Paper Piecing with Rob Appell of Man Sewing & Violet Craft

rob violet

Rob and Violet Craft team up to teach us how to foundation paper piece using a free downloadable pattern, solid yardage, a lapel stick, and the Add-a-Quarter Plus Ruler.

Get the supplies needed here:

Video Transcript (Download PDF HERE):

Rob: The best part about Man Sewing is we are all learning together. And paper piecing is incredible. And if you haven’t seen my dear friend Violet Craft’s Abstraction Patterns, you’ve got to check them out. We are going to learn today from one of the very best experts on paper piecing. Let’s get started.


Violet: So what I put together for Rob was his Man Sewing logo and we made a foundation paper piece pattern of Rob’s needle. So we’re going to work on teaching Rob how to foundation paper piece.

Rob: Yes, and so you can all learn with me if you bounce down into the description below. We have a link for the free pattern printable. Print it out so that you’re ready to follow along as Violet takes us through the steps here.

Violet: So Rob, have you foundation paper pieces before?

Rob: Did you say successfully paper pieced before? I tried it once. And I used the same pattern about 36 times to make a four-pointed star and it was still rough. I really, really struggle with a couple of things. I don’t even want to tell people the pitfalls. I just want you to show us the successful route. I might chime in. But yeah, I wasn’t very good at it. That’s why you’re here. Please help.

Violet: Ok. Well I’ll talk about the pitfalls when we get to them.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Because I’m sure a lot of people that are watching have tried this before and have possibly run into the same problems that you had.

Rob: Right.

Violet: So we’re going to talk about how not to have those problems. And how to successfully and smoothly go through a foundation paper piece pattern.

Rob: Fantastic.

Violet: So first of all let’s talk about foundation paper piecing patterns.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: So this is what one might look like. This particular pattern has three pieces. We’ve got the A, B, and C. Not all foundation paper piecing patterns that you buy or download will look the same. Some of them, you can kind of see in here. Here’s our needle eye.

Rob: Right.

Violet: Here’s the first part of our bolt. And then the rest of our lightning bolt follows through. Sometimes all of these pieces will be put together in one seamless piece with just some lines. And they’ll, sometimes they’ll be marked with scissors and sometimes you sort of have to look at it and just guess where you’re supposed to cut this template apart depending upon who wrote the pattern.

Rob: So it’s very safe to say this is a very beginner friendly paper piecing pattern.

Violet: I think so. And that was my goal.

Rob: I got it.

Violet: When I started to do foundation paper piecing patterns I didn’t really have any experience with them. So I was building a pattern that I would know how to put together.

Rob: Great

Violet: Which has worked for others.

Rob: Yes.

Violet: So I break each one of these pieces out and I add the seam allowance around the outside edges.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: So those are all there for you. You don’t have to add any of your seam allowances. And then each of my pieces is built in order.

Rob: Ok

Violet: This one is A, this section you’ll see is B and C. And this will tell you what order you should make them in if you want to follow along with the pattern and put them together in the same order

Rob: Perfect

Violet: That I recommend.

Rob: So we start with A, go to B, move to C and so on if we’re following along with your pattern.

Violet: Yep. And if you see any of my other patterns, like some of the crazies.

Rob:  You’ve got a catalog over there with you.

Violet: I do. Such as the Jungle Abstractions Lion.

Rob: Right.

Violet: When I take you through this experience

Rob: Right.

Violet: I purposefully choose areas, and in this case we start down here with the mouth

Rob: Ok

Violet: That are a little bit, they’re not simpler because once you know this technique you can do any of it. But they’re less intimidating.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: So they don’t have small pieces in them. You don’t look at it and go, Oh my goodness I’m not going to piece that. I build you up to that.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: Another thing that I’ll do is if I have a pattern that uses a ton of background such as this guy right here. I’ll try to work you through some of these really big background areas first

Rob: Oh just to get your feel.

Violet: And so that you are using the larger pieces of your fabric

Rob: This is scrap friendly.

Violet: Yes.

Rob: Alright.

Violet: So keep all of your scraps as you go and then when you get into these smaller pieces you’re picking from all of those scraps to really have the minimal amount of waste.

Rob: Got it. Are we ready to start.

