I’d like to welcome everyone visiting my blog from The Splendid Sampler. Take a look around and stay awhile. If you haven’t heard of The Splendid Sampler yet (is there anyone who hasn’t?!), go check it out and prepare to be sucked in.
Are you ready to try your hand at paper-piecing? If you are new to piecing on paper, take it slow and try not to get frustrated. If you can count to four and sew a straight line, you can make this block!
Here are a few of my paper-piecing tips:
• If you are new to paper-piecing, cut your fabrics larger at first: It always helps to have a big more wiggle room when you are just learning!
• Use light-weight paper: I use basic copy/printer paper (20lb). You can also use newsprint, which would be even easier to tear off the back of your block. Don’t use fancy, heavy printer paper. You will NOT be happy!
• Decrease the stitch length on your machine: When I am paper-piecing I set my stitch a bit below a 2. You want your stitches to be tight enough that they don’t rip out when you tear your papers, but you want it large enough that if you make a mistake you can use a seam ripper.
• Press and trim after each seam: your block will turn out much smoother if you press liberally and trim your seam allowances. You can set up your iron right next to your machine, so you don’t have to get up.
• Place your fabric on the UN-printed side of the paper and sew on the printed side.
Let’s get started!
Your templates should already be printed (at 100%, please check, because there is nothing worse than making an entire block the wrong size…I’ve been there). Cut the templates out along the seam allowance line and cut your fabrics out according to the directions. Next, place your #1 piece RIGHT-SIDE-UP on the UNPRINTED side of the paper so that it completely covers space #1 and 1/4″ over on all sides. I glue the first pieces to the paper with a dot of glue stick.
I like to sew all of my templates at the same time (as pictured above).
Place piece #2 WRONG-SIDE-UP on top of piece #1 so that it is 1/4″ over the line between section 1 & 2. The first time you do this, pin your fabric along the sewing line and flip it, so you can be sure it will completely cover space 2 and the seam allowances around it. Remove the pin before you sew ( I generally don’t pin when I am paper piecing. The fabrics usually grab together well enough).
Flip your template over, so the printed lines are up, and stitch along the first line. You will be using a shortened stitch length and you will back-stitch at the beginning and end of each seam. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and press the pieces flat.
Fold and crease the line between space #2 & #3. This will allow you to see your sewing line from the top. Place piece #3 along and 1/4″ over the crease and sew from the printed side. Trim the seam allowances and press flat.
The last piece is quite skinny, and it’s difficult to make a crease, so I just lay the pieces together under the presser foot as accurately as possible. There is plenty of extra width, if you aren’t exact.
Now you will have templates that look like this (doesn’t look like much yet, does it?).
Trim all around the paper, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance. I like to line my ruler up with the black line, not with the outer edge of the paper. It’s more accurate.
Peek under the last strip and make sure you have trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4″ under there. I still need to trim the mustard colored fabric on this template.
At this point (if you’ve been working on all your templates at the same time), you will have 8 completed templates (yay!). Do not remove your papers yet, I repeat, DO NOT REMOVE YOUR PAPERS!
Now, take a center strip and finger crease it in half (short ends together), to mark the center. Line that center up with the tick mark on a completed template. The layers are thick so don’t even try to pin it, just sew it on!
Repeat with the opposite side. Match up the center, hold with a finger and sew.
Press the seam allowances toward the center strip. I like to press gently from the wrong side and then flip and press (with steam) on the front, giving the square a light tug as I press (as pictured above).
Trim (again, line the ruler up with the black line, not the outer edge of the paper).
You may now GENTLY remove the papers.
Now you are just going to sew the squares together. You know how to do that!
One last tip: If you are worried about the center matching up, machine baste the very center and check to see if it all lines up. If it does, go back and sew the entire seam. If it doesn’t, try again!
Your block is complete!
Here is my version of the block using the Splendid Sampler fabrics.
And here are a few of my blocks. I have more done, but I forgot to take a photo of them in the sunlight.
I hope you enjoy making the block!
If you have any questions, leave a comment, email me or flag me in the Facebook group. I’ll do my best to get back to you quickly.