Saturday, October 1, 2011

Paper Piecing Tutorial - Circle of Geese Pattern

The Circle of Geese Pattern consists of 4 identical blocks.  Each block is assembled separately and then joined in a 2 X 2 layout.  I'm going to use this pattern for the paper piecing tutoring using vellum.  During the course of the tutorial, you'll see how important it is to be able to see the pattern from both sides of the paper.  Here goes: 

Step 1:  Copy the pattern onto vellum paper.

 Step 2:  Pin a piece of fabric that generously covers Piece 1 and flip to the back of the paper.  Cut approximately 1/4" away on the yellow dashed line from the sew line that connects Piece 1 to Piece 2.

Step 3:  Flip to the front of the pattern.  The fabric for Piece 1 should now have a seam allowance that overlaps onto Piece 2.

Step 4:  Place the fabric for Piece 2 with the right side facing Piece 1.  Pin in place.

Step 5:  Flip to the back of the pattern.  Make sure that the fabrics for Pieces 1 and 2 are flat.  Sew on the line that connects Piece 1 to Piece 2.

Step 6:  Pull the paper back so that you can see the seams of Pieces 1 and 2.  Cut the seam allowance to about 1/4".  You don't have to be exact, but if you are using a light fabric for the background, you must make sure your seam allowances are neat.  They will show through the fabric.

Step 7.  Lift the fabric for Piece 2 and press flat with the tip of an iron.  Many people prefer to finger-press, but I find that if I use the iron, the seams are flatter, which help keep the block flatter.

Step 8:  Flip to the back of the paper.  Some of the fabric from Piece 1 and Piece 2 will overlap Piece 3.  You need to trim it down to about 1/4" so that you know where to place the fabric for Piece 3.

Step 9.  Flip to the front of the pattern.  Place the fabric for Piece 3 right side down, but don't pin in place yet.

Step 10:  Flip the fabric for Piece 3 up to make sure that it covers Piece 3 adequately.  If the piece meets the outside border of the block, you must ensure that your fabric overlaps the outside border by at least 1/4".  If it does, pin in place, flip to the back and sew on the line for Piece 3. 

Step 11:  Repeat steps 5-10 for all remaining pattern pieces.

Step 12:  Here is the finished block before trimming.  You can see that it's not neat or squared.

Step 13:  Place the ruler 1/4" from the outside border of the block and trim with the rotary cutter.

Step 14:  Your outside edge should now look like this:


Step 15:  Once all the sides are trimmed, continue making the other 3 blocks.  To join two blocks together, pin in each corner first, making sure to match the corners, and then in the middle.  Sew on the line.  Repeat this step once more.


Step 16.  Before you join the top two blocks and bottom two blocks together, remove the paper seam allowances.  It will make joining the top and bottom blocks easier.  However, this is just my preference.  You might find that it is easier to keep the paper seam allowances on the blocks until all the assembly is done.  Test it out and see what works best for you. 

Once the block is complete, use a pin to score the back of the paper pattern to help remove it from the block.

Step 17.  Removing the paper pattern is tedious, and if it is not done carefully, the thread of the sewn lines can be broken.  Score the paper as many times as needed to help aide in the removal of the paper pattern.  Do one square at a time, and check carefully for any remaining pieces of paper.  You don't want to leave any behind.  One block done ... three more to go!

Step 18:  TA DA!  Finished block:

The beautiful thing about paper piecing is that you can vary the size of the block to whatever size you want.   Below is a comparison of the 4" and 6" blocks.  The pattern stays the same, as you can see.

Enjoy!  Even though it seems really involved, give the process a chance.  You'll love the results and the your speed will pick up as you become more comfortable with it.

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