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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Learn Along With Hillbilly: Paper Piecing Heart

Want to learn how to paper piece?
You first need to READ THIS POST.
You will find your heart for this post,  as well as I talk about the papers you can print it on.

If you are reading this post, then hopefully you already have your heart printed out and some scraps ready.
Set your stitch length on your sewing machine to something very small. I like my 1.5 setting.
It is small enough the paper will rip easily when I am done, but not so small the paper rips while I am working.

On the above photo, you will see that I circled all the 7's and the number 1 in red.
They are the background, and should all of the same fabric and should contrast your heart fabrics.
The 8's and 9's are the block borders; so pick something that contrasts well here as well.

This ruler is often used in paper piecing, but I didn't learn with it,
and I am not going to use it today.
I assume that those of you learning today don't have one anyway.
The project that I have planned after the landscape quilt uses one,
so eventually we will learn together how to use it.

Grab a scrap of your background fabric.
It should be at least 1/4" larger than spot number 1 on all sides.
I like it larger than that even.
(I waste some fabric in my method of paper piecing. 
But the scraps can all be used in other projects, so I don't mind.)
Once you know for sure that the fabric completely covers number 1,
move it to the back of the paper, RIGHT side OUT.
So, the WRONG side of the fabric is facing the WRONG side of the paper.

When I am paper piecing, I move a lamp near my sewing table. (Or a light box.)
You need to make sure that your fabric for piece number 1 is indeed covering spot number 1.
This is where the light helps alot!

Now, you need to tack that  piece down. I prefer glue, as pins get in the way.
Just to be clear, you are gluing the WRONG side of the fabric to the WRONG side of the paper on piece 1,
and it will look just as it does in the photo above if you are looking through the paper.

Now is when it gets tricky and everyone gets confused and lost.
I will try not to lose you!!!
Grab a scrap of fabric that will completely cover spot two.

Now, you are going to move it to the back side of the paper.
Only this time, you are going to put the RIGHT side of the fabric down,
so that it and number one are right sides together, just like when you are piecing a quilt.

When you put your piece down on the back, it needs have at least 1/4" covering the entire line between piece one and piece two. Hopefully this photo of looking at it from the paper side will help that not be so confusing:

Do you see how it covers more than 1/4" over onto the '2' part, but it also is long enough to completely cover the entire line between piece 1 and 2? 
See the wiggly line in this photo:

Now, pretend you were going to sew on this line between one and 2. If you did, and you flipped the fabric down after sewing, then all the fabric of piece 2 should cover the #2 section, with at least 1/4" seam allowance beyond piece two.
In other words, it should actually cover all the way out to the purple lines in the photo above.

{{I went back and decided to illustrate this a bit better, only it is with piece 3 instead of 2. 
Use a pin, and put it on the line between 1 and 2 just as I have done here between 2 and 3.}}

Looking through the paper, piece the fabric completely covers section two, with at least 1/4" extra on all sides.

TRUST ME---if you are confused read just a bit more and I think you'll get it.
I have my fabric in place and I am going to sew on the line between 1 and 2 (red arrows):

When I sew, I am actually going to start 1/4" or more before the line and end 1/4" or more after the line.
(Making the line longer.)
Look closely at the photo above and you will see the sewing extends the line at both ends.
Now, If I flip my piece number two down, so that the WRONG side of two is on the WRONG side of the paper, it should cover all of section 2, and beyond out to at least the purple lines. If yours covers even more...that is fine!
This is the same photo as above, you can see where I sewed it and how it covers.

Now, trim off the excess fabric that is in the seam allowance of the line that you just sewed:

See how I didn't trim anywhere but near the sewing line? 
We will do the other trimming in a bit.
Now flip it back over and iron it without steam.
I like to keep this little iron handy when I am paper piecing:

Now, we do piece number three just like we did piece number two.
First, find a scrap the covers piece three completely, with lots of room to spare.

Move it to the back side of your paper, wrong sides of the fabric together.
Make sure that after you sew on the line between 2 and 3,
circled in green on the photo, that when you flip it down, it will cover all of spot 3 with at least 1/4" extra all the way around.
Oops! Do you see the mistake if I had sewn mine?
It is not out far enough in the top left corner. I would have NO seam allowance and it would not have worked. I had to re-adjust so that after it was sewn, the whole thing was covered.

As you can see, my scrap for spot 3 was very large. I like to use really large scraps sometimes when the spot I am covering is a 'funky' shape and hard to judge from the back if I am covering it all the way or not. 
There is no question that using a piece of scrap this big will get that spot number 3 covered on all sides.

Trim 1/4" just along your sewing line, then press piece three down.
Continue with pieces 4, 5, and 6 using the same methods.
Utilize that light to make sure your pieces will cover enough after you sew them!
Here is what mine looked like after pieces 4, 5, and 6 were sewn on and pressed.

You will notice there are four different #7sections.
Do them in any order. Just make sure they are the same fabric that you used on spot 1.
Don't let the corners fool you. The process is exactly the same throughout.

Next do the two number 8 sections--your side borders.
Then do your number 9 sections.
When you trim your 8 and 9 sections, make sure that you have enough to extend 1/4" beyond the block,
just like any normal quilt block.

Now comes the fun part. Or the dreaded part.
(Are you a glass half full or half empty kind of person?!)
You get to rip off the paper. An anonymous tipster says to spray the paper with a fine mist to loosen it and keep from distorting your stitches.
I like to use my seem ripper to pop up stubborn sections.

If I am making a whole quilt,
like in the landscape one we start next week,
I don't rip the paper until the end. 

I believe this was the hardest tutorial that I have ever had to write.
Paper piecing is much easier to teach in person, but I think according to comments that I did ok!


Fiona@BubzRugz said...

great lesson - i will be coming back to it when i try

rubyslipperz said...

I think you did a great can be hard to talk "in pictures".


Marcia Wachuta said...

I think you did a fantastic job of explaining. I really like your photos and how you drew on the parts to point out sections. Fantastic!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love how you used the light box to show how the fabric pieces fit and lay in each numbered area. Hmm - off to paper piece.

Linda said...

I think it's very clear on what to do. Now let's see if I can do it :) Oh and I will donate my block if it's not terrible.

Heather said...

I think the tutorial was very clear! I'll make a couple for the charity quilt. :)

Snoodles said...

Great lesson....I'll be sending you a couple of blocks! Thanks for the assistance in learning a new skill!
Jacque in SC

Pokey said...

Tutorials are hard to do, but for us visual learners, in invaluable. I think you did well!

Patty@Granma's said...

Hi, Tonya, please email me the PDF file and I will do my best to get you a block!

Madame Samm said...

Hello Tonya....I finally am here...not too late am I? Ok, I am looking at every step..surely I can do this...surely I can right Tonya?
Thanks for doing this up for appreciative.

Colleen said...

Are you sewing from the back along the line? That's what I do. I also pin the fabric along the line and flip it to make sure it covers with a sa. I like how you explained with the photos.

Karen said...

I would like to learn to paper piece. Would you please send me the heart pdf file. Thank you.

elnorac said...

Thank you so, so much for introducing me to paper piecing in such a clear, easy-to-follow way! I'd wanted to try but am so spatially challenged that it seemed impossible. Just did your heart and am delighted with the results. Do you have a Flickr group where people can post photos made with your tutorials? Here's my heart:

sewon said...

Your tutorial is my today-joy ! Till now I couldn't understand that method.Thank you so much! Verena from Switzerland

Belinda said...

Welp, I did it. I did it in a hurry and mixed up two of my colors, but it was fun and it still looks ok. Not wonderful, but good enough. Ha!! I'll post the photo shortly!