Whether you’re making a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt or you’re making a New York Beauty quilt, you’re going to be using paper piecing techniques. Paper piecing quilts is a difficult technique to pick up initially and certainly can be time-consuming. This week, we have a few helpful tips for making paper piecing an enjoyable pastime.
Tip #1: English Paper Piecing
I use plastic folders to make patterns for English Paper Piecing. Instead of making piles of patterns out of card stock, I only need to make a few of these and use them over and over again. Trace the pattern, cut it out, and punch a hole in the center. Then fold the fabric over the plastic template, and take a stitch at each corner. To remove the template, insert an orange stick or small dowel into the hole, and pull up until the plastic piece comes loose.
Tip #2: Hexagon Template
I cut a hexagon out of a square of template plastic to use for a Grandmother’s Flower Garden template. It’s easier to trace inside the shape than around the outside.
Tip #3: Creative Foundation Paper
The examining table paper from the doctor’s office is great for paper foundation piecing or to use as a stabilizer for machine appliqué or decorative stitching.
Tip #4: Foundation Paper
When paper foundation piecing, do you worry that you will accidentally use your original pattern? To prevent this, sew a fabric scrap to the edge of the original so it is easily recognizable.
Tip #5: Foundation Piecing
Dress pattern paper works well for foundation piecing. It’s thinner than other papers, so you must be careful, but the advantage is that it tears away easily when the block is done.
Tip #6: Master Copy
To make foundations for paper piecing, make a master copy of the design. Stack the master copy on top of a stack of blank paper. Machine stitch through all the layers using an unthreaded needle. Use the perforated lines to guide your stitching as you add pieces. The perforations will make the paper easier to remove when the block is completed.
Tip #7: My Memory Quilt
I use fabrics from each quilt I finish and give away to make a heart block from one of my favorite paper piecing patterns.
Paper piecing can often be the bane of a quilter’s existence. Many are intimidated to try it at first and once tried, this intimidation can quickly give way to frustration because of fabric choices, size or shape of fabrics used, or inaccurate block construction. Penny Layman is teaching a live web seminar on Paper Piecing Made Easy.