While I was working on the valentine mug rug
I realized I have a "special" way to do paper piecing.
I am not sure where/when I learned that technique,
but I have been quite successful with it,
so I thought I would share.
I used it a lot when I made this Noah's ark quilt,
pattern from Margaret Rolfe.
I really enjoy making the animals, all of them are paper pieced, then I embroidered their faces
and added braided tails where necessary (you can actually play with the giraffe and zebra's tails!)
Living in the DC area, we have the chance to see Pandas at the zoo,
so I thought it would be fitting to make a paper pieced panda,
surrounded by bamboo of course.
(he still needs some embroidery work)
I used Margaret Rolfe's CD-ROM to print my block,
very convenient, no need to recopy it from the book.
Once my pattern (made 2 copies: one for reference, the other for sewing) was printed I colored the background in green to make it easier to choose color.
I cut out the 5 sections that made the block (notice the lack of seam allowance)
I started with the face.
I used a folded piece of tape to hold my first fabric in place on number 1.
The wrong side of the fabric is placed over the tape.
I very roughly and generously cut around the shape (there are no seam allowances on the paper)
On the right side, I place a piece of black (right side together) making sure it will be big enough when the piece is flipped. The black piece is overlapping a little the area where it is going to be but not covering it.
On the paper side I stitched on the first line (between 1 and 2), starting and finishing at least 1/4 inch on either side of the line. Because we are stitching on paper that we will remove later,
it is best to use a real short stitch length, like 1.5.
I flipped over the black fabric and ironed it, then trimmed the excess fabric.
I also cut out the excess fabric on the edges but still making sure I have 1/4 inch seam allowance!
I repeat the same process on the other side (the panda's face is symmetrical).
Finally I stitched the 4th piece on the bottom.
There is the rough shape of the face.
I finally cut all around the face with a 1/4 inch (using ruler and roller cuter)
I repeated the same thing for the other 4 sections.
For me the trickiest part is putting all the sections together, especially the ones where
accuracy really maters, like the panda's hands in this one.
I put a pin exactly where the 2 sections met. I made sure that I looked on the right side to confirm proper placement. Then I stitched just a 1 inch before and after that point with a 2.0 stitch length (no paper) and checked if everything is perfect. In case it is not, there are less unstitching to be done!
When it looked good, I stitched the entire length, and pressed the seam opened.
The other sections did not have any tricky parts, i.e., no need for perfect accuracy!
All the sections were stitched together and ironed.
And voila a perfect panda.
The paper and tape can be removed at that stage or after the addition of border.
I am always careful while remove the paper so I do not disturb/stress the seams.
It is one of the time where poor quality paper is a plus, easier to tear apart.
It is also possible to use water soluble paper to skip this step, but I have never tried it.
Now I need to put some expression, eyes, mouth on my panda....