Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How I Sew...

Checking for seam allowance. Make sure there is an adequate amount to sew, I usually try to make it about a quarter inch. I hold mine up to the window so I can see through the paper.

Just another view of the alignment process. Keep in mind that paper piecing patterns are printed in reverse. With this particular pattern, it doesn't really matter, but if you were to be doing something directional like a letter or number, it would make a difference.

Teeny, tiny stitches. If I go smaller than this, which is about 2.5 on my machine, the feed dogs freeze. This is an okay stitch length for me as the paper tears wonderfully!

Goofing with the color, but ready to sew pieces 1 and 2 together. Edited to say: Make sure you sew on the line, otherwise your block will change sizes. Should have said that in the beginning. Duh!

See my wrinkly paper? A bit too much water. Thankfully it ironed out and didn't mess me up. Done that, too. Grrr! Always press towards the higher number. (You are right, you can't actually press the other way.)

Trim your seems as you go, that way you won't be trying to cut under seems at weird angles. It doesn't work so well.

Another way to check your fabric to make sure it will cover your piece. Piece three hasn't been sewn yet. I folded on the seem line to see where the fabric I am about to sew will fall. (Does that make sense?)

I iron flat to squash the threads, then press open. I also use homemade spray starch when pressing the seems. My recipe: Spray bottle of water with about a tablespoon of cornstarch. Shake before spraying!

When I put all of my pie pieces together, I leave my papers on, and here is why: I sometimes make my pieces a wee bit wonky and have to cross my fingers that there will be enough fabric beyond the sewing line to actually hold them together. If I trim my pieces to size and tear off the paper, I can't tell where to sew. It works for me, though it may not actually be the "right" way to do things.

A little hint for the last piece. If you center the "tail", which is green in this photo, with the point of piece one, life will be great.

Larger view of piece placement. You can see the sewing ling and the cut line of the fabric through the paper. I live in sunny AZ, so I just use the window behind my machine as a light sourse, but if I am piecing at night, I just put a lamp on the floor and use that. (Try not to look at the bulb without paper there, ouch!)


  1. Great work on the tutorial, Kristan! This was really helpful.

  2. Thanks for taking the time for the tutorial, very helpful!