Thursday, August 25, 2011

Paper Piecing: A Tailoring Thursday and Tutorial Combination by All Things Belle

Hi all! This is Jennifer from All Things Belle.

I'm so excited to be guest posting today on a subject that I truly love! Have you tried paper piece quilting before? It is perfect for those of you like me that crave exact piecing. Today I'm going to walk you through a tutorial on a easy block. I hope that by the end you are excited and dying to learn more about this truly classic technique.

Today we are going to make a very easy peasy heart mini block. You can make this into a little pillow, mini quilt, potholder..and the list goes on!

What do you need?
*scrap fabric
*copy paper - for your printed pattern
*old credit card or something of that shape & weight
*rotary cutter
*cutting mat
*extra fine seam ripper
*tape
*iron
* add a 1/4" ruler
*tweezers
*glue stick

How do you do it?
1.) Print out this pattern - you can download it here. Keep in mind that your finished project will be a mirror image of your pattern. Now because this is an easy pattern, all the piecing will be done on the same page. With more complex patterns, you would have to cut apart main sections to complete and then sew together.

2.)In paper piecing we work in numerical order, so the first section we will do is #1. Pick a scrap piece of fabric that is at least 1/2" wider then section #1. Place the printed side of the paper down on the table. Add a dab of glue stick to the wrong side of the fabric and adhere right side up on the back of the paper - centered into section #1. It helps to hold it up against the light to make sure you have placed it correctly.

3.)Now before we begin sewing, decrease your stitch length somewhere between 1-2. This shorter stitch will make it much easier for you to tear the paper off later. You will not be removing paper until the very end.

4.) With the printed side of the paper facing up, fold back the line between #1 and #2. Using your add a 1/4" ruler, trim the seam allowance to 1/4". You can discard the excess fabric or save for another project. Unfold the pattern.

5.)We will always be sewing on the front side of the paper and laying fabric down on the back. Now find a fabric scrap that fits at least a 1/2" larger than section #2. Place this fabric down on section #1, right sides together with raw edges matching up. Hold or pin in place and turn the paper back over with printed side facing up. You will now stitch right on the line between section #1 and #2.

6.) Gently press the fabric open with an iron.


7.) Repeat step #4 for the section 2 borders. Find a suitable piece of fabric for section #3 -remember that your fabric can be scraps, but they must be 1/2" larger than the printed area. This is the most common step people have trouble with because they use too small a piece of fabric. It is much easier to cut away excess that to start over or to rip the itty bitty stitches..

8.) Place the #3 fabric right side down on section 1&2 - rights sides together with raw edges lined up. Again making sure that when fabric is folded back over it will completely cover the #3 section with room to spare. Hold or pin in place and flip over to the printed paper side. Sew on the #3 / #1&#2 border. Press fabric open.

9.) Now repeat those steps for the remaining sections...

More pressing...

More cutting..

TADA! All done - whew! That was easy, right? Now you can gently remove the paper from the back. Use your tweezers to help remove small pieces in the stitches. Your project is now reading for finishing. I think this would be an adorable little sachet pillow.

There are so many fun things you can make with paper piecing. You will love and be amazed at the easy precision. You can find more free paper piecing patterns at my blog over at All Things Belle and ones to purchase on my Etsy store.

Thank you so much for joining me! I hope I have removed some of the mystery of foundation piecing and have you excited to go try it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No Internet?

Yep.  For the next couple of weeks I will be mostly internet free.  While I'm away I have some great tutorials from some guest bloggers that will be posting! Yay!

So spread the word for me when they pop up since I probably won't be on twitter much either! Egads.

Will you all miss me?

Now if only I could stop stressing over every little thing! ;)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oven Mitt Tutorial

Quick, fast and fun! 
They make a great gift or just put a few together for yourself. 

MATERIALS
  • 1/2 yard insulated batting
  • 1/2 yard cotton fabric
  • Matching thread
DIRECTIONS

1.  To create the pattern piece:

 You can, trace an oven mitt you already have and like the size of, then add 1/2" inch to the entire outside.
OR, if using Insul-Bright they have a template you can increase by 300% and use.
OR, you can do the following:

Put your hand on a piece of paper.

Trace around your fingers and thumb separately, giving about 1" of space from your hand and the outline.
Add an additional 1/4" allowance around the mitt outline.  
2.  Cut out your template.
3.  Cut out 4 pieces of the cotton fabric using the template, 2 right side up and 2 wrong side up.
Cut out 2 pieces of the insulated batting using the template. 
4. Lay one piece of right side up fabric on top of one piece of insulated batting.
Lay one piece of wrong side up fabric on top of one piece of insulated batting.
5.  Place pieces on top of one another, with right sides of fabric facing.  
6.  Pin. 
7.  Sew around the sides and top with a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave the opening for your hand un-stitched.
8.  Clip the seam at the V where the fingers and thumb divide.  Careful not to cut the stitches. 
9.  Turn right side out.  
10.  Take the remaining two fabric pieces and place right sides together.  
 
11.  Pin. 
12.  Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance along the top and sides, leaving the bottom un-stitched. 
13.  Clip the V seam here as well. 
14.  Place the fabric only mitt you just sewed together over the insulated one.  Fabric right sides together. 
15.  Sew around the opening with a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving an un-sewn 2" turning gap. 
 16.  Pull the entire mitt right side out through the opening.
17.  Then tuck the lining back inside the insulated mitt.  
18.  Edge stitch around the opening to finish. 
And there you go!
Again like the patchwork potholders, you can double up the insulated batting for a bit more heat protection!
You could put together some patchwork to cut out into mitts as well.  

Pattern Grading

Tailoring Thursdays™, Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Sewers

Pattern Grading

Often times you get a pattern that doesn't fit just right.  You can make patterns smaller or larger by a process called grading. 

As a seamstress and pattern designer I have often had to grade patterns.  

I never like to redo something that has already been done well.  
So for details on measurements, math and grading pattern pieces specific to ones measurements go see these posts:
http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/4368/making-sense-of-pattern-grading

To practice grading here is what I teach my students.  
It works easiest to use graph paper with lines at a 1/4" distance.

1.  Draw a circle on the graph paper. 

2.  Trace the circle onto plain paper.  
3.  Cut out the circle you just copied.  
4.  Fold cut out circle in half and then fold in half again.  This is to create the equidistant lines -- which is easy on a circle. :)  
5.  Cut on the fold lines. 
6. See how the circle pieces fit inside the first circle. 
7.  Draw lines down the center of the circle creating the same lines where you cut the circle into 4 segments. 
8.  Now to enlarge or "grade" the circle by 1/2", place the corner of the segment on the graph lines equidistant from the lines drawn in step 7 (for 1/2" it would be two lines).
9.  Using a repositionable tape, tape each corner of each segment piece 2 lines from the center lines.
10.  Trace the edges of the segments onto the original paper.  
11.   Connect the opening segments. 
12.  Now you can see if you wanted to make the new larger circle larger the original segment pieces would give you a HUGE gap to connect those corners. 
13.  Instead, repeat steps 1 - 12 with the new larger circle. 
In the following pictures I increased it by 1/4" in diameter.   
Practice with circles, then with squares, then with triangles, then with hourglasses.  
Then move on to your pattern! 

Happy Grading!
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