Let’s dig in!
Now that we have our fabric selected and our templates (paper pieces) cut out, we’re ready to begin paper piecing. The technique of foundation paper piecing can be tricky and does take some practice but once you master it, a whole new world of quilt piecing opens up. You can sew blocks that you couldn’t otherwise make and your blocks will be precise.
Check out my foundation paper piecing tips in the video below:
Here are some highlights:
• You’ll be sewing your fabric to the non-printed side of the paper.
• I typically cut fabric pieces about 3/4″ larger than the area I’m covering (even bigger if it’s a complicated shape). When in doubt, cut larger—it will save your sanity.
• Cover your first section with fabric. Make sure you place it on the side of the paper that has no printing and that the correct side of the fabric is facing out (the wrong side of the fabric will touch the paper). Also make sure that the fabric extends at least 1/4″ past the section on all sides. A light source such natural sunlight or a lightbox is handy for this. In the video, you’ll see me using my Wafer Lightbox and Wafer Cutting Matt. Secure the FIRST FABRIC PIECE ONLY to the paper with a water soluble glue stick or a pin.
• After you confirm that the fabric for the next section is large enough (again, I typically shoot for at least 3/4″ larger), flip it so that the correct side of the fabrics are facing one another (the back of the fabric you are attaching will be facing out) and that the fabric you are sewing is positioned over the section(s) you secured in the last step. I like to remind myself by saying “position the fabric where you’ve been, not where you’re going”. Lastly, be sure that the fabric you are attaching extends at least 1/4″ past the line you will be sewing along. See the video above—I walk you through this step. Below I’m working on attaching section B3, a slightly tricker shape.
• Reduce your stitch length to 1.5 on your sewing machine. This short stitch length will perforate the paper, making it easier to remove at the end.
• After sewing, fold back your paper and make sure the seam allowance is trimmed to 1/4″. Double check that you’re not trimming the paper or the fabric you just sewed on. Then, open up your paper and the fabric you just attached and press seam the well before adding the next piece.
• Never press with an iron on the paper side of the pattern. The ink from the printing will transfer to your iron.
• Repeat these steps until the paper piece is complete with fabric.
• Have some anxiety about the super small pieces? You can do it! Approach it the same way as the larger sections.
If you’re still challenged with this technique, here are a few things to try:
• Switch to using solid fabric — you don’t have to worry about which side the fabric is facing.
• Cut bigger pieces of fabric — it will save your sanity. You will waste fabric when paper piecing (especially in the beginning).
• Remember that even experienced paper piecers (including me) use their seam ripper
• Walk away if you’re really frustrated. Paper piecing requires more brain power than other types of piecing. It gets easier with practice.
Remember to share photos of your progress!
I can’t wait to see your butterflies come together! Please post your photos to Instagram using #butterflybunchquilt
Let’s make something awesome together,
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