5 favourite paper piecing tips

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Four months into the Ice Cream Soda quilt along (progress pictured above) and I’ve picked up quite a few English Paper Piecing tips.  Here are five of my favourites –
1. Clover Black Gold Needles
Until a few months ago, I thought hand sewing needles were much the same.  Oh no!  These needles glide through the fabric.  But they do have a tiny eye, so my next tip is …
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2. Clover needle threader
I’ve been using this one for months and it is so fine and the design helps to keep it in one piece.
3. Aurifil thread
Beautiful colours, fine and strong.  I use 40 or 50 weight for piecing, and the heavier weights are wonderful for applique and embroidery.  The higher the number, the finer the thread.  I got a little bit obsessed with the Aurifil and bought rather a lot.  Have stopped now!
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4. Templates
My dear friend Kathryn gave me a set of perspex templates for the Ice Cream Soda quilt and I am a complete convert.  They make it easy to cut several pieces at once, and fussy cutting is much easier.
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5. Sewline glue
Some quilters baste, some prefer to glue their fabric to the paper pieces.  I’m a huge fan of glue – it means I can get to the fun bit (sewing the pieces together) more quickly. Refills can be expensive and the cost of postage means the price varies widely on the interwebs.  If I can’t buy them locally, I check the price when I’m buying fabric online, and include them in my order if it’s a good deal.
If you’d like to keep up with my quilty progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.
Dx

The Gigi dress

One of my 2017 Make Nine patterns is the Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs.  I made this for little niece Greta and was very happy that she chose to wear it for a family lunch at our house.

 

The back of the dress – which is what attracted me to the pattern – is gorgeous.  Pleats give fullness, and the bow is so pretty.

I was a bit worried about the front.  The high neckline and short sleeves didn’t look very comfortable, but they are needed because of the low back.  Greta seems to like it though, and the only problem is that the dress becomes quite short when she lifts her arms.  Leggings or little shorts solve that problem, and I’ve made both for her from this bright pink jersey.

She has worn this with a little denim jacket over the top, and it looked adorable – she’s a stylish girl.

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A pattern for a matching doll’s dress is included but that looked far too fiddly to make and play with.  Maybe when Greta is older!

The 100 day project – halfway there!

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So it’s day 51 of The 100 Day Project.  I’ve been through the “I love this and never want to stop” phase, the “why on earth did I sign up for this, I hate it” phase, and am currently in  “sometimes this is a pain but I am enjoying it”!

My project this year is #100daysofslowstitches.  I’ve learned from past years that it is best to go for something that doesn’t take too long and has a broad definition.  That way, I don’t get stressed or bored with the project.  Actually, I still did, but I would have given up if I’d chosen something more time intensive or restrictive.

I had pictured myself relaxing in the garden/armchair adding a few stitches to a sampler every day, and learning new stitches along the way.  I began a sampler with lines of different stitches, and I enjoyed the stitching but hated having to count threads and get the lines straight.  This is as far as I got before giving up –

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I really enjoyed stitching this Sashiko sampler – the lines are printed on the fabric.

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Mr D gave me Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching Transfer book for my birthday and I’ve almost completed this one

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I’ve also included English Paper Piecing, with the Ice Cream Soda quilt blossoms

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and some Liberty and chambray hexagons (possibly for a quilt border)

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And because I like to have lots of different projects on the go (!), I’ve just started to make some of The Splendid Sampler blocks.

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You can follow my progress on Instagram at dottie_doodle.  Hope to see you over there!

Dx

Links:

The 100 Day Project

Sashiko sampler available from Sew Hot

Doodle Stitching Transfer Book

Ice Cream Soda quilt

The Splendid Sampler

 

Finished! Simple Sampler Corfu Quilt

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I started this quilt at the beginning of October last year, as part of The Sewing Directory Simple Sampler Quilt Along.

I hadn’t made this type of quilt before, and most of the patchwork techniques were new to me.  Kerry explains them so clearly, I really enjoyed the process.

The fabric I chose was inspired by a Corfu holiday,  and I’m so pleased with the way the blues, greens, pinks and neutrals have come together.  I’ve included some subtle metallics to represent the light on the sea and stone.

I planned to make a lap quilt and used the bonus partial seam sashing tutorial to join the blocks together.  When I realised how much bigger this made the quilt I decided to go further and add 6 extra blocks to make it into a small double bed size.

