecing is just one form of foundation piecing. It can be frustrating at first, but gets easier fast. The New York Beauty BOM thread on this site has good ideas for starting.

  2. #27
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    Hang in there. I tried for years to figure it out from books and just could not understand. Then a friend of mine came over and showed me step by step and it finally clicked. It clicked so well that I improved on the method that she'd been taught on Quilt University. And like other posters, every time I start a new one I have to re-learn until it clicks again.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn View Post
    You will have beautiful points!!! I can't do a log cabin block or courthouse steps without paper piecing them. Otherwise, they become WONKY log cabin blocks!!!
    Same here!

  4. #29
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    You have my sympathy. I just don't "get" paper piecing. I have had a couple of good quilt buddy coaches and even tried Carol Doak's tutorials. When I left a comment on her blog about how hard it was even trying to follow her well laid out steps, I got a personal phone call from Carol offering help. The phone call was great but I still can't paper piece.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  5. #30
    Super Member Colbaltjars62's Avatar
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    Jcrow,

    I feel your pain, but I do have a suggestion for you. Quiltingnonie (QB member) Is a friend of mine and she is a very good paper piece/ foundation blocker and quilter. I don't know where in Oregon you are, but I bet if you PM'd her, she could help you out.
    She has entered some of her quilts in shows and if you see them before sandwiching and quilting you would be amazed at how the back of her quilts look. She is also an Awesome and Talented person and a good friend.
    I hope that this helps.
    One of your Oregon Neighbors..
    Last edited by Colbaltjars62; 10-03-2012 at 05:39 AM.
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    Faith :-D

  6. #31
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    Learning to foundation/paper piece on the machine is a bit like getting used to a new sewing machine. With a bit of practice and persistence you open up a whole new world of quilt making. Since I mostly do smaller projects like wall hangings etc. it doesn't seem like a chore. I love the sharp points and accurate looking finished quilt. I learned from Carol Doak and she is the master but there are many other patterns out there. When I am interested in a specific pattern I try to find out if there is a PP pattern or could be done as one. Happy Paper Piecing

  7. #32
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    I've never tried foundation piecing, but I agree with you about the waste when I paper piece. If I cut the pieces close to the size I need, I always manage to get it sewed on wonky and then it's too small. I love the end result, though, as well as the precision it provides.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by saf View Post
    I hate wasting fabric expecially since I am now on a limited income. When I am doing paper piecing I always print out an extra copy of the block. I cut this into the individual shapes and use these to measure and cut the pieces for sewing onto the pattern paper. Paper piecing gives me lovely sharp points and makes sewing smaller pieces much easier and I don't feel that I am being wasteful.
    Ah! Great idea! Thank you!

    And I have to echo the comments about Carol Doaks and her video. I purchased the video at JoAnn with a coupon a couple of years ago and it's great -- as are the "add a quarter" and "add an eighth" rulers.

  9. #34
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    I'm not sure if foundation piecing and paper piecing are the same thing, but after two pp classes and a guild challenge block I can firmly state that pp and I are not going to be friends. Ever. I just don't get it. I love how it looks and admire anyone that can do it and enjoys it. Maybe someday I'll try it again. BIG maybe.

  10. #35
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    I had to take a class to learn PP. The class served me well. I can go a year or more without doing it and it comes right back to me immediately. My knowledge in PP allowed me to teach myself the freezer paper method from a book that a previous poster mentioned, which is another great variation on the technique and allowed me to make mariner's compass blocks. I would not attempt MC, nor NYB nor any countless other blocks where precision is necessary without PP, be it the foundation PP method or the freezer paper method where you fold the paper back and sew next to it.

    There is much to be said for a real live person in the flesh showing you how to do it and working through the mental blocks with you until it clicks. JCrow, I recommend you find a class in your area and take it. I think you will save yourself untold amounts of frustration by taking a class with a real live person who you can ask for assistance more than any book, dvd, you-tube video etc.

    JMHO.

