Saturday, 14 July 2012

English Paper Piecing for beginners

Its cube pincushion time again. This time followed pattern  from

As I am English, thought it about time to do some English paper piecing.
Took a few pictures along the way
It was my first time too! So it is written by an idiot for  a beginner. English paper  piecing for dummies 

What's it all about? ( Alfie)
This involves cutting paper templates ( I used my scrap printer paper ), then basting ( rough long hand stitches) on your fabric around the template. Once all  templates are covered, you join the edges using whipstitch, leave one side unsewn, remove paper by tearing it out ( yes! ), turn the project inside out and stuff with toy filling. Then sew last edges closed with whipstitch again. Adding buttons makes it really plump and satisfying. I recommend using a doll needle ( very long ) for this , and a long length of embroidery thread. You can mess around with tension on the buttons until you have the shape that you like.

Here we go -  
Skills you need:
To be able to thread needle and sew whipstitch 
Sewing stuff you need:
Scissors, household sewing needle, doll's needle ( optional ); cotton thread, scrap printer paper, cotton fabric scraps to make six 2 1/2 inch squares
Embroidery thread and 6 small buttons with traditional button holes.

Now for the work........
Cut out six  2" paper template squares

Now cut out 6  cotton fabric squares 2 1/2"...any colour/patterns you like, go for it! I personally love to use vibrant and clashing colours/patterns

Now put a paper piece on top of WRONG side of fabric, and press with your fingers to fold the edges down around the paper template

Tack round the fabric edges using cotton thread and long stitches 
( basting)

don't knot the end of the thread but leave a tail of  and inch or so, then it less likely pull out with your next stitch

continue all the way round

once you have completed all six, lay them out like this

Now you start to sew 2 squares together wherever they touched another square on the layout. You hold 2 pieces RIGHT side fabric together and whipstitch to join the 2 upper edges. Use tiny stitches, close together and very near the edge.

Continue to join edges of squares, remove paper from central square so you can manipulate it properly
This is mine evolving

Leave one edge unsewn. Rip and remove the paper templates. Turn inside out ( RIGHT side fabric will not be showing), push out corners with a blunt object eg chopstick end. Stuff with polyester filling , like this

The close the final unsewn edges with whipstitch.
Attach buttons of your choice with a dolls needle ( long needle), use embroidery thread that looks like this

Knot the thread before passing it right through the centre of the  cube into button hole on top
then pass it down through other side of button hole , down through cube to attach central bottom button etc.

Pull the embroidery thread to push the button down into the cube to give that nice plump look.

Boy are buttons expensive round these parts, I could not find any at home, so shot out to Department store in rain. Very poor selection, so will be trawling the internet for buttons tonight!

Please comment  if you have any questions. Give it a go.

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