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Thread: Paper piecing question - fabric waster?

  1. #1
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    Paper piecing question - fabric waster?

    I have finally figured out how to paper piece, and did a few blocks that came out pretty well. However, I seem to waste quite a bit of fabric, because if I don't cut each piece bigger than it needs to be I end up with edges not covering. Do you have hints on how to limit the waste or is this just one of the things you accept about this? Any other advice about paper piecing welcome!
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I think that is just what happens with paper piecing - If it truly bothers you then save the scraps and use them as stuffing for a pillow. I don't have any suggestions - haven't done a lot of it myself but do have a Judy Niemeyer pattern to do - just have to find it again!!

  3. #3
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    A lot of patterns come with instructions that tell you what to cut for each block. As you get more used to it, you will waste less fabric. I also use pieces from my scrap pile to do paper piecing. These are pieces that are too small or odd shaped to do traditional blocks.

  4. #4
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    In my experience, there is a large amount of waste with paper piecing. I have found that I can minimize the waste by not cutting my fabric pieces smaller than about 3-4" wide by 6-8" long at the beginning. This way you sort of "nibble" away at each fabric piece without pre-cutting it into shapes that are inevitably almost-but-not-quite the right size. The downside to this approach is that it makes assembly-line piecing of multiple similar blocks awkward, because you have large and floppy bits of fabric hanging off your foundation until you finally trim the last edges.

    I like the idea of the confetti quilt/fusible foundation block use for all of the little cut off scraps (here).

    Alison

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Paper piecing does use more fabric than regular piecing, but some patterns will tell you what size to cut for each piece to keep the waste more manageable.

  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    That used to bother me ... til I accepted that it was a small price to pay for the precision pointy-points and straight seams and square corners and ............. Do I need to go on?
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  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Carol Doak's books with CD will have what size to cut each piece. I love that feature. I also have this ruler and it solves the weird angle sizes: http://www.addaquarter.com/pdfs/adde...structions.pdf

    I bought it here: http://www.addaquarter.com/products.php
    Got fabric?

  8. #8
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    Yes, waste is a definite by product of the process. But some blocks/quilts just need to be done that way. And as others have mentioned, the more proficient you become with the process, the less waste eventually.

  9. #9
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    Since I mostly use smaller pieces of fabric from my scraps boxes I don't worry much about the waste. At least I'm using up those smaller pieces and they aren't going to waste. Well, they won't go to WASTE, but some of them sit for years before they get used up. I have boxes for most colors and anything smaller than a FQ goes in them. Really small scraps go into bags that I plan to use for a crumb quilt when I get a few more UFOs finished.

    I love PP for the great points, etc. like others have said but I like them because they work for so many things, .......sailboats for a little boy's quilt, elephants on a baby quilt, etc. They are fun to do.

  10. #10
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    You can reduce waste by measuring the widest piece you will need and then cut strips a little bigger. Strips are handier to work with than chunks. Occasionally you will need to re-cut if you have a weird angle triangle but the strips work best for me. Waste is just the "nature of the beast".

  11. #11
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    The more you paperpiece the easier it becomes to judge the size to cut. Except for those elongated diamonds--I always cut them too short. I also have a large apothecary jar I throw all the odd shaped scraps in and use them as needed for smaller pieces. I love the precision of pp-ing. I will also NEVER use all the fabric in my collection (it's too small to be called a stash) unless I live to 114 years old. No guilt about some waste.
    Imagine all the people living life in peace...(John Lennon 1940-1980)

  12. #12
    Super Member snipforfun's Avatar
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    Carol Doaks patterns include directions what size to cut each piece. I dont think I could do a pattern where I had to figure out the size myself.

  13. #13
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janRN View Post
    The more you paperpiece the easier it becomes to judge the size to cut. Except for those elongated diamonds--I always cut them too short. I also have a large apothecary jar I throw all the odd shaped scraps in and use them as needed for smaller pieces. I love the precision of pp-ing. I will also NEVER use all the fabric in my collection (it's too small to be called a stash) unless I live to 114 years old. No guilt about some waste.
    (JanNRN ....can you tell I am smiiiiiiiiling??)
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  14. #14
    Super Member ppquilter's Avatar
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    Love paperpiecing, perfect points! Worth alittle waste!
    Born to Quilt, Forced to work.

