Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paper Piecing without Sewing Through the Paper

I mentioned recently that a certain project languished in the UFO pile because I dreaded removing the paper. And that I did that project before I learned how to paper piece without sewing through the paper. Someone asked how to paper piece this way, so here is a little tutorial on the process.

Step 1: Draw or trace your pattern onto the paper side of a piece of freezer paper. Note: you must use freezer paper for this method. Since you don't sew through the freezer paper, you can reuse your pattern several times.

Step 2: Iron your first fabric piece to the shiny side of the freezer paper. Iron the wrong side to the freezer paper. Make sure your fabric covers all of piece one and the seam allowance too. (Do as I say, not as I do.)

view from the paper side with the drawn pattern

view from the shiny side

Notice that in both of the above photos I have circled the little corner that didn't get covered with fabric. I could have easily corrected this at this stage had I noticed. Unfortunately I didn't notice in time. My "helper" was ironing a bunch of scraps that really didn't need ironing. He was having so much fun doing it and not begging to watch TV so I just let him. However, his presence in my space was quite distracting. He talks nonstop about whatever pops into his head. Kind of hard to concentrate with all background the noise.

Step 3: Fold back the paper pattern along the sewing line between pieces one and two. You'll need to peel the fabric off of the freezer paper, but only up to the sewing line.

I use a piece of card stock to fold against to get a nice straight line
The card stock is covering piece one, 
but the edge is right on the line between pieces one and two

 Fabric peeled back and freezer paper folded on the sew line 
between the first and second pieces

Step 4: Trim the first fabric 1/4" from the sewing line (folded edge of freezer paper). The add-a-quarter ruler is very handy for this. If you don't have this ruler, your regular ruler will work just fine, but I highly recommend the add-a-quarter ruler if you plan to do a lot of paper piecing.

preparing to trim

all trimmed and ready for the next step

Step 5: Place your second fabric underneath your first fabric, right sides together.

 fabrics right side together
I didn't line them up perfectly yet so you could see the second fabric underneath

Step 6: With the freezer paper folded on the sew line between pieces one and two, sew pieces one and two together with a 1/4" seam allowance. You are sewing right next to the folded paper but not through the paper.

sewing right next to the paper

pieces one and two sewn together
view from back of piece two

pieces one and two sewn together
view from back of piece one

Step 7: Press the seam toward piece 2. I like to press first from the front, but do not let your iron touch the waxy side of the freezer paper or you'll have a mess. Then press again from the back so that you adhere piece two to the freezer paper.

preparing to press
 note that the freezer paper has been unfolded

all pressed and ready to start over with piece three

Now go back to Step 3 and repeat steps 3 - 7 with the next fabric. Continue in this manner until you have completed your unit.

after the third piece was sewn and pressed

 the finished unit
with the uncovered corner - grrrrrr!

When you have it all together trim it to size (be sure to leave a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around), then just peel the freezer paper off the back and it's ready to be used again.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions please ask in the comments.


Barb said...

I have seen this method before but am so glad you put it in a tutorial so I can come back and refresh my bad memory.

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Interesting. I've never seen it done like that before. Thanks for sharing.

West Michigan Quilter said...

Wow! Great tutorial. It makes me want to try PP again.

Mama Pea said...

Now THAT is clever! Thank you so much! Duh. Why didn't I think of that?

Valentina said...

Fantastic! I will really give it a try and let you know how it goes. thanks again! :)

Venus de Hilo said...

What a great idea! This method is new to me, and I am so glad I found it (clicked through from Blogger's Quilt Festival). I have been wanting to try NYB for a long time, but the prospect of removing the paper has kept it way down on the "future projects" list. I've bookmarked this page so I can come back just as soon as a few other WIPs are done.

Vickie said...

Oh wow, Lynn. This is really gorgeous! I read your tut for paper piecing with freezer paper. I think I will actually try this!! Any recommendations for a good source for finding New York Beauty patterns?? The fabrics you used are so satisfying. And hey, I am a fellow PEO!!!

Unknown said...

Does the grain of the fabric matter a lot? I am making square blocks that have a triangle in the middle. They look similar to flying geese but in a different ratio. In the tutorial it looks more like you place the grain along the stitching line. Thank you for your time. I did take a course in this method but some time ago and this is a great review.

Lynn said...

Replying to "Unknown" comment above: Sorry, but I don't know your name or have an email address so I can respond to you directly.

It may look like I put the grain line of the fabric along the stitching line, and for some pieces I probably did, but that was just accidental. I didn't even consider grain line of the fabric when placing my fabrics for this. Personally, I think it is more important to consider the grain line of the fabric on the pieces that will be on the outside edges of your unit. If possible, place those fabrics so that the grain line of the fabric is along the outside edge of the unit. If not possible, leave the paper on your units until after you sew them into your project. This is stabilize any bias edges on the outside of your units until after they are sewn together. Stay stitching around the outside of your units will do the same thing. So if leaving the paper on the units isn't practical, stay stitch within the seam allowance (so it won't show in the finished project) before removing the paper from the units.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry I showed as "unknown", and I don't know how to fix that. I really appreciate that you answered my question anyway. It was helpful. Elizabeth