I wrote about some of these blocks in a January post, and the others are –2017-03-09

  1. Folk Flower by Anna Maria Horner.  Creativebug
  2. Butterfly – Sew Magazine, October 2016 (You can get back issues of Sew Magazine on Readly, with a free months subscription using this link)
  3. Whippersnapper by Anna Maria Horner. Creativebug.  I’m very pleased with the placement of the little house on this one.

The back is a cream and black floral, with a stripe of cream Moda Zen Chic scraps.

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And I mustn’t forget the support of my little fluffy helper.  Hetty thinks anything on the floor belongs to her!

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Thank you very much Fiona and Kerry for organising the QAL.  I learned so much, and it’s inspired me to carry on quilting!

 

Ice Cream Soda BOM – fabric pull

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I love English Paper Piecing, but I’ve only used hexagon templates.  So when I heard about Tales of Cloth’s Ice Cream Soda block of the month club I thought this was a chance to try putting some more shapes together.

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Ice Cream Soda photo from talesofcloth.com

Kerry of Very Kerry Berry spoke at the South West Modern Quilt Guild last week about choosing fabrics for a quilt, so I’m using her excellent advice to help with my fabric selection.

I started with my ‘hero’ fabric, which is Kaffe Fasset’s Millefiore in orange (top photo).  It has lots of colours in it which can inspire other fabrics choices.  The next step could be to buy other fabrics in the same collection, but I like my quilts to have a scrappy look.  So I went to my stash of scraps and smaller pieces.

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These are the golds and oranges, with some mustards coming in too.

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Kerry suggested using some of these added fabrics as inspiration to lead to other colours. The flower print (bottom left) has the gold, but also grey and black, so I added some of those.

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Then I put a black and white filter on this photo of my whole selection to check the contrast.

I’d like some more dark fabric.  There is a burgundy in the Kaffe Fasset that I don’t have.    Also some more pale blue and paler neutrals.

One of the things I really like about the Ice Cream Soda quilt is that you can make a few flowers and see how they work together.  I plan to use the fabrics I already have for the first couple of months.  Although I do have a shopping trip planned with my very talented friend Nicola, and it would be rude not to buy any fabric then, wouldn’t it?!

Gifts for men – a denim apron

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Finding presents for men can be really difficult, so I thought I’d share this one with you.  Mr D said yesterday that it was his favourite of all the things I’ve made him – and it was probably the easiest to make!

I traced round an old apron to get the shape.  The denim I used was wide, so I cut it out across the width of the fabric and used less than a metre.

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The fun was in adding the details – orange top stitching and rivets.  The neck strap and ties are cotton webbing, left over from his Cooper bag.

I used navy bias binding to turn under the curved edge.  All the other edges are double folded and stitched.

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This was an easy and fun make, and it’s had lots of use already.  Mr D is a keen cook – lucky me!

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Have you any suggestions for manly gifts?  I’d love to hear them – especially as it’s Mr D’s birthday next month!

Supplies:

Cotton webbing – Habercrafts

Rivets – Dale Leathercrafts

There is a free pattern for a similar apron here

My 5 favourite sewing machine feet

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Do you like reading manuals? I certainly don’t, and this is how my new sewing machine feet stayed for about a year – tucked neatly away in their compartments.

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Then I went to an applique workshop and we were asked to bring a darning foot. And it turned out, I had one!

Since then I’ve managed to use a few more, and these are my favourites.

1. Quarter inch foot

The bar runs against the edge of the fabric so the seam is a reliable quarter inch and your patchwork pieces fit together correctly. Much easier than lining up the edge of the fabric with a mark.

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2. Edge foot

Beautiful stitching along the edge of a piece of fabric, especially good for top stitching. If I want two perfect lines of stitching I use the edge foot, then the quarter inch foot – heaven!

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3. Walking foot

The teeth on this foot pull the top of the fabric through in the same way as the feed dog teeth on the machine pull the bottom. If you are sewing several layers of fabric this helps stop them go out of line.  Walking feet look quite big and clumsy, but don’t let this put you off.

4. Open foot

Using this one means you can more easily see where you are stitching. I use it for sewing on the lines when I am foundation piecing patchwork using a paper template

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5. Adjustable zip foot

If I could only choose one foot, it would be this one.  The foot part slides along a bar, which means you can get as close to the edge of the zip as you want to.  Great for invisible and regular zips, and can also be used as a conventional foot if you slide the needle to the middle.

Do you have a favourite sewing machine foot?  Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you.