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Thread: paper piecing - union jack - Frustrated

  1. #1
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I got into quilting last month! was because I had seen a fantastic quilt online made out of union jacks.
    To get me started on quilting I am in the process of doing a simple 9 patch quilt and I am enjoying doing it. However, in the back of my mind is that union jack quilt that would be perfect for my sons, especially as we are all British.

    But last night in my wisdom I was blog hopping and came across that gorgeous quilt again. I would love to make it but everywhere I look I just can't find the pattern for it. So I came across an asterix (astericks - spelling unsure) pattern and this morning I adapted it and started trying to make a union jack, 5 attempts later and I still can't do it! It turned out very wonky and uneven, lots of unpicking happened. So I gave up on that, I had another search and found a paper piecing pattern on twin sisters for for the union jack. Thinking this would at least make sure everything is straight and lined up, which my previous attempt wasn't I had a go. I printed the pattern out even though its much smaller than i wanted, I thought that at least if I could do a practise then I could always enlarge the pattern. So I have now had 2 attemps at it and I just don't get paper piecing and I am so confused and frustrated................I have looked at youtube examples and I still don't get it.

    Has anyone else ever made a union jack flag block by paper piecing? Any suggestions, ideas. Maybe this is one block I should save for another time.

    Thanks for the moan, frustrated :cry:

  2. #2

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    i searched for this, to no avail. does it go by another name?

  3. #3
    Super Member mommamac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyscrappy
    i searched for this, to no avail. does it go by another name?
    ttp://www.fourtwinsisters.com/quiltpatterns/2006/union_jack.pdf

    Is this the one? At what point does it gets confusing for you? Don't give up - there are people on board who can help

  4. #4

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    ok, i saw the block, it doesn't seem to look difficult. maybe you just need to take a break. if you live near west allis, i might be able to help you out!

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  6. #6
    Senior Member squilter's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Senior Member PWinston's Avatar
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    Since you have never paper pieced before, maybe you should practice on something simpler first. Here is a tutorial for a very simple square in a square. Try it, your frustration level will be lower and you'll get some experience before going back to the Union Jack. Good luck.

    http://www.quilterscache.com/StartQu...tingthree.html

  8. #8
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    When starting out don't cut your pieces of fabric too small, keep them much bigger than needed then trim them to size, better to waste some fabric then to unpick all the time. If you post some pictures maybe someone will be able to help.

  9. #9
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    The pattern really isn't that difficult, but since you're new to quilting I really don't recommend it. It also seems to be a technique that you will love or hate. I definitely think you should check out Quilter's Cache site or Carol Doak's site. If you want it bigger, you can take it to an office supply store and they should be able to enlarge it for you.

  10. #10
    pookie ookie's Avatar
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    Try paper piecing at least three other blocks prior to your first UJ test. It really does require a bit of leap to go from zero experience to the flag.

    Simple examples like a pine tree or the quilters cache example above are step number one.

    Don't give up! Your ambition is on your side. Try again from the beginning and you'll be a happy paper piecer in no time.

  11. #11
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    Thanks ladies, I think I will try something a little easier, and it is the block that everyone is posting so maybe just a little too confusing for me at the moment. I will try again when I have had a go at something else THANK YOU ALL

  12. #12
    Super Member AnnieH's Avatar
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    What a helpful bunch you are. I've bookmarked the paper-piecing tute. Many thanks.

  13. #13
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyscrappy
    ok, i saw the block, it doesn't seem to look difficult. maybe you just need to take a break. if you live near west allis, i might be able to help you out!
    I don't but thanks for the offer

    :-D

  14. #14
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    Try Log Cabin, Courthouse Steps, Pineapple, Square in Square, or Kansas Dugout first. When you get those--it is much easier to make the jump to the odd shaped triangles. Those still get me on the brain fog days so I will cut up a foundation and glue it to the fabric and cut at least 3/8" around it. I hate wasting fabric but if that method fails; I'll cut a good size chunk and slap it on! That is my absolute last resort, though. If that fails--I go do something else or pick a different block.

  15. #15
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    Beverley, I think my brain just can't handle the backwards thing, I just get so confused!!!! thanks for the tips on things to start off with, I think I will have a play at the weekend when I have more time to figure things out

  16. #16
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I prefer to use a really thin paper that I can see the line on both sides. I also crease all the lines before I sew. When I first started, I even wrote all the numbers down on the "flip" side. And, I still glue the first piece down and occasionally glue other pieces on the seam line before flipping to sew so that they don't fold up or move on me. I know some of the tutorials actually pin the fabric to the paper but my sewing machine loves to eat pins so I avoid them and most definitely will not put them where I can't keep an eye on them. I've had to fish them back out of my sewing machines' gullets more than once and I don't want to do it any more!

