Paper-Piecing Tutorial

Saturday, October 31, 2009

O.K. First, let me just say that I just realized that I only posted twice last month! I'm really embarrassed. I really have been thinking about posting, but have just been trying to get some things done around my house. Like, oh I don't know, maybe PATTERNS...Halloween costumes. That kind of stuff. I've had a few set backs with my patterns, but am really thinking next week I'll get them back. I'm so close. So stay tuned. I'll be doing some giveaways as soon as I get them back.

So. Because of my desperate need for something worth while to post about, I decided to put together this little tutorial for you. A little somethin' I've been wanting to do for a while now. Some of you may have never tried paper-piecing. Maybe it seems too complicated? But it's not. It's really quite easy and fun and things just turn out so exact. So I think you should all give it a try. Here's a tutorial for those of you who are intimidated by paper-piecing.

You will need:

* a pattern

* some fabric

* a glue stick

* scissors

* ironing board & iron

* sewing machine

*rotary cutter, mat & ruler

For this tutorial, we will be paper-piecing a star.
(Click here to see one example of what you could do with this star)

Here's what the finished product will look like:

Here's the pattern:

(Reduce or enlarge to achieve the desired size.)

This star has three sections. To begin, you will need to cut out of each of the 3 paper pattern sections outside of the dashed line.

Paper-piece patterns are always numbered in the order you should go. So you always start with piece #1. This is the easy piece! Using a dot of glue, you will adhere a piece of fabric to the back side of piece #1 (with the right side of the fabric facing out). Make sure your fabric fully covers all of piece #1 - all the way past the dashed lines. It's better to use pieces of fabric that are quite a bit bigger than the actual size on paper. With all of the angles it's easy to mis-interpret the size you need, so bigger is better. You'll trim later.

Now, for piece #2 (keep in mind that you will be sewing on the line that connects pieces 1 & 2). Lay piece of fabric #2 on top of piece #1 (with right sides together).

Hold it up to the light so you can check to make sure that after it is sewed and opened up that all of piece #2 will be covered with piece #2 fabric. Notice in the picture above, that the edge of the yellow fabric will barely cover the line between pieces #1 and #2. If that happens, just adjust the yellow fabric up a little so that it will be at least a 1/4" above that line for your seam allowance. When it looks like it will cover all of piece #2, then you can sew on the line between those two pieces. Use a very small stitch length when paper-pieceing. This will perforate the paper so that when it comes time to take off the paper, it will tear off super easily.

Check to make sure the piece you just sewed on covers the entire piece #2 all the way out to the dashed lines. Then trim off any excess past your 1/4" seam allowance.

Iron the fabric open. Repeat that process for piece #3.

Trim off any threads.

Trim 1/4" outside of the dashed lines.

Now you can carefully tear off the paper.

Now you have to sew all three sections together. Just line up the top points/edges of the sections. Sew the sections together two at a time.

* Remember to turn your stitch length back to it's regular setting when you sew the three sections together.

Trim any "Dog-ears" off of the block. Make sure you square everything up and that you leave 1/4" away from the points of the star. You don't want to cut those babies off.
There. You did it! You paper-pieced a star. Of course there are other designs you can paper-piece too. A log cabin is a great one for beginners. Try this star and more.

I hope this tutorial helps. Let me know what you think of it!

Distractions and gettin' things done

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sorry folks. I've been so busy lately. I feel like I haven't had anything to show for all of my time lately, so I decided it was time to stay away from the computer and finish up some projects. I finished up my fig tree quilt and am just waiting to have it quilted (a picture of that will be coming soon). I think the holidays bring out a crafty side in me because a few weeks ago I felt it was time to furnish my home with some Halloween decorations. I'm more of a "Harvest" decorator this time of year. Believe me when I say that the only Halloween decor I owned until recently was my little skeleton and "spooky" sign (below). So I added this "BOO" banner (tutorial found here), some cheesecloth ghosts (thanks Martha) and a little scaredy cat to my collection. I owe my cute argyle pumpkins from winning the grand prize in my Bunko group in September. I'd like to thank the hostess, Janelle and a wonderful little store in Lehi, UT called Rod Works for those.

You can never have enough pumpkins right? These are my favorite. Surprisingly, I've owned these for about 11 years (I remember getting them right after I got married. I was with my mom at Pier 1.) Can't believe they've survived this long...knock on wood.

We had a guest coming to the Johnson abode, so the hubby finally hung this little baby. I've only had it sitting in a closet for about 2 years. There's nothing like a deadline to make you get your home improvement projects done.

The long awaited day arrived and I've been spending some time with an old friend named Elisabeth Theresa McLean Williamson (aka Little Lizzy) who came to visit me from the great state of Colorado. Our activity agenda has included such things as reminiscing, eating out and hitting a lot of the great stores on the Wasatch Front, including Thanksgiving Point, where we found this little bit of holiday inspiration:

Cute, right?

Here's another fabulous picture that I thought you might like:

If that kind of scene suits your fancy then you should definitely go to Thanksgiving point.

While making our way up the Wasatch front, we made a stop by the Black Goose and fell in love with this:

so in honor of Liz's birthday I got her and I matching signs (so we can think of each other every time we leave home :) Here's my finished product:

And, just around the corner from there we dabbled in some witchy, child & mom-friendly shopping at Gardner's Village. Making a quick run through of the beautiful Village Whites Shoppe, we found this inspiring display. How fun would that be to hold all of your fabric scraps, stacks, bundles, etc.? I love it.

I'm adding one more project to the list...

Quilt Festival

Friday, October 9, 2009

So Amy over at Park City Girl is hosting an online Quilt Festival. We're suppose to share a quilt - any size, any style. So here is mine. This is called Sugar & Spice and it has a little story (not to mention a pattern available :). It might be my favorite that I've made in the 11 years I've been quilting. It's dear to my heart and has some good memories that go along with it!

For the last couple of years, I have been thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. For a while I dreamt of owning a fabric shop. But, with my experience as the manager of an interior design store, I realized that it would take more time and money than I was willing to take away from my family. So I asked myself, "What can I do that will involve my two passions - being a stay-at-home-mom and quilting?" I quickly decided that the perfect job for me was designing quilt patterns. Time passed. Then I won a little contest over at moda's I don't claim to be awesome because I won that contest, but it gave me a little jumping off point. Moda & Joanna Figuero (from Fig Tree Quilts) sent me a wonderful package of two fat-quarter bundles & some patterns. I was so excited to start in on some of the patterns I received, until my husband said, "Why don't you do one of your own designs?" Hesitantly I agreed that he was right. It was time to start this new journey and so I created this design. With the support of some good friends and a great husband, I have created three designs this year, which are being printed as we speak. Hopefully next week I will be ready to share them all with you!

I am anxious and excited to start sharing my patterns. My company name is called Gigi's Thimble (named after my Grandmother who taught me how to quilt). For the launch of my new company, I am cooking up some fun packages to giveaway (including sets of my first 3 patterns!) so please check back next week.