It's my new infatuation. For the 4×5 Bee (yes, I joined another bee), I wanted to try a block style that I'd never done before and decided to give paper piecing a try. It's an interesting process that makes my mind turn around in circles and upside down and, at times, frustrating when I didn't cut a piece quite big enough.
I started with this block.
I got about halfway through and realized that it was the wrong size. (doh!) It says clearly in the directions 10" block. Somehow I missed that detail. I completed the block anyway since it was good practice and I like things finished.
The second block I tried was this one (obviously not complete):
Again, I got halfway through and something just wasn't right. It didn't measure out to 12.5", as the directions said it would. I printed the template per the directions and to the same percentage as I needed to on the previous template, but I should have checked the measurements anyway. It was a tad small. I stopped here, although I'll probably finish the block at some point just to have it done. It measures about 11.75".
Finally, I printed the template to the correct size and checked the measurement before sewing. This is the resulting (correct) block:
I didn't have enough of the pattern green, so I switched to a solid green, which meant that I needed to switch to a pattern blue for the center. I suppose I could have had two solids. I love the blue that I used before, but decided that somehow I couldn't have two solids. Maybe the next one will.
This was definitely a learning experience, sometimes to the point of frustration. Some tips for paper piecing:
- Don't expect perfection your first couple times.
- Don't cut your template to square ahead of time. If there's more than one template on the printout, cut them out, but leave room around the seam allowance. You'd want to cut it when you're done, using that line as a guide for your ruler.
- Paper piecing wastes a lot of fabric, but don't try and skimp on the fabric otherwise you won't have enough. Go big and just cut it down.
- Fold your template slightly to make a crease on the edge you're going to sew on next. It creates a fold and allows you to see where to place the fabric below it to make a 1/4" seam allowance without wasting too much fabric in that seam allowance.
- Iron and cut each seam allowance as you go. It makes for a lot of back and forth, but it really is the best way.
- Learn how to reverse the fabric in your mind to "see" where it will go when folded. It helped with some of the triangles and trying to use up smaller pieces to be able to "turn" the fabric the right way so that when folded, it covered the larger space.
I think that's it for now. At least that's all the details that are still in my head! Now to pick out fabric for the other four blocks!