    I found the Kansas Dugout/Hole in the Barn Door pattern most helpful when I was learning. Log Cabin will still mess me up with the light/dark changes unless I do it one block at a time which really slows the process down but with paper-piecing, speed isn't what you're going for anyway.

  17. #17
    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    I took a one-day class in paper piecing. It didn't take all day to get the hang of it and the time was well spent because once you get it, you've got it.
    If you can find someone to spend some time with you, it will be time well spent.

  18. #18
    pookie ookie's Avatar
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    I also make a habit of writing the colors on the paper piece.

    Post your success story when you've had that "I love pp'ing!!!" moment.

  19. #19
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    OK ladies look what I did (doing the happy dance) I made a mistake and did not cut my fabric big enough on one piece so I have a little hole in it, but this was my first go at paper pieceing, I should have tried something easier to start off with but I am so impatient LOL Just wanted to share
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Great job! Paper piecing takes a little while to get the hang of, but some blocks there really is no other way. Practice is the key.

    Love your colors, by the way!

  21. #21
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    I also want to say thank you for all the ladies that offered me help, if I didn't reply to your post it was probably because I was busy trying to figure this out.

    Now, if someone could figure out how to do this pattern without having to do 4 separate pieces that you have to then sew the two middle strips too, that would be great as it is pretty difficult to line them up

  22. #22
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    You did fantastic! Listen, I agree with many of the ladies here who say try something easy first, BUT, if you are the ambitious type who's not quick to give up, then I think it's best you go for it...and you did!!! I love the block and I bet now you'll be hooked on paper piecing...as am I. ;) I have a tutorial on my blog if you ever want to check it out, maybe you might find something in it helpful?

    Just to motivate you and other would be paper piecers who might be reading...this was my very first paper pieced project...
    Attached Images Attached Images


  23. #23
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkinpatchquilter
    You did fantastic! Listen, I agree with many of the ladies here who say try something easy first, BUT, if you are the ambitious type who's not quick to give up, then I think it's best you go for it...and you did!!! I love the block and I bet now you'll be hooked on paper piecing...as am I. ;) I have a tutorial on my blog if you ever want to check it out, maybe you might find something in it helpful?

    Just to motivate you and other would be paper piecers who might be reading...this was my very first paper pieced project...
    OMG amazing, I can't believe that was your first paper pieced project, wow, did you do a lot of unpicking? I did with the union jack, made lots of mistakes and py unpicker is my BFF

  24. #24
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Thank you! That is still one of my favorite ever quilts even though it was a complete learning process. Yes, I did a little unpicking, but I figured out a few tricks that really help along the way. I also over estimate each fabric piece size. When you get really comfortable with paper piecing you can start cutting strips and pieces down closer to the actual size of what you need, but in the beginning, it's better in my opinion to waste a little bit because the pay off is so worth it in the end. If I could do this project over again it would be a zillion times neater and nicer, but I am glad I just dove in there because I learned A LOT in a short amount of time.

    Oh - also, do you trim each piece as you go? You might be a little afraid to do it now, but the more I paper pieced I have found that trimming down to that quarter of an inch, while scary, helps you line up and prepare your next piece of fabric. It also helps you waste a little less. You can get a 2 inch wide ruler at just about any sewing store and it can be really helpful. Just don't trim your fingers...something I have also done. Lol***

  25. #25
    Junior Member ukmuminusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkinpatchquilter
    Thank you! That is still one of my favorite ever quilts even though it was a complete learning process. Yes, I did a little unpicking, but I figured out a few tricks that really help along the way. I also over estimate each fabric piece size. When you get really comfortable with paper piecing you can start cutting strips and pieces down closer to the actual size of what you need, but in the beginning, it's better in my opinion to waste a little bit because the pay off is so worth it in the end. If I could do this project over again it would be a zillion times neater and nicer, but I am glad I just dove in there because I learned A LOT in a short amount of time.

    Oh - also, do you trim each piece as you go? You might be a little afraid to do it now, but the more I paper pieced I have found that trimming down to that quarter of an inch, while scary, helps you line up and prepare your next piece of fabric. It also helps you waste a little less. You can get a 2 inch wide ruler at just about any sewing store and it can be really helpful. Just don't trim your fingers...something I have also done. Lol***
    Yes, I have been trimming as I go, as the flag had some really thin pieces to it, once instead of trimming the part I was supposed to be trimming I trimmed the wrong piece, so had to unpick it and start again. The only problem with the pattern is that it says you have to do it in sections and then sew and line up the four sections together, now if I could just figure out how to number the whole flag so I wouldn't have to do this then that would save a lot of time and patience! It looks like it can be done, but I am so novice to this I don't know how to figure it out as yet. But I am enjoying paper piecing much more than I was the other day.

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