Violet: So there is a little bit of rhyme and reason to what like may look like chaos.

Rob: Right, right.


Violet: Yeah, we’re ready to start.

Rob: I’m caffeinated. I want to make it. Can we start?

Violet: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. So the first thing we’re going to do is cut these apart.

Rob: Ok

Violet: You do not, these lines right here are the dotted lines are just marking your seam allowance everything that you see that is a solid line is a stitch line or your outside border.

Rob: Ok

Violet: When you go to cut these templates apart you really don’t have to be super careful.

Rob: And while she’s cutting uncarefully I’m going to give you a disclaimer with your, oh that’s probably one of my dull cutters which is perfect for paper. I was going to say, I use an old rotary cutter and I downgrade my blades once they start nicking the fabric. I put them on handle that’s labeled paper. I have a paper cutter for photographs and stuff so

Violet: Yes

Rob: This is the one we’re set up for when we’re dealing with paper and fabric today.

Violet: And you can cut these out with scissors too if you want to.

Rob: Sure

Violet: But you don’t really have to worry about getting close to your lines. Because you want a little, when you’re putting the fabric on you want a little overage and then after you’re completely done you’ll trim it all up.

Rob: Right, right

Violet: So I’ll take these and just sort of trim off some of the really big pieces.

Rob: We call that whittling

Violet: Whittling? Whittle it away.

Rob: It’s a Man Sewing  sewing term.

Violet: Ok

Rob: Whittling. Whittling your pattern down so you’re ready to work with it.

Violet: Ok and then we’ll put all of our templates in order.

Rob: Perfect.

Violet: A, B and C.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And set these aside. And we’re going to start with our A template.

Rob: Got it.


Violet: So when you’re looking at this template you’ll see that they are numbered in order. A couple of things, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5. That is the order that you’re going to put your fabric onto this template.

Rob: One and two together first?

Violet: One and two together first.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Something else that we’re going to notice about these templates is that there are different background prints behind each of the sections.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: So in this particular pattern we have two colors. We’ve got the red and the white.

Rob: Right.

Violet: So our background is red. So everywhere that you see the little B’s you will put your background fabric.

Rob: Got it

Violet: And everywhere that you see the little stars that is where our white print needs to go.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: It’s the same on all of your templates. Something all the way through.

Rob: Perfect.

Violet: So once you’ve got your palate you know where it goes.

Rob: Got it. Got it.


Violet:  Ok so the very first thing, place that we’re going to sew is we need to get A1 to A2 together.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Now let’s just talk about foundation paper piecing and what it is.

Rob: Right.

Violet: It means that we are actually going to be sewing our fabric to this paper.

Rob: Ok

Violet: It’s going to be attached to the paper and the side that you see here is actually the back side of your pattern. So if we put these together and look at them, this one is coming from the left to the right. But our final is coming right to left.

Rob: So the pattern is transposed or reversed

Violet: Yes

Rob: Got it.

Violet: This is the back. So what you see is actually going to be on this side.

Rob: Because we’re going to be stitching right on the lines on the paper.

Violet: And all of our seam allowances are going to be tucked in between this piece of paper and our final pattern.

Rob: Got it. Makes sense.

Violet: Ok so one and two. One is a white piece, two is a red piece.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Now in some foundation paper piecing patterns you’ll be making say flying geese.

Rob: Right

Violet: Where they’re all the same or in the four point, four pointed star, is that correct?

Rob: Well kind of.

Violet: Ok so technically when you’re making one of those you repeat the same thing over and over for like possibly a circle in a big long line

Rob: Right.

Violet: So you can kind of pre cut a lot of those pieces

Rob: Ok

Violet: And have them ready. Some that I’ve seen is like people will do flying geese in a row and so they’ll have a rainbow pink all the way through. And they’ll pre cut rectangles that will sort of are going to fit in those areas. And some will have a couple of that.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: My foundation paper piecing patterns are crazy. Every piece, let’s be honest. The way they look is crazy. Every piece is a different size, it runs at a different angle. There’s no way to pre cut for these.

Rob: Got it

Violet: So I just have usually, if I’m working with big yardage, I’ll cut off a nine inch strip. That’s kind of my go to. I take a quarter yard long cut.

Rob: Right.

