Saturday, December 31, 2016

English Paper Piecing by Machine

My mother is an amazingly talented quilter.  She finished a Passacaglia paper pieced quilt and it was juried into a special exhibit in Houston last fall.  I was standing there so proud to take her picture by her quilt when I fell in love with one myself.  Uh, oh.

So I decided to attempt my Ballet quilt (from Millefiori Quilts 2 by Willyne Hammerstein) by machine. way was I going to hand stitch them all together.

If you follow my blog you know that one of the things I love about it is attempting new things.

So, I started.  Here are a few photos of my first attempt.  The front looks great.  Pulling the paper that had been stitched through out?  Not so much.  I did decide that a single blanket stitch was the stitch that I wanted to use.

So now to attempt another one.

Here are the steps I used to make my pieces.  
1.  Decide which sides are going to be blanket stitched on.  Glue those to the back of the paper with glue stick.
2.  To get a line marking where the edge is on the other sides, I use a paintbrush to "paint" the seam allowances with starch, then fold them over and iron them dry with an iron.  Yes, this is a very tedious process, but I know exactly where that line is.

Now....putting them together.  Here you can see that back of a ten pointed star.  The only edges I've blued down are the ones that are now on the top that are going to be stitched.  The others have been starched for the line and then opened.  Now I am going to remove those papers before I stitch.  Since I did the starching I have the line where the edge of the piece will be.

Here is the second star I stitched.  The inner edges were stitched while the outer edges were left open and the next layer glued on top.  For example, those orange pieces are turned under towards the yellow, but left open under the purple and the purple is stitched onto the orange.  

Here is the back of the second attempt.  You can see that the yellow is open to sew the orange onto and the orange is open to sew the purple onto.  Sometimes I really had to think about what edges should be turned under.

Here is another picture where I've sewn the center star and laid the lime green pieces on top,  I then glued them down, pulled out the papers behind the lime green and then did a blanket stitch all the way around the edge.

Here is another picture of a star I've sewn together.  I used a 50 weight cotton Aurifil thread and you can barely see it.  My blanket stitch is about 1.5 by 1.5 mm.

I hope that makes sense!  Let me know if you have questions.

And I hope you get to quilt today!


  1. Did u always use the color of thread as block or just one color throughout

    1. I used matching threads except in my test sample where I wanted to see what was happening