Paper Precision

Last year, (or was it two?) I tried paper piecing for the first time and I found it terribly fiddly. Then, the blocks I made didn’t seem to turn out right. They were too small or didn’t match up as well as I had hoped. Something was wrong, and I decided to put it aside.

Last fall, I had to revisit paper piecing again for a project for do.good.stitches.

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This time, I had much better success with the sizing and everything turned out as it should have.

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Still, I found it again to be fiddly, and I have trouble with the amount of waste fabric it produces. Basically, you have to cut your pieces of fabric way bigger than you need to. Then, after you sew them onto the paper and fabric, you trim off the excess. It can be significant.

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The reward, though, is usually a perfectly pieced block that has pointy points and looks really crisp and precise. I say usually because sometimes, I have been known to sew on the wrong piece or sew a piece in the wrong place. Paper piecing seams are notoriously difficult to rip out because your stitch length is really tiny.

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On the other hand, one of the great things about paper piecing is that your fabric stays nice and stabilized by the paper, so there is less stretching or distorting of fabric and seams. And, of course, since you are using bits of fabric that are bigger than you need, your seam allowances are always just right because you trim them to be so.

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The last part of paper piecing, the removing of the paper, is also fiddly because you’ve got all those seams and sometimes that paper just likes to stay attached to the fabric. It’s a time consuming process but, it’s hard to argue with the results. These blocks were made for this month’s do.good.stitches project, and I think they turned out rather nicely. So nicely, in fact, that I am planning a few more of my own.

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This is a good example of how trying things just once is not enough to determine whether something is going to work for you. Third time is the charm, they say, and it was for me here. What have you been trying lately?

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Posted on April 19, 2013, in Quilting, Sewing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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