Violet: In this case we just have some scraps here. We’ve got some red and we’ve got some scraps of white. And we’re going to use these scraps to cut our pieces.

Rob: OK.


Violet: So the very first one we’re doing is A1.

Rob: Nice.

Violet: What goes there?

Rob: The A1 part is going to be white.

Violet: That’s right.

Rob: Ok

Violet: So here’s a piece of fabric.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And we’re going to lay it on there and see if it covers the area that we’re trying to cover.

Rob: That whole little wedge that was A1?

Violet: That whole little wedge. And we also need to cover at least a quarter of an inch all the way around the outside.

Rob: Oh I wonder if that’s where I went wrong before. Not, because I would like, as I tried to open it I would just never  get to where I was going.

Violet: Yeah, yeah.

Rob: I think you have a trick for that coming.

Violet: I do have a trick for that.. So what we’re going to do is put this fabric underneath. And this is a huge piece of fabric. We don’t need one this big but it’s what we’re going to use.

Rob: Well starting easy show us with someone who’s never done this before.

Violet: I also always suggest use a much bigger piece that you think you need.

Rob: Right.

Violet: Why not? I mean if at the end of the day it means that you use a tiny bit more fabric but you have saved yourself the frustration of maybe never coming back to foundation paper piecing.

Rob: Right, right.

Violet: It’s worth it

Rob: To have the scraps

Violet: In the beginning. Like you’ll get better at it . You’ll be able to judge it closer and you’ll be able to get these smaller pieces in later.

Rob: Right.

Violet: Just give yourself a lot of room.

Rob: Ok

Violet: So we’re going to give ourselves a lot of room. So we’re laying this down and we can see that this generously covers all angles and all seam allowances around the outside edge.

Rob: Right.

Violet: I am going to take our handy glue stick here. And we’re using the lapel stick.

Rob: You actually pronounced it wrong. It’s La Appell stick. It’s just a misprint on the label there.

Violet: I love La Appell stick. Where’s the apostrophe?

Rob: It’s coming. It’s French for glue stick. And so French for Man Sewing glue stick. Love La Appell stick.

Violet: I only usually use this one the very first piece. And it’s just to hold it in place. You could also a lot of people use a pin and they will just stick a pin in there.

Rob: Right.

Violet: Some of these small pieces like then it’s going to be hard to fold the paper and cut

Rob: To sew around it

Violet:  Because there’s a pin in the way.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: And so I will just take this and put a little piece, a little glue on that area.

Rob: The Lapel stick can be found in a participating link below.

Violet: On here ok.

Rob: A trick, ya because I was doing the pin thing and that was another problem I had in there.

Violet: Well and a lot of times it will shift too

Rob: Yes

Violet: Like for some reason when you get the pin in there you’re fabric will shift underneath it.

Rob: So we’re ready to sew, right? Because I’m sewing.

Violet: No. How many pieces of fabric do you need to sew something together?

Rob: Two

Violet: How many do we have?

Rob: One. I was counting the paper.

Violet: That doesn’t count.

Rob: Sorry.

Violet: So the first seam line that we’re going to sew is in between piece one and piece two. Ok?

Rob: Ok

Violet: So we’re going to lay this right here. It’s called an At-A-Quarter-Plus ruler. And I’m using both today. I don’t need both. I could do it all with this but I’ve just really gotten used to having them both.

Rob: Ok

Violet: The difference is that on the At-A-Quarter ruler this is about an eighth of an inch edge. Right, it’s a little thicker. It’s a nice solid piece. This one, the At-A-Quarter-Plus has a fine edge here that we’re going to use for folding our paper on.

Rob: Oh so there’s a benefit to that.

Violet: Yeah, obsolutely.

Rob: Ok. Got it. So a paper piecer, if they are getting just one they’d want the Plus.

Violet: They would want the Plus

Rob: The At-A-Quarter-Plus

Violet: I’ve seen people come in and then they have their ruler and they have a business card or a post card taped to the top of it so they can flip this post card out and use it to crease their paper. This is a lot handier. The one I carry around in my mine is actually the color of my front door. A paint swatch. So I always know it’s mine. My front door. So I’m going to lay this on the line.

Rob: Between A1 and A2?

Violet: Between A1 and A2

Rob: Got it.

