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Thread: Paper Piecers: a cry for help!

  1. #1
    community benefactor Conniequilts's Avatar
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    I am new to paper piecing. This is only my second attempt. I will admit I shouldn't have printed the pattern on green paper and I should only paper piece when I have natural light to work with.

    My question: is there a trick to angles? No matter how much I mussed or fussed last night I couldn't get this to work.

    Also please ignore the fabric - after many attempts I ran out of the one fabric :(
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  2. #2
    Super Member QultingaddictUK's Avatar
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    Can you give a bit more detail as I can't see anything wrong with the angles, from here.

  3. #3
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    One thing I did was to make sure I used really oversized pieces. The other thing I have tried is to precut my piece about 1 inch larger but keeping the final shape. The trick is remembering that you are working from the back, so you need to reverse the fabric when you are finding a piece to add on. Good luck. Once I figured out the basics, I really enjoy paper piecing.

  4. #4
    Super Member scowlkat's Avatar
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    If you are talking about the pieces being too short, I was taught to measure the longest and widest part of the piece I am about to add and add one inch to the fabric.

    Also I prefold all my paper before starting to paper piece. It takes some time but is so worth it. That way you can actually fold the paper back to see if your fabric will extend far enough past the ends of the piece you are adding and allow you to adjust before stitching.

  5. #5
    community benefactor Conniequilts's Avatar
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    At the bottom (or anywhere actually, but the bottom is the worst)- you shouldn't be seeing any green :)

    Quote Originally Posted by QultingaddictUK
    Can you give a bit more detail as I can't see anything wrong with the angles, from here.

  6. #6
    Super Member QultingaddictUK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniequilts
    At the bottom (or anywhere actually, but the bottom is the worst)- you shouldn't be seeing any green :)

    Quote Originally Posted by QultingaddictUK
    Can you give a bit more detail as I can't see anything wrong with the angles, from here.
    It looks like you are cutting your pieces too small, as the previous ladies have said, cut your pieces oversize, way oversize and that should correct your problem.

  7. #7
    Super Member tomilu's Avatar
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    I had the same problem, cutting too small. You will get there!

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Agree - too small pieces - don't try to cut it in an 'exact shape' to fit.
    Also line everything up like you're going to sew on the line except 'pin sew' it on the line and then flip the fabric over to see if the piece will fill in where it should. This trick has saved me lots of unsewing! :)

    The top part looks GREAT!

  9. #9
    Super Member mommamac's Avatar
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    [quote=scowlkat Also I prefold all my paper before starting to paper piece. It takes some time but is so worth it. That way you can actually fold the paper back to see if your fabric will extend far enough past the ends of the piece you are adding and allow you to adjust before stitching.[/quote]

    This is what I find most useful - only I prefold one line at a time - the line I will be sewing on next. I put my new piece 1/4" above that line which is in fact the seam line - then I flip it to right side to see if all area is covered before I sew.

  10. #10
    Super Member kateyb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isnthatodd
    One thing I did was to make sure I used really oversized pieces. The other thing I have tried is to precut my piece about 1 inch larger but keeping the final shape. The trick is remembering that you are working from the back, so you need to reverse the fabric when you are finding a piece to add on. Good luck. Once I figured out the basics, I really enjoy paper piecing.
    This works for me also.

  11. #11
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I agree wit the others that you are cutting too small. when you are learning it is so important to give your self a large margin of error when cutting the pieces. One trick I learned that helped me to overcome the too small to cover mistake . .. is hold the paper up to the light and flip the fabric to where it will fold over when done.... this helps you to keep from making a error in the size and placement. Place the printed side toward you so you can see the stitch lines . I found it very helpful in teaching me to get the "flip" concept and train my brain to visualize the peice when its folded over for the next piece. I did this alot when I started , and still do it when its been awhile since my last paper peiced project. I also do it to check before the next piece to just make double sure I got it .
    When learning PP... give yourself much bigger pieces. when I first started I did not want to cut the larger preices as it was going to waste too much fabric. But I finally gave mself permission since the cost of the mistakes was getting in the way of success.

  12. #12
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    You're doing great and definitely getting the hang of it. I hold my paper up to the light and "pretend sew" and flip to see if I'm covering everything (especially the outer seam allowance). And I use big hunks o' fabric!

    You'll get it. Paper piecing is challenging.

  13. #13
    community benefactor Conniequilts's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone! I cut the material to the directions but guess I better allow extra :)

    I am also going to try the the "pin sewing" method until I get a better grasp.

