Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tips for Paper Piecing

Paper piecing is one of my favorite techniques — both because of the accuracy it gives and because it allows me to easily piece blocks that wouldn't be possible using any other method.

I have found that there is no need to use vellum, newsprint, or other "fancy" papers for my patterns. In my opinion, plain ol' copy paper from the copy shop works just fine.

This week I got a call from Evelyn McKim in Bend, Oregon, who also uses regular copy paper — with an added twist. When the stitching is done, Evelyn sprays her finished piece with Mary Ellen's Best Press to make the paper pull away easily. Whodathunk?

Here's what Evelyn had to say:

"A great way to save money for more fabric and my new found LOVE Texture Magic is to use regular copy paper when piecing. It is a lot cheaper than newsprint or foundation paper.

First set your machine stitch length to stitch 18-20 stitches to the inch (1.5) so that your paper pulls apart with ease.

Next, to ensure that you keep a clean and crisp seam, spray a little Best Press starch from the opposite side of the paper (completed fabric side). Give it one final press if needed and you will be amazed that your seams stay nice and straight . . . and the paper pulls apart with no fuss.

Side note: I have never had an issue with bleeding but would suggest that one always tests on scraps first.

Happy Piecing!

Evelyn McKim

Some of my favorite paper-pieced patterns are Air Show, Chinese New Year, Feeling Crabby, and Spiragyra.

I made a version of my Feeling Crabby quilt for E. E. Schenck using just two fabrics from their Gelato collection — one fabric that gradates from light to dark red and another that gradates from light to dark blue. The pattern and a kit containing the fabrics is featured in the current Keepsake Quilting catalog.

The quilt was quilted by Sharon Rawlings and Jana Jammet at 2Quilting Bees. Great job, ladies!

Happy stitching,


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