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Thread: Paper Piecing should NOT be icky...

  1. #1
    Member Granny Dean's Avatar
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    Unhappy Paper Piecing should NOT be icky...

    My friend and I are working on a spider web string quilt...got the tutorial off of Quiltville. We decided to print the pattern on the copy machine and use that paper as foundation. When we tear out the pieces of paper...the stitches come undone... yes, we shortened the stitches. I am used to using muslin as foundation for string quilts....but since this pattern requires more precision and we feel we need the foundation...can we put the quilt together and then soak off the paper afterwards. Any help would be appreciated...thanks...

    Granny Dean

  2. #2
    Super Member JJean's Avatar
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    Copy paper may be too heavy. I have not made a spider web string quilt yet but have made 2 string quilts. Both times I used phone book paper--which is light weight. Another option is to use a very light weight non fusible interfacing and not tear it off but leave it in place.
    Jean

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I would moisten the stitching with a cotton swab or cloth, to make it easier. I would be reluctant to want to deal with a whole quilt top all at once, and the pressing that will have to follow to get the seams laying flat again.

  4. #4
    Super Member Onebyone's Avatar
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    Try pulling the seam in opposite directions while holding it. That will release the paper from the seam.

    I use lightweight vellum. It doesn't leave bits and pieces and tears from the seam easy. I've tried all the papers and vellum is the best if especially if you are doing a lot of blocks.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Hemlock Tea's Avatar
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    I use phone book paper for my string blocks- there are always a stack of them around at work that no one uses (need a phone number? just Google it!). If I need more precision I use printable foundation papers- pricier but I buy them when I have 40% off coupons or when quilting notions are half off at Joann. They even make some that dissolve, but I keep larger pieces of the tear-away to use again for smaller projects.
    QMFAO

  6. #6
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Try folding the paper on the preforation made by the seam and running your fingernail along the crease of the fold prior to tearing. I have found this gets it to release much better. You may also wish to decrease your stitch length even more. You want it to be really small. I am talking small that if you go to unsew it is a complete and utter pain in the patoot. Your stitching should not be coming undone that easily, even with copier paper.

  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Can you shorten your stitches anymore?
    I use the shortest stitch my machine will allow and use regular printer paper.
    A gentle tug and it comes off, without bothering the stitches, one little bit!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  8. #8
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    Try folding the paper on the preforation made by the seam and running your fingernail along the crease of the fold prior to tearing. I have found this gets it to release much better. You may also wish to decrease your stitch length even more. You want it to be really small. I am talking small that if you go to unsew it is a complete and utter pain in the patoot. Your stitching should not be coming undone that easily, even with copier paper.
    That's exactly what I do! Don't have any problem removing paper.
    Bernie

  9. #9
    Super Member calla's Avatar
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    I have used printer paper here at home, I too shorten the stitch length, and in addition I fold the paper at the stitching line that seems to weaken the paper sometimes I have to do it a couple of times...........but works fine...............calla

  10. #10
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    Absolutely the best way! And if you use freezer paper, you can "iron" it onto the back of the fabric. And can use it many times over if you want.

    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    Try folding the paper on the preforation made by the seam and running your fingernail along the crease of the fold prior to tearing. I have found this gets it to release much better. You may also wish to decrease your stitch length even more. You want it to be really small. I am talking small that if you go to unsew it is a complete and utter pain in the patoot. Your stitching should not be coming undone that easily, even with copier paper.
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  11. #11
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    I use the cheapest copy paper I can find, and don't usually have a problem with the stitches coming out, but another suggestion I have, since you have shortened the stitch length, is to perforate the paper before stitching, then go ahead and sew your fabrics on. You don't say how much you shortened your stitch length, so that might be another possibility. My machine's automatic length is 2.8, I shorten it to 1.5.

  12. #12
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    This is a subject that has lots of opinions. A lot of people say they use copy paper with no problem. Every time I tried to use this paper with all the proper stitch adjustments and pulling the block a little to stretch the paper abit to tear it away from the seam, It always loosened the stitching. I find copy paper just to thick for PP. There are some things I feel I just have to spend money on. PP paper is one of them. It is like tracing paper and tears away very easily from the stitching with no problem. Please do not wet the paper trying to remove it. You will have a paper mash mess.

    Try running a chop stick along the edge of the stitching to pre- tear the paper then gently pull the finished block (like stretching it VERY GENTLY). this should help to remove the paper.

