I recently met Sarah online when she reached out to me asking to do a guest post on paper piecing. I tried paper piecing once at a Boston Modern Quilt Guild meeting, but promptly forgot how to do it. I haven’t done my own paper piecing project yet, but it’s definitely on my list!
Sarah has a sewing blog where she blogs about sewing projects and techniques. She also puts up videos demonstrating various presser feet, sewing tools and serger techniques.
Thanks Sarah for writing this paper piecing tutorial! Now I can refer to my own blog for instructions when I’m ready to start my first project!
INTRODUCTION TO PAPER PIECING: I’ve always admired quilters that made difficult shapes, like stars or lighthouses, look so effortless. Then, I learned paper piecing. It’s super fun and as simple as painting by numbers! There are thousands and thousands of free paper piecing patterns available. All those tiny scraps you’ve been stashing (never know when you’ll need a 1 inch scalene triangle) can finally be used. There are piecing patterns that literally use the tiniest of scraps, so when your partner gives you grief for keeping an itsy bitsy scrap, you have justification. Waste not!
This star pattern is great for easing in to paper piecing. Believe it or not, this took maybe 20 minutes. You can sew it into something as big as a full blow quilt or as simple as a pot holder. Either way, you’re going to love playing around with paper piecing!
Tip: If you’re having trouble following the directions below, check out our video instructions.
- Paper Piecing Pattern. There are TONS of free paper piecing patterns all over the internet. All you have to do is find one you like and print it from your computer. Can’t find the size you like? You can reduce an image on your computer or have an image enlarged at Kinko’s. Here are a few trusted sites: Forest Quilting, Piece By Numbers, Carol Doak.
- Fabric Scraps. Most patterns will come with a list telling you how large each scrap needs to be.
- Universal Needle
- Scissors or rotary ruler and rotary mat
- Printer and Computer Paper
Step 1: If your pattern does not have 1/4 seam lines drawn in, go ahead and mark them yourself using your ruler.
Step 2: Mine has 3 separate pieces that will be sewn together to form a star, but the process is the same for each piece. First, let’s start with number 1. Place your first scrap fabric right side down on the table. Now, place your paper pattern on top of the fabric scrap, wrong sides together. The pattern diagram should be facing you.
Now that you have the pattern template laying on the first fabric piece, let’s go on to number 2. Once again, you want to make sure your fabric scrap is at least 1/4 larger (on all sides) than your template.
Place the new scrap fabric piece right sides together with your first fabric scrap. So, from top to bottom, you have your paper pattern facing you, then the wrong side of first fabric, and right side or second fabric scrap.
To ensure that your fabric scrap is lined up correctly, hold all three layers up to a light source. You will be able to see the shadow of the second fabric scrap. (The darkest shadow is the fabric for number 2)
Using a ruler, trim the fabric to a 1/4 inch.
I did some satin stitching around the edge of the star using a Stitch in the Ditch foot. Super easy! Just install your foot and set your stitch length to a short zig zag.