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    Garrison, North Dakota 58540

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Jan 2017

Paper Piecing

Paper Piecing

We hope that you are keeping warm with patches of fun!

Paper Piecing, or Foundation Piecing, is the artful technique of machine sewing pieces of fabric right onto paper, muslin or a thinner fabric. This popular method was resurrected in the 1990’s. It became “the in-thing,” again with the quilting community because once the process is mastered, the blocks will come out perfectly!

The Golden Rule: Start each project with a new needle. Also, remember your tools:

  • Pattern
  • Foundation paper
  • Rotary Cutter
  • A mat
  • Add-A-Quarter Ruler

Paper Piecing basics: Use a paper foundation to sew your fabric block. These already have your stitching lines on them, making them very easy to follow.  When you have finished with all of the blocks, and they are stitched together, tear (actually, rip!) the paper from the back of the fabric. Examples of papers that you can use: freezer paper, newspaper print, tracing paper and vellum (we prefer newspaper print with the patterns already printed on them). Just make sure that it can go through a copier/printer if you need to print your own. Be selective.

Spoiler Alert: When choosing freezer paper, you are able to just press the initial piece right onto the pattern.

For easier ripping later, perforate to your (well, almost) heart’s content, so using a machine needle that’s a Sharp 70/10, will help. Try a stitch length of between 15-19 ( or a 1.5-1.8, depending on machine). You can minimize stretch by assuring the straight grain of the fabric is on the edge of the block.  This is not always achieved, though, when using patterns with lines that don’t follow the straight grain.  Just be careful!

For Seam Allowances: Be sure to trim back seam allowances to an even width upon sewing each seam. This is where your Add  A Quarter ruler comes in handy.  You do not want to have thick bunches of misbehaving fabric gathering on the back of your blocks. Be sure to cut fabric pieces a bit larger than you’ll need. Add approximately 1/4” as you cut your strips or pieces.

Merry Moose hopes that your experience with Paper Piecing will be a positive one. Be sure to let us know how we can assist you or check out our paper piecing class.  We’d be happy to help you pick out a beginner paper piecing pattern, also, if you’d like.  We, at Merry Moose, thank you for reading our blog!