I must admit, although I've never made a garment, this paper-pieced block fascinated me! The complexity! I'd been looking forward to some free time to give it a try and carved out a few hours this weekend. This is Stitching Fashion by Charise Randell (of Charise Creates) and is available on The Splendid Sampler's website.
What makes it so interesting (besides the 44 pieces in a 6" block) are all the matching points. This is one block that could spend hours working on and go horribly wrong. Charise has a technique that involves piecing with no paper seam allowances so you can easily match points without the bulkiness of the paper; but I like the paper seam allowances for lining up larger pieces.
I decided to try Charise's method but leaving the seam allowances around the outside. I'm so geeked with the results.
|Thank you, my friends, for the revised patterns with seam|
allowances. Note I kept them on the outside while trimming
off the inner ones so I could match my points.
The hardest part about lopping off the paper seam allowances is remembering to sew beyond the paper's edge. I'm so used to starting and stopping right at the paper's edge that I had to go back and sew over my original lines a few times.
Next, using this technique, I had to remember to trim the block while leaving 1/4" for seam allowance.
For a detailed explanation of her method, definitely visit her blog. She did great step-by-step instructions with labelled pictures (and I don't want to infringe on copyright here). Basically, when sewing two sections together, align the points using straight pins first. Once everything is lined up, pin to hold and sew.
This is smart. Rather than relying on accurate seam allowances
to be your guide, you use the actual points without the bulkiness
of the paper. Specially useful when the sections aren't square.
Charise recommends basting with a longer stitch length first (I set mine to 4), checking your seams and then, if everything is aligned, sew again with a shorter stitch length (mine was a 2). I admit, I don't normally baste, but these sections were SO DARN SMALL that I did this time. Luckily I didn't need to take apart any of the dress sections (that darn spool of thread was another matter), but I'm glad I didn't risk it.
|Press seam allowances open on small pieces.|
I may be a little biased, but I think the extra care really paid off. I love this block!
|Final dress section before cleaning up the edges|
I decided to leave out the "thread" embroidered on the original pattern. Looking at the other finished blocks, their threads all look wonky as they tried to embroider through so many bulky seams. If I really want it, I may machine stitch it when I quilt the final quilt.
In addition to the free block pattern, Charise has offered a free pouch pattern to showcase this block.
That's a lot of pieces!
I've decided to keep a counter at the bottom of these posts to track them.
The totals are based on the original patterns and not on deviations.
Stitching Fashion = 44
Total to Date: 474 pieces*
*The count only includes the blocks I've completed to date