Showing posts with label Tutorials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tutorials. Show all posts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Paper Foundation Piecing - the Basics

I've designed a paper foundation pieced tree for the Christmas Elves wall hanging, so his seems to be good timing for a blog to help those who are wary of this quilting method.


Paper foundation piecing should be neither scary nor curse worthy, yet there are many quilters who would almost rather put away their fabrics and hang up their rotary cutters than quilt on paper. I've been trying to get to the bottom of the problem, and I I'm going to try to help with three of the biggest issues. I won't even attempt to discuss everything, but I'll go over some basic tricks that I hope will be of help to some.

1. There is so much wasted fabric. Quilters hate to waste valuable fabric.  No matter how clever we are, there will probably be some waste with paper piecing. It doesn't have to be a huge amount, though. The waste can be controlled with careful cutting of the pieces of fabric. 

2. I don't know how to cut the shapes to fit. This issue is actually the same as the wasted fabric concern, and it's easily resolved.

Solution:
 
Cut fabric pieces the right size and shape.
When I started out with paper piecing, I just guessed and cut out chunks of fabric, hoping they'd fit. That didn't always work, so I slowed down and added a step. 

Start with two copies of the paper piecing pattern. Set one aside for sewing on, and cut out all of the numbered shapes on the second copy.

Lay each of the shape cutouts on the wrong side of the fabric you plan to use for that particular piece. You could use a fabric marker to trace around the shape right onto the back of the fabric or not. Cut around each shape leaving a seam allowance of about 3/8". You can use a ruler and rotary cutter to get the sizing exact, or you can estimate.

I'm more of a "wing it" cutter for this, so these are not perfectly cut.  I can see already that shape 2 and shape 3 are going to be a bit larger than I needed them to be, so I'm wasting more fabric than i should. 


3. It's just so confusing. Nothing ever fits right. Constantly ripping seams and trying again with a fresh piece of fabric, over and over, gets terribly frustrating. This issue is harder to fix because the ways in which our brains visualize things are as individually unique as our personalities. I do have an idea or two that might be helpful for some who get confused by the whole mirror image placement of fabrics and sewing everything backwards through a piece of paper.

Solution:

Lay the first piece on the back of the paper, right side facing up. I like to use a tiny dab from a glue stick to secure piece #1 in place so it doesn't slide around. A pin would work as well.

Next, lay the second piece right beside the first with the seams more or less lined up. On the pattern in the pictures above, piece #2 is to the left of piece #1, but on the back of the paper we're looking at the right sides of the fabrics, so that arrangement is reversed.


Flip piece #2 over onto the right side of piece #1. Line up the seams.


Turn the paper over and hold it up to a light source. Make sure that piece #2 overlaps the stitching line by about 1/4".

Sew right on on the line.

Flip piece #2 back and check with a light source to make sure it covers the whole shape nicely.

Trim the seam back to about 1/4".
I estimated and cut the seam with a scissors, but if you are a perfectionist, you could fold the paper back out of the way and trim it with a ruler and a rotary cutter. Just be careful that you don't cut the paper in the process. Been there. Done that.

Open the new piece, and press the seam.

Piece # 3 will be added in the very same manner. It helps to look at the fabric section and how it fits in the pattern before placing it.


You might even want to slip the piece under the paper to see how it will fit.


Turn the pattern and the new piece over. Line up the seams.


Flip this new piece so the fabrics are right sides together and align the seams as before. 


Use a light source to check the alignment from the front. Slide the new piece of fabric so it's about 1/4" from the stitching line. Sew in place, open, check that the fabric covers the space, trim the seam, and press.


When all of the pieces are stitched and pressed, use your ruler and rotary cutter to trim the section exactly on the 1/4" cutting line.

Trimmed and finished from the back.

Front view of this section.
When all of the sections have been prepared, you can sew them together according to the pattern instructions. Depending on the pattern, I may leave the paper in place and sew the sections through the paper. Other times, I may remove the paper and then sew the sections together like any other piece of patchwork.




I would really appreciate feedback on this tutorial. I'd like to know if this is at all helpful and if you have any ideas about what I can do to improve or change my explanations. 

If this still leaves you cold, don't fret. Next week I'll share another option for making a tree that doesn't involve paper piecing. 

