"Almost" Paper Piecing September 2018

You will need:
Pattern, cut out to include outer seam allowance
Washable glue stick
Sewing machine
Presser foot with center guide (edgestitch foot or blind hem foot) 
Cutting ruler with quarter inch marking. (A purpose made PP ruler is ideal.)
Rotary Cutting mat
Rotary Cutter (28m preferred)
Scissors (optional, for rough cutting)

General observations:

  • Pre-fold the pattern lines. You won’t regret it.
  • Use plenty of glue, more than you think you need. This piece has to stay on without shifting throughout the process. You can pin, but pins get in my way, so I prefer glue.
  • I like my blind hemming foot for this because the guide extends behind the needle and I find it more stable sewing against the paper, but it’s a matter of preference.
  • Avoid strongly directional fabrics. Angled stitching lines send the stripes off in unintended directions.
  • It is possible to finger press the whole block as you go and only press with the iron at the end. You won’t hurt the paper to iron it. I press on the fabric side.
  • Be sure to leave a seam allowance on all outside edges. I don’t pre-fold these as they are so narrow, but I start with the pattern trimmed to size including the outside seam allowances. It is then easy to trim to size along the pattern edge.
  • Once the piece is complete, release the paper and press the block flat. Yes, I (gasp!) use steam. Heavily starch or Best Press and press well. There are all kinds of bias edges on these and you don’t want it stretching before your quilt top is sewn together.

Let’s get started:

1.      On the front of your pattern find piece #1.

Rough cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover this area with at least a ¼” overhang on ALL sides. I hold it up to the light and look through the pattern to be sure. Turn pattern printed side down. If you have pre-folded your lines it should be easy to locate this section on the back. Apply a liberal coat of glue within the section. Center your fabric, pretty side up, over this section and stick it down.

2.     Turn pattern back to printed side. Fold back along the line between #1 and #2, leaving the fabric hanging out (this is the seam allowance.) Place on mat. Cut ¼” from fold. (This is where a pp ruler is worth is price! The ridge lines up on the paper perfectly.)

3.    Take a piece of fabric large enough to cover area #2 with at least a ¼” overhang on ALL sides and place it, pretty sides together, along the cut edge of your previous piece. NOTE – be sure your piece is big enough to cover the area AFTER IT IS STITCHED AND TURNED OUT. Ask me how I know to put this in CAPS! This piece does not need to have a straight edge, as it can be trimmed after sewing. It took me a really (really, really) long time to realize this, like as in I just realized it right now, while taking the pictures for this tutorial: The pattern will tell you if your fabric piece is big enough. Your seam allowance is matched up (or bigger than required to be trimmed later) and the folded down pattern is in the exact position of your unsewn fabric. You will be looking through a lot of layers, but you can see, or feel if your light is not good, how much fabric is back there. Yay!

4.     Put the whole thing on the machine so the folded paper pattern is on top. Stitch along the edge of the paper. Finger press fabric #2 open. Double check that it fills the area with at least ¼” overhang into all adjacent areas (again, a light source helps.) Trim seam allowance if necessary. Press or finger press.

5.     Locate area #3, fold back the pattern, trim the fabric at ¼”, repeat Step

6.     Continue for all sections.

Post scripts:

  • Another technique I love, love, love for paper piecing hexies I learned from Marilyn Peterson’s (www.cottonandchocolate.com) videos.  Scroll down on her homepage and there are links. If the interwebs weren’t a mystery I would put the link in directly. If you are in the Thousand Oaks, CA area, stop and visit this wonderful shop.




The pattern I'm using here is one section the teapot from

"Grandma's Tea Party"

by Beth Maddocks / Piece By Number copyright 1999

The sections were joined together using a 1/4" piecing foot