Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lessons Learned While Paper Piecing

I'm an experienced paper piecer. Well, as experienced as someone who only began quilting a year and a half ago can be. But, I've done my fair share: at least a dozen Farmer's Wife blocks and a couple mini quilts. In the past, I've always used large pieces of fabric and my add-a-quarter ruler to trim after each seam. If cutting guides were provided in a pattern, I simply ignored them. Isn't that the beauty of paper piecing? Not needing to do any advanced cutting? Sure, sometimes I'd end up with odd shapes of leftover fabric, but that's why I have a scrap box, right?

The Lucky Stars BOM includes cutting guides. I considered using them, but I hate wasting a lot of fabric and those who'd used the guides had posted on Flickr that they'd noticed a lot of waste. Since I'm using my precious Liberty of London stash, I wanted to keep waste to a minimum.  So, no advanced cutting using the provided guidelines. At the same time, I didn't want to just use my entire fat quarters and trim as I went because I'd be left with weird shapes that might not be reusable.  What's a girl to do?

I ended up cutting up the templates and cutting my fabric in advance, adding a half inch or so extra around the perimeter of each shape. This worked pretty well, except I wasn't quite as precise as I should have been. The result was a lot of seam ripping and a few seams that were less than a quarter inch. I was extremely frustrated when, after sewing a seam, I'd find that my fabric piece didn't quite cover the area it should have.

That said, the end result was totally worth it. There was hardly any fabric wasted! My lesson learned is that I need to be extremely precise when cutting my pieces and I should always err on the side of caution and add an extra quarter inch. 

Isn't she pretty? I can't wait to make February's block!


  1. After listing all the reasons why I don't paper piece, I'm glad to see that you do, and that you decided to go with the Liberty. It looks lovely, and I'm sure you are pleased with it!

  2. that star is lovely! the liberty prints look wonderful with the white.

  3. That block is so pretty!!I've only paper pieced a couple of times and usually end up unpicking quite a bit. I never seem to pick a big enough scrap to work with :)

  4. She is gorgeous!!! Loving the florals.