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Thread: Paper Piecing

  1. #1
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    When I teach paper piecing I call it quilting by numbers. The number sequence is so important to successful paper piecing. When I design a paper pieced pattern, I try to make the number 1 piece the biggest piece in the unit. It doesn't always work out that way though and I think that confuses people sometimes. They naturally want to start with the biggest piece and add the smaller pieces afterward. There are times when you can ignore the numbers a little bit but those times are not the norm. So my first piece of advice is to make sure you start at number 1.

    The first piece of fabric always goes right side up on the blank side of the paper and should be cut larger than the space it needs to fill. It can be pinned or glued in place. I prefer flat head pins because it bothers me when I can't get all the paper out when the block is finished. I like the flat head pins best because I can lay a ruler on top of them and the ruler doesn't "seesaw".

    The ruler I like to work with for most of the project is the Add-A-Quarter Ruler. When I first saw it, my thought was, "I don't need ANOTHER ruler!". But when I tried it, I knew I had to have it. It has a lip that measures a 1/4" so I don't have to worry about putting the 1/4" mark of my rotary ruler is the right place each time I have to trim.

    After I have my first piece of fabric secured to the foundation, I turn the foundation printed side up so I can place a card on top of the number 1 segment lining up the edge of the card with the line between the number 1 and 2 segments. I fold just the paper back over the card right on that line. Next, I place my Add-A-Quarter Ruler on top of the foundation making sure the lip of the ruler catches on the fold of the paper. Now I can trim the first piece so it has a 1/4" seam allowance. The next piece of fabric is placed right sides together on top of the number 1 piece lining up the edge of the number 2 piece with the trimmed edge of number 1. I can pin this piece in place if I feel the need, but if I use a pin I make sure it isn't close to my sewing line. All of the lines drawn on the foundation are sewing lines so I make sure my pin doesn't touch the one I am getting ready to sew on. I lower my stitch length so I am getting about 15-20 stitches per inch. On my Bernina I set it at 1.5. On Babylock machines, where you have to choose between 1.4 and 1.6, I would choose 1.4.

    The shorter stitch length serves a couple of purposes. The paper takes up some space so when it is removed you don't want your stitches to be loose. The shorter stitch length makes them a little tighter. Also, with more stitches per inch, the paper is more perforated and will be easier to remove later.

    Now its time to sew! Turn the foundation over, printed side up, and sew on the line between the number 1 and 2 segments. Start stitching at least a 1/4" before the line starts and end at least a 1/4" after the line ends. It is impossible to sew too far in paper piecing because any extra stitches and fabric will be trimmed off before adding your next piece. This second piece of fabric needs to be pressed open and trimmed before adding the number 3 piece. If the sewing line for number 3 piece intersects the first sewing line, when you fold the paper back on the line the first 2 pieces of fabric will fold back with the paper. Simply grab the fabric and gently pull it away from the paper so the fabric will lie flat on the cutting mat and the foundation folds back neatly on the line. Use your Add-A-Quarter Ruler or rotary ruler to trim the exposed fabric to 1/4" and continue adding your pieces in numerical order.

  2. #2
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
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    Do you keep a little iron and cutting mat next to you or are you bobbing up and down pressing and trimming?

  3. #3
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    I get up to trim and press but I have a "triangle" set up in my sewing room just like they suggest for the kitchen between the sink, fridge and stove.
    Quote Originally Posted by moonwork42029
    Do you keep a little iron and cutting mat next to you or are you bobbing up and down pressing and trimming?

  4. #4
    Super Member jmabby's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. I just pulled my paper pierce book out last night

  5. #5
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
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    Thank you for taking the time to type it out for us :)

  6. #6
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    Your welcome! I wish I had some photos to post. Next time I am working on a project I'll take photos as I go along.
    Quote Originally Posted by moonwork42029
    Thank you for taking the time to type it out for us :)

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Thank you for the tute :D:D:D

  8. #8
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    You're welcome, I hope it helps!
    Quote Originally Posted by jmabby
    Thanks for the info. I just pulled my paper pierce book out last night

  9. #9
    Super Member ladyshuffler's Avatar
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    I have had an awful time trying to accomplish this...I will look over the instructions you gave and see if it becomes easier for me!
    Thank you in advance :thumbup: :thumbup:

  10. #10
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    My pleasure!
    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    Thank you for the tute :D:D:D

  11. #11
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    Good luck, I hope it helps!
    Quote Originally Posted by ladyshuffler
    I have had an awful time trying to accomplish this...I will look over the instructions you gave and see if it becomes easier for me!
    Thank you in advance :thumbup: :thumbup:

  12. #12
    Super Member cathylynn's Avatar
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    I recently purchased the add-a-quarter ruler and boy am I glad I did. now it's very quick and easy to get those 1/4" seams. I didn't get paper-piecing the 1st time I tried it but a couple of months ago something 'clicked' and now I love paper piecing. very nice tutorial Sue.

