Monday, November 26, 2018

Fixing 2 Common Foundation Paper Piecing Mistakes WITHOUT reaching for a seam ripper.

Yesterday I had a terrible day in the sewing room. It was one of those days where no matter what I tried to sew, it went wrong. After the second needle breakage in less than five minutes (admittedly I was sewing something very thick, even for the leather needle I was using) and then several mistakes while doing some foundation paper piecing (of a new secret design I'm working on *wink), I stormed out of the room in frustration. Ultimately there are some days when it is easier to say that today is just not your day - go and get a cuppa and do something else. So I went and mowed the lawns.

But it got me thinking. I realised that there are a couple of tricks I have used to fix foundation paper piece projects without reaching for the seam ripper that might be useful to help someone else on an off day, - or at least make it less stressful. Rather than spending ages pulling out those tiny stitches and risking ruining your fabric, as long as you spot your mistake right away and not after sewing a new line - you should be ok to use one of these tips. So today I set out to purposely make mistakes on my rocket pattern to show you how I fix them... You're welcome!!

Problem #1. Not enough fabric to cover your section.

There's nothing worse than realising after you have sewn your section that the piece of fabric you chose from your scrap pile, or even worse cut to size, doesn't quite cover what you need it to. The obvious answer to this is to always use a piece bigger than you need and you will never have this issue. But if you are like me and like to use your scraps, and don't want to waste too much fabric, then this mistake is bound to happen at some point. So what do you do when it does?

How to fix it: Don't panic. Take a look at the block and estimate how much more fabric you would need to cover that little bit extra. Do you have enough of the same fabric in your scrap pile to cover that small piece? If the answer is no, then you might be stuck with having to rip the seam and starting again, or using the fix from Problem 2. However, if you have another scrap about the right size then grab a pencil and a ruler and draw a new line1/4" from the edge of where your fabric ends, place another scrap here and sew the new line you have drawn.

It may mean you have deviated from the pattern slightly, but that shouldn't be a big deal, as the mistake will disappear once your block has been quilted into your larger project.

Also, To help you avoid this mistake to start with - Lee from has a great tip here.

Problem #2. Put the wrong piece/colour of fabric in a section.

I like to try to avoid doing this by colouring my template in first. That's right - my sewing room comes complete with a pack of children's coloured pencils. Despite this, I have still made this mistake in the past when I have gotten cocky and decided that I was so good I didn't need to colour the template, or when I wasn't concentrating.

Some people won't like this idea, because it does create a little extra bulk in the seam. But if you really want to avoid using your seam ripper then it's another technique you can use if you wish.
First, though I should note that this is not a good idea if you are replacing the fabric with a lighter colour as the darker fabric underneath will show through.

How to fix it: Chances are that you have trimmed your seam and ironed it open before realising that you made this mistake. If not - go ahead - trim and iron open the seam.

 Then place your new fabric directly over the old seam and sew the same line again just to the side, so you are using your previous stitches as a guide, but covering them at the same time.

This will mean you have two pieces of fabric covering the same section. You may disagree, however apart from the slightly bulkier seam, I personally don't believe this is too much of an issue. I see it as knowing that section is going to be quite stable now - even after my paper comes off!

Hopefully with these little hacks up your sleeve, it will make your piecing more enjoyable!

Happy Piecing!

Sunday, November 18, 2018


Tell your friends! Every one of your friends who enters gets you ten extra entries in the draw!

Entries Close 4 December 2018!
Here's an oldie but a goodie...
I recently revised and updated the Hot Air Balloon Pattern. It's now a bit simpler with only three sections to put together.
If you wanted you could use this pattern with a jelly roll and make an entire quilt of Hot Air Balloons and it would look awesome!

If you are a newbie to using the paper piece quilting method this would be a good one to start with. This block together with the Aeroplane will be going together as part of my 'Up in the Air' series Quilt.

Here's another example of the Hot Air Balloon - This one was made by Julia from Julia McTeer Quilting Julia makes some fantastically beautiful quilts and sells them on Etsy. They are definitely worth checking out!

Next week I'm working on the Rocket Pattern in amongst other projects, including a quilt pattern using a jelly roll which although it's not a paper piece pattern, I know you will love!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

New 18 Inch Parrot Mini Quilt!

I recently designed this 18-inch Mini Quilt Pattern for a family member who loves Eclectus Parrots. It is based on George - a larger than life pet who talked (when it suited him) and enjoyed spending time riding around on people's shoulders.

The 18 Inch Pattern was a lot of fun to design and even more fun to sew. In addition to raiding my stash for a few scraps for his flashy colourful wings, I also purchased some new fabrics, including Bear Essentials Berries from Spotlight for the cream background (I also already had some of this in Blue in my stash, along with the Marble Texture, which I used in the wings) and Some beautiful quality greens, Including Sketch Basic by Timeless Treasures for the body from my local Bernina Store, and some other blenders from Spotlight. 

Most of the quilting was stitched in the ditch. I did have fanciful ideas of doing some free motion lines on the log to make it look more like a tree branch, but chickened out in the end, fearing that my sub-par free-motion skills might just ruin the whole project.

I also made some fabric loops at the back for a piece of dowel to slide through allowing the quilt to hang nice and straight on the wall when it reaches it's intended recipient. Hopefully, they will like it as much as I enjoyed making it! 

This Pattern is available in the Craftsy and Etsy Stores now if you would like to make your own.

Happy Piecing!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

New Aeroplane 12" Quilt Block Pattern for the Up in the Air Series!

One of the things I love about Paper Piece Patterns is that you can make some really unique modern quilts that kids will love and treasure. I recently designed this new Aeroplane Pattern and it came out really quite cool. I'm planning to mix this pattern with my other 'Up in the Air' patterns - including the Hot Air Balloon, Rocket and Helicopter Pattern to make a quilt for a single bed.

This pattern is great with so many colors and fabrics too - here's what Julia, one of my very talented Pattern Testers, created using this pattern. I love the spotted fabric she used and the contrasting white background:

Enjoy your Piecing!