Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paper Piecing a scrappy pinwheel

Sweet Amy was kind enough to ask for a tutorial on a block that I made. I jumped at the chance, because I am the first to google "tutorials", and if this can help someone, it would make my day. This is a block that I made for my bee members. I made them in my colours for a test block.

Alternate block for 3 x 6

So, I will preface this by saying that this pattern is not mine, nor do I claim that my method of paper piecing is the best. This is my way of doing it, so I hope you will be successful using this way.

I took tons of pictures for this post - so hopefully at the end it all makes sense. If not, just let me know, and I will try my best to help you out!

Ok - first of all, I got the pattern here. I made the 12" one. The pattern requires that you make 4 blocks, so you will need to print off 4 copies of the pattern.

I decided to make mine with 8 fabrics, with each block the exact same. By all means you could do this block with all scraps, or any combination of fabrics that you want!

I started by cutting 3 x 5 inch pieces of the fabric that I wanted to use. 4 of each one. If you are using scraps, you just want to make sure that each piece of fabric is about this big. You need 32 pieces of fabric this size, and then will need an outside colour. I used white.


Next, I put the fabrics into the order that I wanted them to appear in the block.

Then, I took the first two fabrics and put them right sides together.


You then put these fabrics on the back side of the paper. This would be the blank side of the paper, not the one with the printed pattern on it. You will want the fabric to line up within the square that says #1.


The way I check to see if it is lined up right, is to hold it up to a window (or a light if it's dark).


Then, holding the fabric tight, and keeping it straight, flip the paper back over and head to the sewing machine. Make sure your stitch length is set to a smaller number than normal. This will make it easier to rip off the paper later. I set mine to 1.5.

You will stitch along the line between square 1 and square 2. Try to make sure that you stay on the line. You will be sewing through the paper here! It sounds a little louder than normal, but don't worry, it's all good.




You want to make sure you sew a little bit on each side of the line for the seam allowance. We don't want any holes!!


Next you iron the fabrics nice and flat.


Now, choose your next fabric, and then place this fabric right side down. I usually guess where I think it will work, and then double check by holding it up to the window.



It was kind of hard to capture in the picture, but you want the fabric to be over the line between square 2 and 3 by about 1/4 inch.

Once you have it all lined up, go ahead and hold the fabric tight, and flip it over so you can sew along the line between square 2 and 3.

Then, we are going to need to do a little trimming. I try and make about a 1/4 inch seam, but it doesn't need to be accurate!


Next, you are going to iron it nice and flat!


Ok, again, choose your next fabric, and lay it right side down guessing where it would overlap the line between 3 and 4 by about 1/4 inch.


Sew on the line between 3 and 4, and then flip and trim and iron again.




You are going to keep going with this process until all 8 squares are done.

You will notice the fabric changes here ... I am making bee blocks, so I went ahead and used a different group here.

Now we are going to do the boarder fabric. I choose white, and I cut the fabric about 5 inches by 10 inches. If you do this, there will be a lot of waste. I just don't like unpicking seams because there isn't enough coverage.

So, start by laying the white fabric over the exisiting fabric, trying to get it to be at least 1/4 over the sewing line between the numbers 1-8 and 9.


Check to make sure it's good!


Sew, trim and iron. Then, repeat for the other side.



Here is picture after both sides are done.


Then, go ahead and trim up your block. You will want to make sure you are cutting leaving the seam allowance.


Your square will look like this now:


You need to make 4. Again, I made all mine the same. Then, lay them out in the design that suits you.


Don't take off the paper yet!!

You need to sew the 4 together into your block!!


If you like, you can take off the paper outside the seam allowance to lessen the bulk before you sew the two sides together. I like to do this, and then press my seams open. It's up to you, but I love looking at the fun points!


Ok .. almost done!!


After sewing all four of the blocks together - take off all the paper. I love this part, but you want to be careful not to pull the seams. So long as you shortened your stitch at the beginning it should be just fine.


After the paper is off, press it again, and ta da!! You are done!


I hope you don't have any trouble with anything here - but if you do (or if you find any mistakes!!), please let me know!