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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Paper Piecing

Craftsy was having a huge sale last week. I bought several classes. The one that I've been working through is a class on Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing by Carol Doak. I've done foundation paper piecing before, but not truly successfully. Carol Doak's method is probably one of the ones several people use, but I think she probably had a lot to do with figuring it out.

 I made four blocks. This is what they looked like completed but not trimmed to size. Her method involves using rectangles and triangles of fabric that are bigger than you will need. There are people who worry about wasting fabric doing this, but her method means that you WILL have enough fabric to cover the space it needs to cover. Frankly, especially for a beginner, that is worth wasting a little fabric.

She also has a method that helps you place the new piece of fabric in the right place by trimming what will be the seam allowance of the previous piece(s) before you do the placement. With this method, it is almost impossible to make a mistake.

What you are looking at is what will be a 6 inch star block, with 44 pieces. I have never made anything with such small pieces. I have never even made a 12 inch block with this many pieces. And it is likely that all the points will be in the right place, on the block and not in the seam area once this has been put together.

I made these out of scraps. The dark green fabric is something I bought in the 70s. Everything else came out of scrap bags from Allentown Sewing. I have enough of the blue background to make a border around the finished block.

This was the "beginner's block" in her class. She teaches others that have triangle pieces. The big lesson in this block is how to make your points land in the correct place. Otherwise it truly is a beginner's block even though it looks very complicated. Part of the lesson here is that even a beginner can do something that would be almost impossible in regular piecing. Once you have made this block there truly is nothing you can't attempt.

The question, of course, with something like this is how does one quilt anything with such tiny pieces.

I definitely can recommend this class.


  1. Awesome job Stella! Now we know why you have been so quiet lately!

  2. Wow! That's a lot of pieces! Love your choice of fabrics. And they all look crisp and perfect. Hope you post the finished block. Bet it'll be pretty.

  3. Your block looks so great! I love paper-piecing but I'd never heard of cutting the seam allowance of the previous piece. I can't wait to try it. I have such a hard time with angled pieces because I just can't get my mind the backwardness of angles. This will be so fun to try. I've been making a Farmer's Wife quilt, all paper pieced, with those aforementioned angled pieces. Maybe the hair that is left on my head will not get pulled out!

  4. Beautiful block. I've just recently started paper piecing and it makes it so much easier to get your points in the right place.


  5. Stella - have you tried placing the fabric on the TOP of the pattern and sewing from the back? It's backwards but the blocks do NOT come out reversed. I did a tutorial if you want to check it out -
    LHQ - Foundation Paper Piecing