This is a Sewing Basics Series on Paper Piecing.
You can find all of the posts under the Sewing Basics Tab at the top of my blog.
Please let me know if you have any questions or something doesn't make sense!
**My instructions for this series specifically pertain to my pattern Two Stars Squared. The method will be the same for any pattern, though the details may vary.
RS = Right Side of fabric, with the print or design
WS = Wrong Side of fabric
SA = Seam Allowance - this is the amount of space you have between the edge of the fabric and your seam line, or where you sew. All SA in this pattern are 1/4", as in most, if not all, Paper Pieced Patterns.
Cutting Out Your Fabric
I find my blocks go together faster if I have all my fabric cut out before I start making my blocks. But you certainly don't have to do that. As I've often cut as I went too. Here are two different methods for cutting out your fabric pieces.
The Quick Way:
**** SUPER IMPORTANT!!!
When using a fabric print with an obvious right and wrong side: If your pattern piece is facing UP (so the text is on top) TURN YOUR FABRIC OVER so the Right Side is facing down!! Especially if you have a weird shape you are cutting, it will turn out backwards if you don't do this, and will simply become an extra scrap piece.
Then cut your fabric AT LEAST 3/8" wider than the shape you are cutting. If you are just starting out with paper piecing, the more generous you are with the size you cut, the easier it will be. As you get more practice, you can start trimming it smaller. But I ALWAYS cut it at least 3/8" wider to allow for seam allowance on all sides. You don't want your block falling apart!
Repeat with all of your pieces.
*Sometimes I do this step as I sew. Especially if I'm doing a scrappy block where I'm using lots of different fabrics. I just cut as I get to the next piece.
The More Efficient Way (with less left over scraps):
Print out one extra pattern piece.
Carefully cut out each shape on the lines.
*** SUPER IMPORTANT!!!
Just like before, if your fabric is facing right side UP, so you can see the print design. MAKE SURE that your pattern piece is turned over so the print side is facing down!! (MY PICTURE IS THE WRONG WAY). Each piece in this pattern has the number on it so don't worry about not knowing which piece is up or down. If you are using a pattern that isn't numbered or marked, then make a mark on the top of each section before you cut out the pieces.
Cut around each piece AT LEAST 3/8" wider than the pattern piece on ALL sides! You can give it more space if you prefer to have a little more wiggle room! You won't need more than 1/2" wider.
If you are cutting a lot of the same piece out of the same fabric it is easier to fold your fabric and cut them all at the same time. BUT beware that your fabric will be backwards on every other fold. In this instance, rather than cutting exactly around your shape, cute a general rectangle or square shape around it, with plenty of SA either way the pattern is laying.
pattern on folded fabric
no matter how I flip my pattern piece around it will still fit with enough room to spare.
Save your pattern pieces in a little bag to keep them together, and then you can use them again and again! :)
Tomorrow we'll start sewing and finish your block! :)
p.s. Mike mentioned that he didn't have a light table. But he does have a glass coffee table that he could put a light underneath! That would be perfect!! I had once seen a tutorial on Homespun Threads on making a light table, but I couldn't find it. I think you could google how to make one yourself if you are interested. Even a clear or frosted piece of plastic on a wood frame over a light would work great! Hopefully that gives you some more ideas to help you use what you might have lying around. :) Thanks Mike!