Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Galaxy Quilt Secrets Revealed: Paper-Piecing

If you are new here, and come in peace, I'm so glad to have you. You may want to check out my previous posts about the Galaxy Quilt here and on the Aurifil blog. Today I'm going to share some pointers pertaining to paper-piecing.

Resizing Paper-Pieced Units

When resizing paper-pieced units, set the scale to whatever percentage you desire. Since I wanted a 6" block instead of a 12" one, I set the scale to 50%. This will make the seam allowance 1/8", which is not what I want. Therefore, regardless of resizing ratio, cut a seam allowance that is 1/4" when you cut out each unit. Use the cut edge as a guide for seam allowance while ignoring the printed seam allowance line.

Matching Seams and Fussy Cutting Paper-Pieced Units

Spoiler Alert: The key to matching points on my 6" star blocks is a glue pen. I used the Bohin brand one (though any thin-tipped glue pen should work. It twists upward as shown in the video.

I ran the edge of the glue pen within the seam allowance. Then I finger pressed the seam allowances together with the units open enough to match the star points.

I heat set the seams to dry the glue, sewed as usual, and pressed open.

Since I didn't want a bunch of half planets floating in space, I decided to be intentional about how I positioned the fabric within the larger paper-pieced sections.

To accomplish this, I laid the fabric face down and positioned the paper units so planets would be intact. Holding the fabric up to a glass window or light can help if a fabric is darker. A lightbox would be fantastic for this. When the desired positioning is achieved, I used a glue stick to adhere the paper to the wrong side of the fabric.

An alternative is tracing the section on template material or a dollar store cutting mat, adding seam allowance, and using this as a template. Make sure to flip the template over, as the process of paper-piecing reverses everything.

Now, I'll throw a few general suggestions into the mix. I love using an Add-A-Quarter Plus ruler. It has a side for folding back the paper, and another with a groove that hugs the fold of the paper so you can cut a 1/4" without actually lining up the ruler and measuring. Confession: Coordinating things makes my heart happy, so I'm all 💕👀 over the pink Add-A-Quarter Plus paired with my pink OLFA Splash.

I prefer to do Step 1 with all of my units, chaining them through the machine, before doing Step 2 with all of my units, and so on. This means less running around the sewing room, less change of a piece flittering to the ground to be lost forever, and a greater chance all the units will be ready to be pieced together at the same time.

When I paper-piece really smallish things, I use a 1/4" seam, but then trim it down to 1/8" to reduce bulk. Sewing with the 1/8" seam is living dangerously since you can end up having the seam allowance disappear entirely if anything shuffles.

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1 comment:

  1. This was very cool to read--and such great tips about foundation paper piecing. It also helps that the stars and planets and beautiful to look at. Thanks!