  13. #13
    Super Member Happy Tails's Avatar
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    I ordered tha Carrol Doak Paper Piecing DVD from CT and it arrived yesterday, I can't wait to try it. I have such rotten luck squaring blocks, I hope this is my answer. PLUS I hope somehow I can make it turn into QAYG since I can't machine quilt either!!

  14. #14
    Super Member mjsylvstr's Avatar
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    [quote=larkspurlanedesigns]I get up to trim and press but I have a "triangle" set up in my sewing room just like they suggest for the kitchen between the sink, fridge and stove.

    Great idea but if I don't get up for the trimming and the pressing, I get pretty stiff...
    so my moving around for those jobs, keep me at the PPing a lot longer.

    Thanks for all the advice on PPing......since discovering it, I tend to forget about the other forms of quilting......

    love it, love it, love it, love it!!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    Junior Member cindit's Avatar
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    I tried paper piecing and really like it, but I did it on my own and I know I could improve. I'll try it again with your instructions and see if it helps. Thank you!

  16. #16
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    when i first taught myself the paper piecing technique i took the time to mark the pattern on the blank side, too, this helped take some of the stress out of doing something blank when you are trying to learn this technique, now i just love it.

  17. #17
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    I find with PPing it isn't necessary to square up blocks so this might be just the thing you need!
    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Tails
    I ordered tha Carrol Doak Paper Piecing DVD from CT and it arrived yesterday, I can't wait to try it. I have such rotten luck squaring blocks, I hope this is my answer. PLUS I hope somehow I can make it turn into QAYG since I can't machine quilt either!!

  18. #18
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    That's a great idea but you could also use vellum which is easy to see through.
    Quote Originally Posted by rn2wendt
    when i first taught myself the paper piecing technique i took the time to mark the pattern on the blank side, too, this helped take some of the stress out of doing something blank when you are trying to learn this technique, now i just love it.

  19. #19
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    I still get up for these steps because I need all the "excercise" I can get! LOL But I try to make the best use of my time by not having to run all over the room to get things done.[quote=mjsylvstr]
    Quote Originally Posted by larkspurlanedesigns
    I get up to trim and press but I have a "triangle" set up in my sewing room just like they suggest for the kitchen between the sink, fridge and stove.

    Great idea but if I don't get up for the trimming and the pressing, I get pretty stiff...
    so my moving around for those jobs, keep me at the PPing a lot longer.

    Thanks for all the advice on PPing......since discovering it, I tend to forget about the other forms of quilting......

    love it, love it, love it, love it!!!!!!!!

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the post. I have a number of things that require paper piecing and I would really like to improve my skills. The worst problem I have is either cutting the piece of fabric too small, OR shifting it in the wrong way so when I flip it over there is too much fabric on one side and not enough on the other. Guess I just need to practice more! Thanks...

  21. #21
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    I have worked for two weeks to figure out this paper piecing and as yet I still havent figured it out, but maybe this will help! I learn by seeing how it is done guess maybe that is because I am from Missouri, altho I was transplanted to SD :XD:

  22. #22
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    One of the things I tell my students is if you use a much bigger piece of fabric than you need, you will have bigger "scraps" that you can use somewhere else in the project. I also have a tip on my website that tells you how to use a directional fabric or fit a piece in at an odd angle. http:www.larkspurlanedesigns.com under TIPS AND TRICKS
    Quote Originally Posted by MissQuilter
    Thanks for the post. I have a number of things that require paper piecing and I would really like to improve my skills. The worst problem I have is either cutting the piece of fabric too small, OR shifting it in the wrong way so when I flip it over there is too much fabric on one side and not enough on the other. Guess I just need to practice more! Thanks...

  23. #23
    Junior Member larkspurlanedesigns's Avatar
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    Most people are visual learners, I think, so don't feel bad! Good luck and I hope my tutorial helps.
    Quote Originally Posted by quilter sue
    I have worked for two weeks to figure out this paper piecing and as yet I still havent figured it out, but maybe this will help! I learn by seeing how it is done guess maybe that is because I am from Missouri, altho I was transplanted to SD :XD:

  24. #24
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    Thank you for the information. Now i will get a paper pieced quilt make. Hope you are up to doing tuts.

  25. #25

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    Have you every seen a Dragon paper piecing pattern? :)

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