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!

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