Paper Piecing… My Learning Continues

Ah, Paper Piecing… Where do I begin?

I am NOT usually rattled. By anything. The older I have gotten, the more I have embraced, “If you can’t control it, don’t stress over it.”

This is what happened. This past weekend I decided I wanted to make this.

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OK, seemed easy enough. Just follow the numbers and sew on the lines. How hard can it be??

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I had only done paper piecing once before. About 18 months ago. And that project was fairly simple. A square in the center with triangles in the corners.

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Thinking I needed a refresher, off I went in search of help. YouTube. Paper piecing videos.

OK. Ready. Armed with several videos loaded onto my brain, I got started. By Number 4 on the paper template, I had to keep jumping up from my chair at the sewing machine to replay the video. Where does this piece go? Up. Down. Come on!! By the third rip out and start over, I was soooo frustrated, practically in tears. And that is saying something for me. Ms Unflappable. Hubby to the rescue. Saying the same thing he always does. “Take a break, Donna. Go take a nap. Sleep on it. You will figure it out.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear at that moment. I wanted to know where the freaking fabric should go.

Back to Square One. Watched videos again. And this time it clicked. FLIP UP. The fabric needed to “flip up” to cover the Number just sewn. From that point on, I knew what to do. Though it still took time to place the fabric, flip over the template, hold it up to the light, get the edges lined up so I had enough of a seam allowance after sewing on the lines.

The first test blocks took me all of one afternoon.

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The next four real blocks took about an hour and a half.

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There are several things I hate about paper piecing.

Fabric waster. You have to cut the pieces larger than the section you want to cover. Or you will come up short and have to rip and start over. Been there. Done that. And your paper template will have ripped and you have to print out a new one and start over.

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And this. Yuck. What a mess.

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But it only took 10 minutes to rip the paper off the back. I used tweezers. And carefully eased the paper off. Now I know why you backstitch in the beginning and end. If not, your stitches could come out with the paper.

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But it wasn’t so bad. Now that I know to flip up, I am excited and want to paper piece something else. I think I will try these.

Birdhouses. Isn’t this pretty? And how cool is the way the fabric was used. The fabric for the top of one birdhouse was also used for the background of one of the other birdhouses? I didn’t see that the first time I looked at it. I will probably do the same with mine.

But first, I have to do the sashing to my trees and finish it up.

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It is going to my swap partner for a Mug Rug With A Winter Theme exchange I signed up for. Mail out deadline is next week but I hope to have it finished tomorrow and mailed by Thursday.

Do you like Paper Piecing? What has been your experience? Do tell… ๐Ÿ˜€

Go here for the pattern to make your own Winter Pine.

Update on my green braided quilt top. I am now working on the 10th panel. I got bored sewing strip after strip. But I will work on it more today. Want to get it finished by this Friday. I will post updated photos tomorrow.


9 comments on “Paper Piecing… My Learning Continues

  1. Sonnethawk says:

    Beautiful Donna! I was curious as to what paper piecing was, also!
    It looks similar to The Foldy Stuff patterns I want to do. Btw, I got my patterns yesterday for the Log Cabin quilt and the Pineapple. I also got the pattern book I ordered for the Prairie Folding Star patterns. I had bought the pattern book at one of the Thrift stores but the patterns inside were missing, so I ordered a new one. I haven’t finished my other projects yet. I have been diligently trying to get my afghan done.

  2. Sonnethawk says:

    Question? How do you transfer your images? Is there a special transfer kit that you use?
    I talked to Mrs. Donna a few days ago. He told me to use a cool iron when using the transfer sheets. He said that they would go a lot further, because the transfer lines would be a lot lighter. I also saw something on his wife’s tutorial page that another reader had suggested. They said something about putting a piece of aluminum foil under the material before ironing on the transfer. I guess it helps heat up the fabric if you are using a cooler iron. That way, it helps the transfer to go further, especially if you have a lot of blocks or transfers to do. ‘Just thought I would share!

    • don_mae says:

      Hi Tanya, I have only needed to transfer an image a couple times. For those projects, I bought some special transfer sheets (mostly used for t-shirts) and it worked out great. One project was my Valentine’s Day postcard I did in February last year. Who is that you spoke to? In the above you wrote “Mrs Donna”. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Penny says:

    Oh yes… big fabric waster. that’s why I don’t paper piece unless it’s something I just HAVE to have.. you know.

  4. Deb says:

    I took a PP class which was a huge help with my Mom and a few of her friends several years ago. Watching helped me learn way more than reading. It takes me awhile when I pick it up again to get in the groove, but I love the amazing blocks you can create! Thanks for including the link to your cute block too.

  5. Gaby says:

    oh, Donna. You make me laugh.
    When I started with telar de fajas (I don’t know the translation ) I spent 2 days trying to make a desing with the yarns. I was blocked. I dreamed with the telar!! but… the day number 3… I did it! And my life changed hahahha. Sometimes we need a break to go on correctly.

  6. Crystal says:

    โ€œIf you canโ€™t control it, donโ€™t stress over it.โ€
    Words to live by, for sure, Donna! ๐Ÿ™‚

    But it seems you have conquered paper piecing and I love the results!

  7. Kelly M says:

    Turned out great Donna.

    I did take some paper piecing classes on craftsy which really helped. Here are some tips I got from them:

    It makes it a lot easier to take the paper off if you make your stitches small.

    I like to make the pieces big then once the next ones are on I cut the extra off. Saves from having to take it appart and start over.

    Another tip is if you do have to rip out just tape the paper back together so you don’t have to start all over.

  8. Fran says:

    Donna we did those birdhouses in a swap once. I love your trees. You are to trim the seams as you go and I bought a special 1/4″ ruler to do that ๐Ÿ™‚

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