Have a super week!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Table Topper- a Tutorial

Once again, I'm racing to get my little quilts and patterns out in time for the seasons. It's mid June already, so I whipped up a table topper for the Fourth of July, one that can be quickly made with time to spare. The patches are all made from squares, half square triangles and 1" strips. The finished size is 17" square.

"Red, White, and Blue", 17" x 17"

This takes only a few small pieces of fabrics. You need five main fabrics for the star and a few red and white pieces for the center square. 

Fabrics
  • two blues, one dark, one a lighter print
  • two reds, one dark, one a lighter print
  • one white
  • scraps of reds and whites for center square
  • 1/8 yard white print for border
  • 1/8 yard dark blue for binding
  • one fat quarter for backing


Cutting
  • From dark blue, cut eight squares, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".
  • From lighter blue, cut four squares, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".
  • From dark red, cut four squares, 3" x 3".
  • From light red, cut four squares, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".
  • From white, cut four squares 3" x 3" and eight squares 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".
  • From red and white scraps, cut six strips, 1 1/2" x 8". 
  • From white border print, cut two strips 1 1/2" x 15 1/2" and two strips 1 1/2" x 17 1/2".
Note: All seams are 1/4". For best results with this pattern, press seams open.

Make the Center Square:

1.  Sew the red and white strips of fabric together, side by side alternating darker fabrics with lighter fabrics. Press.

2. From this set, cut five strips, each 1 1/2" wide. 

 Note: I made a mistake in choosing fabrics. O thought the bottom row would present as a white, but he two fabrics on the ends were much too similar. As a result my finished center square has one edge that doesn't match up the way I'd like.

3. Turn every other strip 180 ยบ. Align the strips in a checkerboard pattern. Remove an extra square from one end of each strip leaving five squares in each.


 4. Sew the five strips together to make one square, 5 1/2" x 5 1/2".
Even with more rearranging, I couldn't avoid having one end of the square with too little contrast.

Make the Half Square Triangle Patches

1. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 3 1/2" white square and each square of the lighter blue print.

2. With right sides together:
- Lay a 3 1/2" white square on each the four 3 1/2" lighter red squares.
- Lay a 3 1/2" white square on each of four 3 1/2" dark blue squares.
- Lay a lighter bue square on each of the remaining four dark blue squares.




 3. Sew 1/4" from either side of the lines drawn. Cut on the drawn line, open each half and press open to make half square triangle patches. You will have four patches of each combination. Trim each patch to 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".


Unit A
Make two
Unit A

1. Assemble top row as shown below. Sew all patches right sides together.
From left to right: white square, red and white half square triangle patch, blue and white half square triangle patch, blue and white half square triangle patch, red and white half square triangle patch, white square. Press.

Top row: make two

2. Assemble bottom row with patches right sides together as shown below.
From left to right: red and white patch, red square, dark blue and light blue patch, dark blue and light blue patch, red square, red and white patch.Press.

Bottom row: make two.
3. Sew the two rows right sides together, matching seams. Press.



Unit B
Make 2

1. For each unit, with right sides together, sew two dark blue and light blue patches together with the dark blue triangles together as shown. Then sew two dark blue and white patches together with the white triangles together as shown.

2. For each unit, sew a dark blue and light blue section and a blue and white section together with dark blue triangles together.
Assemble

1. Sew a unit B to each of two opposite sides of the center square.


2. Sew a unit A to the top and bottom of the center square and unit B strip.


3. Sew a 1 1/2" x 15 1/2" strip of white border fabric to each of two opposite sides of the completed star. Press to the border.

4. Sew a 1 1/2" x 17 1/2" strip of border fabric to the remaining two sides of the star. Press to the border.


 Add batting and backing. Quilt as desired. Attach binding.



Enjoy!!


 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sara's Quilt, Block 9, Tutorial

All of the blocks for Sara's Quilt are finished!! The patterns and tutorials are all mixed up in order, I know. It's just another example of how my brain bounces around from this to that at random.
Block 9, 10 1/2" x 10 1/2"


This was the final block that I made for Sara's Quilt, but there will be one more tutorial on my blog for block 7. The Dresden blocks will need a template, so that will be on Craftsy as a free pattern. Just more confusion, I know.

I can't believe that I forgot to take enough photos for this block! As a result, writing this blog took ten times as long as it would have if I hadn't had to make all of the diagrams. Sometimes I am such a scatterbrain! Sigh...

The diagram will be a useful guide to fabrics and their placement.