  11. #36
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    When one sews fabric pieces on to a design printed on paper (paper-piecing), that is just one type of foundation piecing.

  12. #37
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    Try http://www.fandominstitches.com

    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    This month's Craftsy's free BOM is foundation piecing and I'm finding it very frustrating. I'm seeming to be wasting a lot of fabric. She says to cut the fabric 1/2" bigger than the piece calls for, but when I go to cut the extra, I cut 2" or more off. And yesterday, it took me all day to make one block. One 12 1/2" block. Foundation piecing is hard! Am I doing something wrong? Now I have to make the second foundation block and it is twice as hard as the first one and I'm not looking forward to doing it. Are there any short cuts? Any tips? I'm not having fun paper piecing and I want to enjoy it. It's my first attempt and maybe my last.

  13. #38
    Senior Member rural01's Avatar
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    Jeanne, I'm getting ready to do that block too. This will be my 3rd attempt at paper piecing. I had the same reaction as you the first time. The second time gets easier. Third time I didn't even have to use my seam ripper. The part that threw me the most was pre-cutting the pieces. Whenever there are triangles, forget it. I have a mental block when it comes to triangles. It does seem to be a waste of fabric at first, but the better you get at it, the less a waste it will be. I generally go to my scraps for these blocks. They generally use itsy bits of fabric. These pieces are a little bigger though. I am somewhere between I hate it and I can't wait to do it again. I can almost see where paper piecing does have a distinct purpose, in that it is an easier way to make precision blocks that look really complicated. Good luck to you--in fact, to both of us. :-)

  14. #39
    Super Member busy fingers's Avatar
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    You are doing nothing wrong. It is a hard method at first but stick with it. It took me 2 years of "hit and miss" before I spent a whole weekend doing nothing else until I got my head around it and pretty much mastered it.

    There are some excellent you-tube videos on the method. Have a google.

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    I have NOT done the class yet. I have not done PP or foundation piecing, but I did recently purchase a set of PP butterfly patterns at a recent sewing expo (a lot of fun if you can go to one, btw). I looked at the itty bitty pieces and decided, know what?! Find a pattern with large pieces to play with first.

    A lot of the ladies in these parts have gotten enthralled with the fairy quilting godmother patterns on the web. I'm not overly enthused, but perhaps one day when I run out of things I really want to do. Someone wanted to have a class to make one of them as a first experience in paper piecing. No way, Jose! At least not for me. It's like learning to crochet -- get the fattest yarn (without all the fru fru on it) & biggest hook to start off -- not the teeny sewing thread size crochet thread and a miniscule hook. That is an exercise in frustration and futility.

    I agree that Marci Baker is wonderful and Carol Doak seems like the way to go. Try a block with large pieces and fewer of them, then progress. JMHO and remember I'm totally unexperienced in PP.

    Don't be so hard on yourself, either. First time rarely ever turns out great, regardless of what it is.

  16. #41
    Super Member quiltingnonie's Avatar
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    ALWAYS place fabric piece #1 right sides up on the back side of paper pattern. Every piece thereafter is placed right sides down. Always check the new piece you put down that when you open it after stitching it is covering the section you want covered. (I have taught pp'ing, and I would say that is the #1 mistake for beginners) It is also helpful to place a pin vertically at the start of the stitch line, and one at the end. Insert the pins from the printed side of the paper, flip over and put your fabric over the pin points...that way you make sure you are covering the whole area plus the added amount for the seam allowance. When adding a piece that will be an "edge piece", make sure your fabric extends over the outside edges to allow for the 1/4" seam allowance needed to sew blocks together.
    Last edited by quiltingnonie; 10-03-2012 at 06:58 PM.
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  17. #42
    Senior Member Pepita's Avatar
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    I agree with those that stuck with it. I have paper pieced some blocks for a quilt, and as mentioned, all points are perfect, and it all goes together perfectly. However, it is time consuming. While at my lqs they were preparing for a shop hop, and each shop had to make all the blocks. The owner told me it was taking a day to make 1-2 blocks, she was frustrated, in that she had to get it done, but had so much other things to do as well.