    Keep the ideas, tips and hints coming, please, I will be in need of them as I progress toward bigger projects.

  14. #14
    Super Member Connie in CO's Avatar
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    You can use wash out glue stick to hold in place. :thumbup:

  15. #15
    Senior Member quiltingaz's Avatar
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    Nothing new for tips here. Looks like you are doing good job other than sizing pieces. Hang in there it gets better. I just love the precision of PP.

  16. #16
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    There is a ruler just for cutting fabric the size needed for paper piecing blocks. It's called Add Enough. It's inexpensive. It has saved me a lot of frustration.

    http://www.addaquarter.com/products.php

  17. #17
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    If you go to www.quilterscache.com there is a tutorial on paper piecing. Marcia Hohn has a lot of paper piecing patterns and I use her site a lot. The site is free and really great.

  18. #18
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    starting to paper piece you waste alot of fabric...the first attempt i made i cut off so much fabric i was very frustrated...didn't like the waste...didn't try it again for a couple years...but it got easier, and less wasteful as i got the hang of it...to start though...you need to use large pieces of fabric...the 1/4" ruler really helps (you fold the paper on the stitching line...line up the ruler and trim perfect 1/4" then you have a line to line up the next piece.
    your block looks pretty good, i see where your problem is and just use really over sized pieces until you get the hang of those angles...as you do each successive block it will be easier and easier and you will not waste so much...and really...doesn't have to be a waste...put those trimmings into a basket and use them for applique projects...or pass them on to someone who would love to be creative with them :thumbup:

  19. #19
    Super Member BonniFeltz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl
    starting to paper piece you waste alot of fabric...the first attempt i made i cut off so much fabric i was very frustrated...didn't like the waste...didn't try it again for a couple years...but it got easier, and less wasteful as i got the hang of it...to start though...you need to use large pieces of fabric...the 1/4" ruler really helps (you fold the paper on the stitching line...line up the ruler and trim perfect 1/4" then you have a line to line up the next piece.
    your block looks pretty good, i see where your problem is and just use really over sized pieces until you get the hang of those angles...as you do each successive block it will be easier and easier and you will not waste so much...and really...doesn't have to be a waste...put those trimmings into a basket and use them for applique projects...or pass them on to someone who would love to be creative with them :thumbup:
    I will always take your "trimmings" Connie. :) Reading this topic has helped me decide to try paper piecing again. I had put it off for a bit but it might be my "new technique" for 2011.

  20. #20
    Super Member lovingmama's Avatar
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    Don't give up, you can see, we all have made the same mistakes too. Be gentle on yourself, you are doing fine.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    Looks like you have a good start. Using bigger pieces of fabric should solve a lot of the issue.
    Carol Doak has several great books out on paper piecing, which may be of help to you. Maybe also check out her website. :)

  22. #22
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I've done quite a bit of paper piecing. Every once in a while you run across an angle that is so severe it's almost impossible to use a smaller piece of fabric and have it cover.

  23. #23
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I did all the above tips when I taught myself how to paper piece plus some. I purposely used see-through paper so I could see that the fabric was going to cover. I also cut up some foundations to use as templates to make sure I got the angles correct & cut large chunks to make sure I had enough fabric. Cutting up the foundations to make templates helped me the most but I hate template cutting and only resort to it for those oddball angles.

    I crease all my seam lines before I start so I can make sure the fabric will cover and I trim each seam before attaching the next piece. I also use glue instead of pins for the sub units. I will pin intersections of sub-units but I try to fold back or pull the paper out of the seam lines before I do that.

    I also had to use the see through paper or trace the lines & numbers on both sides of the paper so I wouldn't get confused.

  24. #24
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Triangles are the hardest for me, especially big ones. Everyone is right about cutting generously - I also put a couple of pins where the seam line will be - not perpendicular to it, as if I'm going to piece, but pins to mimic the stitches I'm about to make, then fold the fabric over and hold it up to the light to make sure it will actually cover what I want it to with an adequate seam allowance as well. If not I reposition and try again or cut a new piece of fabric. This saves a lot of ripped stitches.

    The more confident I become of my paper piecing, the less I have to pre-test.

  25. #25
    Senior Member adyldrop's Avatar
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    i saw a tute once that may help...she had an extra copy of her pattern that she cut apart. then she put each piece on the fabric and cut the shape with a 1/2" seam allowance. that way you won't be wasting a lot of fabric but you won't be using pieces too short either. after you sew each piece on, you trim down the seam to 1/4" to reduce the bulk.

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