Violet: And I’m just going to fold the paper back.

Rob: Aren’t I doing a nice job so far?

Violet: I’m going to let you do something in a minute.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And we’re going to crease that line.

Rob: I’m not complaining by the way. Ok so creased on the line between A1 and A2

Violet: And this is where if you have done this before, if you’ve taken a class, that this might be a little different than what you’ve learned.

Rob: Right.

Violet: We are going to put this on here, our ruler, and we are going to go ahead and we’re going to cut our quarter inch seam allowance before we ever even sew anything.

Rob: Ok, perfect.

Violet:  Ok? And the reason we are going to do that is because we now know exactly where this next piece has to line up, instead of just guessing.

Rob: That was the problem I was having, I was guessing all the time. And I was guessing incorrectly unfortunately.

Violet: And when you get something that has a tricky angle, that goes in opposite directions, it can really change like where that fabric is supposed to go. So A2 is our next piece and I’m going to just cut off

Rob: So still a generous cut

Violet: Still a generous cut.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And it’s definitely going to cover .

Rob: I agree.

Violet: We’re going to put it in its home. Now we are using solids today.

Rob: Right.

Violet: That makes a big difference because you don’t really have to worry whether or not your fabric is directional.

Rob: So solids are more user friendly.  I just realized that.

Violet: Much more user friendly.

Rob: Did you see the light bulb? Ding, it just popped in. Ok

Violet: Yeah because that’s another common occurrence people will sew their fabric on and then flip it out and realize that they’ve got the wrong side out.

Rob: So let’s not over confuse everybody at home, if they were checking it to be in its home and it were a print, it would be print side up right now?

Violet: Print side down

Rob: Down. Ok, thank you.

Violet: Because what you’re making faces towards your cutting mat.

Rob: So all the pieces are print side down

Violet: And your paper faces you

Rob: Against the paper, thank you. So if you’re doing prints at home the print is away from the paper. Thank you, thank you.

Violet: When you’re putting it in its home, ok?

Rob: Got it.

Violet: It’s now facing down, it’s in its place.

Rob: OK

Violet: We’ve got it there. We’re going to flip our paper back and flip that seam allowance out, that we just cut. And we have a nice straight line here so we’re just going to go ahead and line up with it. If we didn’t have a nice straight line there we would use our At-A Quarter

Rob: Right.

Violet: And put it on and clean it up.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And we’d make sure we’re in our home, everything fits and we line up.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And now you have to transfer this to the top.

Rob: Ok

Violet: So you’re going to lift it out and lay it right on top where it was.

Rob: Got it. And you gave yourself distance on both ends for your seam allowance

Violet: I did. Now if you have a piece that just, let’s do this again, that barely fits in its home. Like say this angle is cut off and so, or it comes in this direction. So it’s not going to work. A little trick, it’s really easy once you’ve got it laid down in its home is just to take one pin and mark the edge. It’s very simple if you can get it in.

Rob: I’ve, I’ve dulled the tips of the pins just because I knew you were going to try this.

Violet: Thank you

Rob: You’re welcome.

Violet: You make sure it lines up. And that way you can pick it up, you can move it around.

Rob: Right

Violet: It doesn’t matter if it accidentally fell on the floor or if you shifted your position.

Rob: Because you were so accurate in your placement.

Violet: Because you were so accurate in your placement.

Rob: Ok. Awesome.

Violet: And now you know exactly where it goes. So Rob how many pieces of fabric do we have?

Rob: Two and paper.

Violet: Are you ready to sew?

Rob: I am

Violet: So we’re going to sew, we’re holding them together in place.

Rob: Ok, I get to sew?

Violet: You do.

Rob: And I’m sewing on line between A1 and A2. Now tell me, am I going to sew down here through A3 as well, does that

Violet: You are. You want to go at least a quarter of an inch past

Rob: Got it

Violet: Because that’s your seam allowance

Rob: Ok

Violet: And you want also to tack at least a quarter of an inch past the end of that line.

Rob: Got it. And you also did something special to my machine.

Violet:  I did. I changed your stitch length.

Rob: Yes you did

Violet: So you took your stitch length down all the way to a 2. It’s a little different on every machine. Something I do to test is do a little test run.

Rob: Right, ok.

