Introduction to Paper Piecing {Learn More, Sew More}

Paper piecing involves sewing fabric to a foundation and creating a precisely pieced object.
Arkansas Traveler Block by Freshly Pieced
This gorgeous paper pieced block was made by Freshly Pieced.
It looks hard!  All of those perfect pieces sewn in perfect angles!!  But after you make a few blocks, you realize paper piecing is not hard.  With a bit of practice and a few tips, the world of paper piecing opens up for you!
LMSM Paper Piecing by Crafty Planner
For the next four weeks, we will have several guests presenting tutorials and sharing their tips for a successful paper piecing experience.
Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: A Tutorial by Diane Bohn [From Blank Pages]

Week 3: An Interview with Penny Layman [Sew Take a Hike]

Week 4: A Tutorial by Cristy Fincher [Purple Daisies Quilting]

 A few other guests will pop in throughout the month too!

So what are the basic things you need to know about paper piecing?
The fabric in paper piecing is traditionally sewn to either paper or fabric.  For the paper component, you can see specialty papers, tracing paper, light interfacing or computer printer paper.  Since printer paper is often a heavier stock than the specialty papers, many quilters recommend you perforate/sew the paper along the paper piecing lines first.  It makes the paper easier to remove once you have sewn the fabric to it.  Traditional paper piecing uses one of the two foundations; however Cristy will show us a way to do it without paper!!
As with most quilting, paper piecing is best done with 100% cotton fabrics.  Home decor or canvas fabrics would be too thick for most piecing.  I have seen quilts made with silk ties sewn down to a foundation fabric piece but for the most part, you are using quilting cottons.
Unless you have a large area within the paper pieced quilt block, you want to use mostly solids, blenders or small scale prints that read as solids.  If you piece medium or large scale prints, it is harder to control what color you end up seeing in your final quilt block.  It can be done with practice and fuzzy cutting but probably not something you want to worry about when you are first learning how to paper piece.
I highly recommend you start with tested paper piecing patterns first.  There is nothing more frustrating than working on a pattern, making mistakes and discovering it was the pattern, not you!  Each of our guest posters have fantastic and tested patterns on their websites so I suggest you start there.  You can also check out Craftsy, which has free and for sale patterns.
– Sew with a small stitch length.  The smaller stitches make foundation paper removal easier and secure bias edges together tightly.
– You are sewing on the back un-printed side of the pattern.
– The pattern is a mirror image of the finished block.  When you turn the block to the right side, it will end up 180 degrees from the printed side.
– Make sure you stitch 1/4″ over the outer edges of the block if no seam allowance has been added to the block.
– The numbers on the pattern show you the order in which the pieces are sewn.  If there are also letters, that means there are multiple pieces.  The block will need to be sewn in alphabetical and then numerical order.
Along with our upcoming guest posts, here are a few links to show you the paper piecing process:
Video tutorial by Ellison Lane

Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Tutorial by Quilt Story

Tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts
Tutorial by Rebel Craft Media
GIVEAWAY: For this week’s giveaway, Make Modern magazine has graciously offered their latest issue for a giveaway!  YAY!  Not only does it have my Rainbow Cross quilt in it, there is also a fantastic paper pieced pattern by Quiet Play called Shooting Star!  For a chance to win, post a picture on Instagram of a quilt block you would like to paper piece, tag it #LMSMPaperPiece and I will pick a winner early next week!
I can not wait to see what everyone makes this month.

Comments 8

  1. I LOVE paper piecing. I recently made a pattern by Freshly Pieced for a commission and it came out great. I’m excited to read the tutorials from your guests. I love learning new tips and tricks.

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  2. Pingback: PAPER PIECING: WEEK 2 "LOVE"by Diane from blank pages... {LEARN MORE, SEW MORE} - Crafty Planner

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