  15. #15
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Once you're a bit more experienced, you will teach yourself tips and tricks to reduce waste. For instance, I make an extra copy or two of the block pattern, and cut out each section with an extra 1/4" all around. I mark the sections so I know which way goes up, and use them as templates for cutting fabric. I make one test block first, to make sure everything is covered.

    Hope this helps.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Sideways's Avatar
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    I LOVE to paper piece. Once you get going with a project it is pretty much easy going!! Alex Anderson's book gives you specific size directions. Once you do a few you can pretty much tell how big you need to make each piece. I love collecting scraps that nobody else wants for miniature paper piecing blocks. I never feel like I'm wasting that much fabric at all
    Never met a scrap of fabric or vintage sewing machine I didn't like!
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  17. #17
    Super Member Anael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    Once you're a bit more experienced, you will teach yourself tips and tricks to reduce waste. For instance, I make an extra copy or two of the block pattern, and cut out each section with an extra 1/4" all around. I mark the sections so I know which way goes up, and use them as templates for cutting fabric. I make one test block first, to make sure everything is covered.

    Hope this helps.
    That's what I do too except making a test block. I never do that, I jump right in
    Eat, quilt, sleep, repeat



  18. #18
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    The only reason I make a test block first is because once I pre-cut all my pieces, then discovered that I had flipped one piece the wrong way and alllll the fabric I had cut was wrong. Boo hoooooo!

  19. #19
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanna-up-north View Post
    Since I mostly use smaller pieces of fabric from my scraps boxes I don't worry much about the waste. At least I'm using up those smaller pieces and they aren't going to waste. Well, they won't go to WASTE, but some of them sit for years before they get used up. I have boxes for most colors and anything smaller than a FQ goes in them. Really small scraps go into bags that I plan to use for a crumb quilt when I get a few more UFOs finished.

    I love PP for the great points, etc. like others have said but I like them because they work for so many things, .......sailboats for a little boy's quilt, elephants on a baby quilt, etc. They are fun to do.
    I agree with nanna-up-north. I generally use pieces from my scrap bin so the waste is minimal. I just dislike having to remove all that paper from the back especially when they are tiny pieces !! YUCK !!
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  20. #20
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    visit Carol Doak's web site- she has great tips, help to teach you to cut your fabrics so you have a minimum amount of waste. it is possible to paper piece without wasting a lot of fabric
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    Once you're a bit more experienced, you will teach yourself tips and tricks to reduce waste. For instance, I make an extra copy or two of the block pattern, and cut out each section with an extra 1/4" all around. I mark the sections so I know which way goes up, and use them as templates for cutting fabric. I make one test block first, to make sure everything is covered.

    Hope this helps.
    I do the same, but probably leave a little more than 1/4 inch. Having the template is a big help. My scrap pile from paper piecing is very small.

  22. #22
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    Depending on the size of the waste you can use it for pillows like Nammie to 7 suggested, or possibly on an applique or for that small corner or even a crazy quilt for a doll bed.

  23. #23
    Senior Member petpainter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideways View Post
    I LOVE to paper piece. Once you get going with a project it is pretty much easy going!! Alex Anderson's book gives you specific size directions. Once you do a few you can pretty much tell how big you need to make each piece. I love collecting scraps that nobody else wants for miniature paper piecing blocks. I never feel like I'm wasting that much fabric at all
    I took a NY Beauty class from Linda Hahn, and she also has a miniature NYB pattern that you could use all the scraps for- it was a brilliant idea!

  24. #24
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    Carol Doak's has a YouTube video you can watch that gives lots of tips on pp. You should check it out. You might waste less if you watch it. I love to pp after watching her DVD that auntiepigglyn sent me. The YouTube video is almost identical to the DVD. She has some cool tricks. I don't waste too much fabric now that I found Carol Doak's DVD (YouTube video).
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  25. #25
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    There is some wastage but the results are worth it. How else can you get such neat points and do such intricate designs. Save your pieces in a pile of that color and watch for a place you can use them smaller pieces. Also using an add a 1/4 inch ruler will help save fabric. This ruler is really a must for paper piecers. I would not be without one. I do a lot of paper piecing and the small amount of wastage is worth the results.

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