Thursday, June 25, 2009

Paper Piecing Helper

I have never been a good paper piecer. You'd think after doing the Stickle quilt and Salinda Rupp quilt that I'd have it down. This isn't meant to be a paper piecing tutorial but to show you how one small thing has helped me so much. I had the opportunity to do some paper piecing over the weekend and thought if I could help one person then that would be a good thing!

I was always holding my paper up to the light to see where the next piece goes. I'd pin, then flip it and check to make sure I had a seam allowance and that my fabric covered the whole section it was supposed to. If I didn't have enough light then I wouldn't be paper piecing! When I had weird angles that was a whole 'nother scenario.

Someone got me this ruler and although the ruler is handy, the best pp tip for me came from the directions inside the package!
By the time I thought I'd take photos this is what I had. I sewed on the line on the other side of the paper. I trimmed the seam, then pressed.
Now this might be fairly easy to see where to put the next piece of fabric, but for the sake of this post I'm going to show you how I did it.
Turn the paper over so you can see your sewing lines.
Get an index card and put on your next sewing line. (I actually put it up a tad more then in the photo)
Fold back your paper against the index card.
Use your add a quarter ruler and use the little edge against your card.

Then trim.
Set your next piece on top of the fabric and you are ready to sew. No holding up to the light!
I did the same thing on the sides. Put your index card on the sewing line and fold back.
I really wanted a seam that was a bit smaller then 1/4" so I used my regular ruler. That works just fine.

Until I read about folding back the paper on an index card I fought with paper piecing. This tiny, easy trick has helped me immensely! Now, please don't tell me you've been doing this for years, OK?!


  1. I haven't been doing this for years. Six months maybe, but not years. ;-)

    (Actually I think I stole the idea from someone else online or I wouldn't have known either.)

  2. This is exactly how I learned to paper piece way back in early 90's. Great tutorial for others..good job!

  3. When I had my first paper piecing class, the instructor actually had us tape our rulers to a postcard (before heavy card stock was so popular). I taped it on the card like a hinge.....and I have never removed is a great helper!!!!

  4. No, I haven't been using it - not ever. I've always been at war with paper piecing and this looks like we may finally have peace! This is a hint I'll definitely use on my next pp block.

  5. I hate paper piecing, but have some projects that I need to do it for. So, you trim the edge and then add the next piece? That sounds like it would be easier. Thanks for the tutuorial! I will use it to follow along on my next pp project.

  6. I've never been a paper-piecing fan, but I might become one now! Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Fantastic! What do you mean, "not a tutorial"? It's shown perfectly. Thanks so much. I may give paper piecing another try now.

  8. I learned this from a lady who designs quilts using this method. I bought the 1/4" ruler. There is another available that is 1/8". So glad it is going better for you. Thanks for sharing with us. I still have difficulty cutting fabric for odd-angles and odd-sizes. I am definitely spatially challenged and need really really good instructions on cutting.
    PS Magic Tape is good to have on hand if you have to take a seam out. It helps 'repair' your paper.

  9. Another way that I find helpful for seeing the lines is to take the pattern, stack four or five sheets of paper together - unthread the sewing machine needle and stitch along all the sewing lines. That way when you place the fabric on the paper and you can still see the stitching lines from the back - which is where you sew. I like this way, makes it faster and easier for me - and I like paper piecing anyway, but like things that help out.


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