Violet: If you can still get a seam ripper in between the stitches, that’s how tight you should be.

Rob: Ok, but tight enough. And we want it tight because we want to be able to easily tear the paper away when we’re done. Or easily perforate it.

Violet: Ya, it will self perforate the paper so the paper just falls away after the whole thing is put together.

Rob: Am I ready to roll?

Violet: You’re ready to roll

Rob: Ok, here we go. And we are not backstitching you said earlier.

Violet: No we are not because the next time you add a piece of fabric on you’ll be closing that seam with your next stitch.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: So you don’t need to back tack.

Rob: Got it. And I’m going to come all the way off. And I can hit my thread cutter, though?

Violet: Yep.

Rob: I love that. Ok.

Violet: Ok

Rob: How’d I do?

Violet: It’s on the line.

Rob: On the line

Violet: That’s all you need to be able to do to foundation paper piece. We talk about beginner patterns and how beginner patterns say must be able to accurately sew a quarter inch seam allowance. You don’t even need to do that.

Rob: No because the quarter inch is created basically either before or later.

Violet: Yeah. You just need to be able to sew a straight line.

Rob: Ok

Violet: So now when you go to the other side. This is a very Ta-Dah!

Rob: Ah huh

Violet: And there’s your seam.

Rob: Ok, that’s not too exciting yet.

Violet: Not too exciting. Piece one is in its place where it’s supposed to be. Piece two is in its place where it’s supposed to be.

Rob: Ok I can see that.

Violet: We are going to press this out

Rob: Got it. Was that iron hot enough for us?

Violet:  Yes it is.

Rob: It might be goofing off a little over there. Ok, cool.

Violet: It’s all ready to go.

Rob: Perfect.

Violet: It doesn’t look like a lot yet.

Rob: Not yet. And you know me and my coffee–what’s next, what’s next, what’s next?


Violet: So our next piece is the A3 because one, two, three

Rob: Ok

Violet: So where would the line be that you’re going to stitch in between the pieces you already did?

Rob: Right there.

Violet: That’s right.

Rob: And I’m going to use white fabric

Violet: You are going to use white fabric.

Rob: Because I’m creating the A3 piece, ok.

Violet: So the very first thing we’re going to do is cut our seam allowance before we even start.

Rob: Ok. Can you show me that? I not quite following.

Violet: So I like to take a thumbnail here and hold it on these stitches to pull your paper out. And that’s why you stitch at least a quarter of an inch back. You want that to stay in place.

Rob: Ok and the paper ripped a little bit and that’s not a big deal.

Violet: No that’s not a big deal at all.

Rob: Ok

Violet: The paper, you’re going to tear it all out eventually and it does tear a bit and that’s completely fine.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Ok so we’re going to take our At-A Quarter ruler

Rob: Is the bottom important or no? Just the where we’re working. Oh ok, I see it. I see it.

Violet: See it. And so we’re on our line that’s going to be our next stitch line. And we’re going to fold our paper back. And that’s why we tore those stitches away just a little bit. Press it out and

Rob: Now you can slice your quarter off.

Violet: And this is where you get these beautiful seam allowance inside

Rob: Oh no

Violet: What are you doing?

Rob: I was goofing off. I was trying to get, trying to be safe with your rotary cutter over here because you’re focused on this and I took the blade off. But I put it back on, it’s easy.

Violet: So now we have our seam allowance all ready cut for our next pieces.

Rob: Right.

Violet: So A3 is going to be white so we just need to grab another piece of fabric.

Rob: That’s not big enough

Violet: So you want to get tricky

Rob: Ok, that’s not big enough, I’m scared.  

Violet: Ok we’ll go bigger. How’s that?

Rob: Ok from my original fears of paper piecing.

Violet: That one is definitely going to cover it.

Rob: I see that.

Violet: So we would place it right side down.

Rob: Ok, this is awesome.

Violet: Make sure that it’s in its home.

Rob: Right.

Violet: And then we’re going to flip back and line it up on the, on the edge. Again we’re using a straight lined piece so we don’t have to cut that seam allowance. But we can check it again. Do, do, do. It’s a little paper, so hold it in place. It obviously covers. It’s huge. So I’m going to mark where it goes again to make sure that we’re centered in the right space, right about there.

