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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tutorial: Quilt Top Paper Piecing Style

If you remember, I've been working on a new quilt. It's a hexagon quilt, and I'm trying out paper piecing. This is all new to me. I've been enjoying it, although it's a crazy amount of work.

There are several ways to piece a quilt this way. In one way, you baste through the paper, and then later take the basting out. In the way I'm doing, I'm tacking down the corners, and then removing the templates so I can reuse them, and I don't take the basting out.

If you're interested in my method (for those of you who don't think I should be committed for attempting a project this time consuming), here's what I'm doing. I think this would be stunning to do smaller and frame to hang as a piece of art.

I printed my templates from this website.

Step One:
Cut and print a template. After a few uses, my corners started to get a little questionable, so I used some shiny tape just over the corners (if you do them along the whole edge, the template doesn't stick to the fabric as well). Cut a square of fabric a little more than 1/4" bigger around each edge of the template.

Step Two:
Fold over one edge and finger press.

Step Three:
Insert the needle with a smallish knot tied on the end of the thread into the fold. Pull through. You can see my needle in the above photo ready to be pulled through the fabric.

Step Four:
Fold over the next edge (I work counter-clockwise) and finger press. This is the hardest part to get lined up. You can sort of tell where your template should go by lining it up with your previous finger fold from step two. This will hide your knot, which appeals to my sense of neatness, although it's probably really unnecessary.

Step Five:
Back tack (I'm not really sure if back tacking is necessary, but I'm paranoid, so I do it--it does seem to help the hexagons keep their shape a bit better). To back tack, insert your needle a tiny bit behind where your thread is already coming out of your fabric, make sure you are catching all your layers of fabric, then come out again, close to your original thread, and pull through. My needle in this photo is all poised to back tack. I just need to pull it to complete the back tack.

Step Six:
To do the next corner, fold down the fabric, again making sure your template is secure into your corner and lined up with your first fold. Once you have it all lined up, finger press it. Then take a small stitch on the corner, making sure to go through all the layers of fabric.

Step Seven.
Back tack.

Step Eight:
Continue around, keeping the template tight and back tacking at each corner. When you get to the last corner, it's going to look like this.

Step Nine:
Pull taut, then tuck corner under, making sure the fold goes all the way to the edge. I use my thumb nail to make sure I get a crisp fold. This is the same method I use for each corner, but it was the easiest to see with this corner.

Step Ten:
Fold down, and tack.

Step Eleven:
Put needle back under first knot. Pull up through fabric.

Step Twelve:
Tie a square knot around string (my mom always helped me remember where I was by saying I should make a rainbow and a smiley face). Cut thread.

The front will look like this:

And the back will look like this:

Then you can pop the template out and carefully press with your iron to keep sharp corners and crisp edges.
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