    I also use a seam ripper to gently work out the little pieces that stick in the corners of stitching intersections.
    Hope this helps a little. Don't give up.
    Stitch length = 1.5
    peace
    Last edited by ube quilting; 04-19-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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  13. #13
    Super Member bibliostone's Avatar
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    I use copy paper, however, I never shorten my stitches. That just grabs the paper tighter. Also, I start tearing the paper in the middle and go towards the ends.
    http://s1212.photobucket.com/user/bibliostone/library/
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  14. #14
    Senior Member texpat45's Avatar
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    I use copy/printer paper - have never done muslin - and don't shorten my stitches. I run my fingertip under the paper along the seam line or use a letter opener, my Purple Thang or even a table knife and have never had a problem.
    Pat from Texas

    "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."

  15. #15
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    I have an ongoing Spiderweb scrap quilt from Quiltville that I am working on. I used the telephone pages for the triangle section and a dab of glue on the center triangle to hold it in place. I stitch and flip out my scraps until the triangle telephone paper is covered and then trim the excess off with a rotary cutter and ruler. I pulled off a couple of my blocks after stitching and the t. paper came out really well. I did use a shortened stitch length. I only pulled the paper out of a couple because I want to leave the paper in until I sew all the sections together. I think it will help with any bias edges and be more accurate. One word of caution about t. paper, I was careful not to use steam on my finished blocks as I didn't want to chance the ink transferring to my fabric.

  16. #16
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    I use regular copy paper & do not shorten the stitch from the machine's default of 2.5. After stitching, I fold the paper at the stitching line. Then I run the back of my seam ripper along the stitching line to 'cut' through the paper. I gently pull the paper along the line to get it off. If there are any little bits of paper still caught under the stitching, I gently use tweezers to pry the paper out from under the stitches. I've never had a problem with the stitches tearing.

  17. #17
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    spritz, run a metal nail file next to the stitches, and tear it off! don't worry about the tiny bits in the seams if your stitches are so loose they are pulling out!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramajo View Post
    I use regular copy paper & do not shorten the stitch from the machine's default of 2.5. After stitching, I fold the paper at the stitching line. Then I run the back of my seam ripper along the stitching line to 'cut' through the paper. I gently pull the paper along the line to get it off. If there are any little bits of paper still caught under the stitching, I gently use tweezers to pry the paper out from under the stitches. I've never had a problem with the stitches tearing.
    you really should use a smaller stitch...to make up the thickness of the paper, once you remove your paper, your stitches will be too large and gaping!

  19. #19
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I had the exact same issue when I first started PPing. First I switched to vellum and was much happier because it tears easier. Then I switched techniques and now I use the fold-and-stitch method - no ripping! Instead of stitching the line on the paper, fold the paper on that line and stitch right next to it. Trim with an add-a-quarter ruler and you're done. Vellum works great for this technique because you can see through it, so you can see if you're folding on the line.

  20. #20
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Granny Dean,

    Yes, you surely can soak the blocks in warm water. I use copy paper also and it works perfectly well when I soak it. Give it a try, you will be pleased (I hope.) But I recently tried a method I learned on this board from Peckish. She told of folding the paper on the line and stitching right next to it. That way the paper is never attached to the fabric. I do us a bit of glue to hold the pieces I am sewing though. I find that using pins distorts the fabric. Good luck and please share with us a pic of the finished product.

    WHOOPS!! I just looked at the post above mine and guess what. It's from Peckish. So you are in good hands now. She is a pro.
    Kitsy

  21. #21
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    Wow, you have a lot of great suggestions. I stitch the paper on the lines without any thread before adding the fabric. I like to fold on the line and trim the seam each time I add a new fabric.... then, it tears off pretty easily as well. I don't shorten my stitch much.

    I think you might stretch your block out of size if you do too much pulled on the paper.... Good luck.

  22. #22
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    I've done printer paper for years and years and never had a problem except for losing patience with the process. I now sit outside with a glass of wine and do the removal! makes it much less tedious.

  23. #23
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Newsprint is a less dense paper than copy paper, can be cut to fit your printer, and is more easily removable.
    legendarycandles.com
    Just discovered I qualify for FABLE (Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy)

  24. #24
    Senior Member MdmSew'n'Sew's Avatar
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    I use re-cycled copier paper all the time for pp'ing, use a very small stitch and make sure I crease the paper when I fold it back to trim the seam allowance - even if the seam allowance is okay and no trimming is needed, I fold the paper back and run my finger on the line, then un-fold it and start with the next step. Even with tiny intricate pieces I never have a problem with getting the paper off, a pin stuck in a point or corner will start the paper to tear if it doesn't pop out with a gentle twist and my stitches are intact.
    He who cuts his own wood is warmed twice, but she who makes her own quilt is warmed forever - SLR 11/7/2011

  25. #25
    Super Member ljptexas's Avatar
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    I love, love PP! Am using foundation paper from Carol Doak. Its lasted a long time & was cheap. I use 2.5 or 2.0 stitch. Tearing out is the most tedious.
    Oh, just read Tartan's tip on not using steam in case ink transfers... Good tip!
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