Rob: This is why I never use pins.

Violet: To be honest I usually use like an ink pen.

Rob: Right a little dab

Violet: Right because it’s in your seam allowance so it doesn’t really show.

Rob: A great tip.

Violet: So I’ll just use an ink pen and mark it.

Rob: Perfect.

Violet: You know that scares some people. They’re like, What are you doing with an ink pen in your fabric?

Rob: Right.

Violet: Er, it’s fine. So now because we’ve done that, again we can pull it up we can move it all over the place and we know that it’s going to go back into the correct spot.

Rob: And you’re not going to use the glue stick this time?

Violet: No

Rob: There’s no need.

Violet: Only on that very first piece.

Rob: On the first one.

Violet: So you’ve got your paper. You’re holding it in place.

Rob: Ok, hold it over. I’m in front of the machine. I think I’ve got it.

Violet:  You’ve got it.

Rob: I’ve got it. I’m going to make sure I’ve got all the layers not folded underneath themselves. I’m going to start a quarter inch back of that seam at least. Are we ready?

Violet: We’re ready.

Rob: I feel good about my work. And I’m going to straighten that seam as I start going through there.

Violet: And since you’ve done the fold you should be able to see where a quarter inch away from your line is all along the fold.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Ok

Rob: So we’ve got that there.

Violet: Yep.

Rob: Perfect. Perfect.

Violet: And flip it out.

Rob: And then you press and then trim. Is that the step?

Violet: Yep.

Rob: Because you want it pressed so that it’s nice and crisp before you trim it off.

Violet: That’s right.

Rob: Ok that makes sense to me.

Violet: Press.

Rob: And so with all of your patterns or most paper piecing patterns but of course yours because you’ve kind of taken this beginner’s step and the scrappy concept all put together with your, she’s got an engineering background. I love that. So from here we would just keep building this all the way out, right?

Violet: Yes.

Rob: And then we’re going to assemble the rest of the parts and pieces.

Violet: And then we’re going to assemble the rest of the parts and pieces.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: Like in this case since we have like a lot of extra off the side, we know this is our last piece, we can leave this hanging here or we can also trim it off so that.

Rob: Ok, kind of rough cut to your seam allowance

Violet: Yes, whittling, is that what you call it?

Rob: Whittling

Violet: We’re going to whittle that off. That way we don’t have to worry about it being in the way.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: And then we’ve just got two more pieces, four and five.


Violet: Ok so we’ve just sewn, Rob’s sewn the final seam and we have taken our templates and trimmed all of our edges. So what you want to notice here is I’ve left the quarter inch all the way around and used my At-A Quarter ruler

Rob: Yep

Violet: To mark all of these off. It looks like a missed that one a little bit. So it’s perfect. We’re going to go and just shave that up ever so tiny bit. And everything is even now.

Rob: Ok

Violet: So we’re going to lay these pieces in order so you can kind of see I have pre made these two pieces A and B or B and C to finish out our logo.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And we’re always going to be looking at the back. Now the reason that we’re looking at the back is because this is where all of our instructions are and tell us what to do.

Rob: Ok sure.

Violet: We’re going to go A to B and B to C.

Rob: And are you going to leave the paper in while you join the two seams.

Violet: I am

Rob: Ok

Violet: We’re going to leave our paper in. As soon as we join the seam together, that is the first time that we’re going to remove part of our paper.

Rob: Oh so you therefore also don’t build the entire quilt and then sit there for a week something

Violet: Well I do. Let me show you. I’m like, no you do. This is why we have children because children can tear the paper out.

Rob: Right. Smaller fingers work better for that kind of stuff.

Violet: That’s also how I justify watching television at night while also “working.”

Rob: Right.

Violet: While I’m tearing the paper out. So when I’m looking at A to B, the thing that I’m going to notice here is not whether or not these edges match. What really matters is that this piece right here lines up.

Rob: Right.

Violet: So this is the line I want to focus on when I’m matching them up. Now you put them right sides together, here’s our A and B. Right sides together.

Rob: So what is it that you’re looking at at this moment? Because I know when I’m matching reverse directional angles and we’re getting a quarter inch seam allowance my brain plays tricks on me so tell everybody what your eyes are seeing please.