Eight different fabrics are used.
Cutting Instructions:

1. From each of the reds in the top row, cut one 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" square and one 3 1/4" square. Cut the 3 1/4" squares in half diagonally. 
2. From the Medium Red, cut four 3 1/4" squares. Cut each in half diagonally.

3. From Cream 1, cut four 2 1/2" squares and four 3 1/4" squares. Cut the 3 1/4" squares in half diagonally. 

4. From Cream 2, cut four 2 1/2" squares.

5. From the Center Cream, cut on 2 1/2" square.

Make half square triangle patches: 

1. From each of the main red fabrics you will have two triangles. Sew the triangles into half square triangle patches as shown. 

Sew one triangle of each with a Cream 1 triangle. Sew the other triangle with a Medium red triangle. 


2. The patches will be slightly larger than needed. Trim each to a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" square.




 3. Four Medium red triangles and four Cream 1 triangles will remain. Sew each Medium Red triangle to a Cream 1 triangle to make four half square triangle patches. Trim each patch to 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" as before. 

Assemble the block.

Arrange the patches into rows and sew together.  


 

Next up, Block 7.
We are nearing the end.









Monday, February 27, 2017

Sara's Quilt, Block 3 Tutorial

Sara's Quilt, Block 3 (10 1/2" x 10 1/2"

So far, I've made six sampler blocks for Sara's Quilt. The sewing is going too fast for me to keep the patterns up to date. I'll try to get one out every week or two. Block 3 is a very basic pinwheel in a star. I loved making it because it's so quick and easy to piece.

Fabrics

Three reds, one cream, one wheat. This could be done very nicely with one light and two medium to dark fabrics of any color combination.

I forgot to photograph each fabric before cutting, and I don't have scraps of one of the reds left. This photo should help to explain the color arrangements.


Cutting and Piecing
1/4" seam allowances are used. 
 
I like to cut any pieces used for triangles just slightly larger than needed. This way I can line seams up on the diagonal lines of my ruler and trim than back to get exact measurements and perfect points.  It's so much easier to trim than to deal with pieces that are too small or a bit wonky.

Small Pinwheel
This block within a block is made with quarter square and half square triangles.

1. To make the small Pinwheel section, cut:
  • one 4" square of Red 1 and one 4" square of Cream. 
  • two 3 1/2" squares of cream

2. Cut each square in half diagonally. Turn and cut on the other diagonal making four triangles.
 3. Lay the triangles out in pairs as shown below. Make sure the positions of fabrics on all four of the pairs are the same.



3. With right sides together, sew the matching short legs of the triangles together. Press seams open.

4. Cut each 3 1/2" square of cream in half once diagonally. You will have four triangles.

5. Sew each cream triangle to the long side of the triangle made from the two smaller triangles. Press the seams open.


6. Line the seams up with the diagonal measures on your ruler. The short seam on the half square triangles should fall exactly at the corner of the 3 inch mark. Trim each square to 3" x 3".

7. Sew the patches right sides together to make the pinwheel.

8. Press the seams open. The pinwheel block will measure  5 1/2" x 5 1/2".



Outer Star

To make the outer star, cut:
  • two 3 5/8" squares of Red 2
  • two 3 5/8" squares of Red 3
  • four 3 5/8" squares of Wheat
  • four 3" squares of Wheat 

1. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 3 5/8" Wheat square.


2. Place each Wheat square on top of a red square, right sides together. Make two half square triangle sections by sewing a 1/4" seam on either side of the drawn line.


3.  Cut on the line, fold open, and press the seams open. Line the seam up with the diagonal line on your ruler and trim each half square triangle patch to 3" x 3".

At first, I pressed the seams to the dark. When it came time to sew the patches together, I realized that I'd have a very thick layer of fabric on one side of each seam. Back to the ironing board to press those seams open.

4. Arrange the half square triangle patches in pairs so that the reds are in the same positions for all four pairs.
Half square triangle sections will be sewn down the center where the wheat colored pieces meet.
5. Sew with right sides together. Press the seams open. The sections will measure 3" x 5 1/2".

6. Place one of the red and wheat sections on either side of the pinwheel block.



7. Sew 3" squares of wheat to either side of each of the red and wheat half square triangle sets. The sections will now measure 3" x 10 1/2".



8. Sew these last two sections to the top and bottom of the pinwheel block. The finished block will measure 10 1/2" x 10 1/2".



That's it. Happy Stitching!

March arrives this week! Spring is definitely on the way.