    I think sticking with it allows you to choose many more blocks. You may just want a few in a quilt. I took a course at the quilt festival from Pepper Cory. 1/2 the blocks were paper pieced and the other 1/2 were pieced. I am really glad I didn't let the paper piecing stop me from taking the course. By the way if you get a chance to take a class from her, I think you will like it. She is very professional, and comes well equipped to teach and help you succeed.
    Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. Mark Twain

  18. #43
    Super Member Bluelady's Avatar
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    I love paper piecing and the accuracy it gives my blocks. But I can tell you, if I only cut my pieces a 1/2 inch larger than needed, I would be constantly redoing my blocks! For me that just isnt large enough to cover if the fabric moves a bit or I dont line it up perfect. I cut about a 3/4 inch wider on each side, sometimes an inch wider. I get probably waste a lot of fabric, BUT I think wasting it by cutting the pieces too small to begin with is worse.

  19. #44
    Super Member Anael's Avatar
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    I've seen the block and if it's the first time ever you do PP it's not an easy block to do. I would start with an easy one and as said before, print an extra copy and use that to cut out your pieces. Good luck! I didn't love PP at first either but now I prefer PP
    Eat, quilt, sleep, repeat



  20. #45
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    I found, when I first started paper-piecing, that it REALLY helped to ignore the direction to cut your pieces 1/2 bigger than the pattern area. I went significantly larger than that (and still used very, very little fabric) and had no problems covering the entire pattern area and then cutting to the 1/4 inch seam. Although I've not had to do this, I have also heard someone say that they take a colored marker and mark over all of the lines that MUST NOT be cut, and that this helps them avoid the mistake of inadvertantly cutting off the 1/4 inch seam allowance.
    Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most!

  21. #46
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    Hang in there. I too had trouble with it but once I set my mind to figuring it out it isn't so bad. I was surprised that the online lesson didn't seem as detailed as previous lessons. I promise you if you focus on it it will come to you. I think the advice to go online and watch some youtube videos is a great one. It helped me with the "learning curve". Don't give up Good luck!

  22. #47
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    I am taking Judy Niemeyer Class and it is paper piecing. This is my first try at it and I to get very fustrated but I'm learing to like it because it is so precise. One day I had an AH Ha Moment for the part I was working on but there are lots of pieces to it so I could be working on this quilt for a while. I think I will try Carol Doaks book and the cards that were mentioned.
    Texas raised, Texas Proud

  23. #48
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    Thanks for asking this question! The replies in this thread are so helpful. I've been wanting to try PP because as a relatively new quilter, I still don't get the precision that I'd like. But PP seems intimidating (I haven't even tried this month's Craftsy blocks!). I'm going to dive into Carol Doak's website and book and see if I can swim. Keep us posted on how you do!

  24. #49
    Senior Member petpainter's Avatar
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    [I]took my first paper piecing class last week with Linda Hahn and her New York Beauty. It took about 45 minutes to "get" flipping the paper over, but after that-everyone left early because they got it. Its copied on a the green packaged
    foundation paper from EQ7, it stays in the quilt- feels like a very soft interfacing. I was so excited I already have my fabric picked out for the next one. There is waste with them, but she has patterns for the mini versions that the scraps work perfect with. You use ONE pin, and nobody messed up. It's a great technique. I'm very interested to learn about Carol Doak's technique and see the difference. I am a new quilter, too. I say give it another shot after stepping away, but someone else s technique may work better for you!

  25. #50
    Member GrannyFitz4's Avatar
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    My first attempt at paper piecing was a Judy Neimeir class. She is a good instructer, but I was clueless. When I went home, I tried again and again. Finally I got it after lots of wasted material and ripped seams. Now it is my favorite method of piecing. My advice is do not give up. If I can do it, you certainly can.

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