Violet: So the first thing, you really don’t have to pay attention to the angles you just have to pay attention to the markings on your paper.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Ok. So don’t overthink it. Just follow your paper. Now if I am going to go through and I’m going to take a pin and put it through that point.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: Ok, and then I’m seriously just going to poke around until I find the exact spot.

Rob: Oh.

Violet: To line them up.

Rob: Sure.

Violet: Ok?

Rob: And will you leave that there while

Violet: I will leave that there for a minute. But for me like I was saying, these outside edges don’t matter as much.

Rob: Right.

Violet: What matters to me is where the white matches up in this corner right here. And that’s what we were looking at.

Rob: Got it.

Violet: When we look at it, it’s how this matches to that,  right there. So I’m going to poke through there and find my spots

Rob: Ok

Violet: On my paper.

Rob: And you really do that when you’re doing your paper piecing? Or have you gotten it to your eyeball?

Violet: I do that. No I really go that.

Rob: That’s a good trick to know.

Violet: Because even though you’re on the paper and it should all hold in place, it still shifts a little. Like fabric can still move. And all I care about is that point.

Rob: Ya, I still badly want to staple right at this second.

Violet: That would be helpful. I don’t think pulling staples would be much fun.

Rob: No

Violet: So I just leave, I honestly leave that upright just like that in place. And I just let everything else fall into place. And I don’t worry as much about whether or not this point and this point are perfect.

Rob: Ok

Violet: I only want that point to be perfect.

Rob: Ok and I can start sewing with that pin in there.

Violet:  Yeah. I mean you just leave it upright. It just kind of marks your spot.

Rob: Got it. Got it.

Violet: You’re just going to sew through your whole pattern.

Rob: So we’re still starting off with the whole quarter of an inch and this is my

Violet: Something the right side edge to match. You know as long as all that matches up.

Rob: It looks like it’s good.

Violet: Yeah.

Rob: And so as I start to stitch, because I don’t want to scratch up my machine, I’ll just pull that pin out.

Violet: Just pull it out.  Yep.

Rob: Cool. Ok I like that. Of course we haven’t opened it up to see what happens yet. But I have absolute faith and confidence in you, Violet. Hey with a name like Violet Craft right, you’ve got to get this kind of stuff dialed in. This is great. That’s your real name, by the way.

Violet: It is.

Rob: I love that.

Violet: I married into it.

Rob: That’s awesome.

Violet: I didn’t marry him for his name.

Rob: Right.

Violet: He’ll never know.

Rob: That’s right.

Violet: So now we fold it over.

Rob: Whoa! It’s perfect.

Violet: And it’s perfect.

Rob: Ahhh! I love it. Nice! Good job.

Violet: So this is actually the first place that I will tear some paper.

Rob: Ok. Can you show us a little bit of that too?

Violet: In this pattern, yeah, it doesn’t matter as much in this pattern because you’re not adding things to the right and left of where you’ve just sewn.

Rob: Right.

Violet: But if you have a more complicated one and you are going to be adding things to this side and this side, then you can start to get some paper tacked into your seam allowances. So if you were to add a piece here where you’d have a little piece tucked in there. So the only thing I remove are the seam allowances right after I sew them.  

Rob: So you’re leaving the printing of the actual template in place in case you would need it for alignment or whatever.

Violet: And because it’s still, ya you’re going to need it to align the other pieces, other templates. And also it continues to hold that paper or that fabric in place so that it doesn’t shift around.

Rob: Ya because this kind of sewing work was originally done so that we could stabilize our fabrics through all these ridiculous angles with all kinds of different fabrics.

Violet: Right.

Rob: The first one I goofed around with actually had some batiks which are a really dense kinds of fabrics and we also had some cotton/ rayon blends were really loose woven fabrics, really movable fabrics. And so paper piecing was my only option. And I actually used a little bit of muslin in mine for a traditional foundation. And then that made it a little easier to see my seams and stuff. But I like all the tricks that you’ve shown us too as well.

Violet: I like the paper. And I get a lot of questions about whether or not you should use a very specific foundation paper piecing paper.

Rob: Right.

Violet: A lot of people like the finer weight papers and like the newspaper style. I actually prefer a basic copy paper because I like the super stiffness.

Rob: Ok

Violet: Especially when you’re making a 60 by 60 foundation paper pieced quilt like the lion. It holds everything in place all the way out to the edges.

Rob: Wonderful.

Violet: And it really holds it flat so that nothing moves.

Rob: That is awesome.

Violet: So I like the firmness. But you know everyone has their own feel. So if you try it and it’s what works for you, use it.

Rob: Right, right. Ya the muslin was neat because I didn’t have to remove it but I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to have to transfer a ton of different templates like for the, the lion. It would have taken me ten times as long to create that.

Violet: I know people that use wash away stabilizer.

Rob: Right.

Violet: And they will print their templates on washaway stabilizer.

Rob: Oh just wash it.

Violet: And they wash it away. Or leave in stabilizer, right?  And then you don’t have to tear it away. It just makes it a really firm, heavy quilt.

Rob: Right.

Violet: So now we’ve got B and C.

Rob: Fantastic.

Violet: So we’re going to follow the same concept.

Rob: Alright.

Violet: What matters to us here is we’re going to get these white, your needle lined up.

Rob: Uh huh

Violet: So when I flip it over I’m going to stick a pin into one of those corners.

Rob: And we left the thread out of the needle for you all at home so you could embroider it in, you could machine quilt it in, you could couch it in. These are all terms we will cover eventually on Man Sewing for you here. So ya we thought it would be fun to have a needle but you can thread it yourself in any way you want once you get your pattern created.

Violet: I think machine quilting it in would be really cool.

Rob: I think so too.

Violet: Ok so we’ve got we’re one spot marked where our pin goes straight through.

Rob: Alright.

Violet: A lot of times when people mark a spot like that they will then turn their pin you know, and have it come up the other side to hold it in place. That actually shifts that bottom layer of fabric.

Rob: So straight up and down is really, you’ve been here before. You’ve got this.

Violet: I’ve been here before. Straight up and down.

Rob: Nice.

Violet: And then you’re ready to go.

Rob: Ok, thank you. Looking good. I like the way that’s all set. Do I like the way that’s all set? It looks like it shifted.

Violet: Make sure your right sides are all lined up.

Rob: Ok

Violet: You got it.

Rob: I’m dialed in. Here we go. The grand finale seam. Pulling the pin. This could be my most successful paper piecing experience ever, Violet. Not my first, but my most successful by far. How did we do there?

Violet: Ta dah!

Rob: Oh, nice, nice, nice! I love it. Fantastic

Violet: It looks pretty good.

Rob: Pretty darn good.

Violet: So this is where I’ll tear away another piece.

Rob: Ok. Awesome. So it’s done.

Violet: It’s done. But before we completely finish, let’s talk about tearing the rest of that paper out.

Rob: Ya, ya give us a couple of quick tips and then we’ll send people back to do theirs.


Violet: Now at this point, now that it is completely done you’re going to want to pull all these papers out.

Rob: Ok

Violet: And one of the things that’s really good, once you’ve pulled one edge piece off well that completely releases the other side from your stitches.

Rob: I can tell you had a nice little pinch though as you get started.

Violet: Yep I do.

Rob: Ok

Violet: I’ll take and I’ll just put a fingernail on it or something and then you can really just tear them off. And then once that one is gone if you just give it a very slight little tug.

Rob: Oh sure.

Violet: It will just pull right out of the other side.

Rob: Oh look at that.

Violet: You can tear it away.

Rob: Oh that is awesome. So you just start working from where you were at coming all the way across.

Violet: Come all the way across.

Rob: Anything else we need to know about paper piecing.

Violet: No we did it.

Rob: That is fantastic. Violet Craft queen of the paper piecing. You’ve got to check

Violet: I like that.

Rob: She’s got a crown. I’ve got my lightbulb, she gets a crown for today. You’ve got to check out her fabric Abstractions Patterns. They are incredible. Violet, thank you so much for joining me here on Man Sewing. You’re wonderful.

Violet: Thanks for letting me do your logo.

Rob: Give me a hug. Try not to spike the mics. We’ll see you all next time at Man Sewing.

posted: Intermediate Quilting Tutorials, Other Projects & Ideas, Tips and Tricks | tagged: , , , , , , ,
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