Paper Piecing (Flip & Sew or whatever you call it)

paper piecing

After I starting making another pineapple block I thought I would take photo’s along the way so you can see how you do it.  Or should I say how I do it?   I have never taken a class but I was shown how to do it by another quilter.

this is the point I was at when I started to take photos

this is with the pieces building as a building block- going round and round

select a piece of fabric, make sure it is the correct size, you can hold it up to a light and see if it is long enough and wide enough to cover the area needed.

from the front put in a pin to hold it in place if you wish - you do not need a pin if you feel comfortable without one

sew directly on the line, using a very small stitch - smaller the stitch the better for when you need to tear all of this paper off

flip it back over and see where you stitched. Now flip it back to the sewing side, fold your paper back and trim your seam. This can be 1/8th of an inch or a 1/4 - your choice, when using such small pieces I eyeball it at about 1/8th

then I press it down

then fold back each side one at a time and trim - again I do this to 1/8" when using tiny pieces but a 1/4" works well on larger blocks to do this you just fold your paper back to the size of seam you want and cut next to the paper - use a ruler to cover the paper if you think you might cut into the paper by accident. If the cut off access is still big enough to use in another block I save it - it gets tossed back to the scraps as this one did. The yellow ruler on my table is a add a quarter inch ruler that is used for paper piecing.

keep building around the block - follow the numbers. On this piece I want to show you what happens if you haven't looked at a piece close enough. On this blue piece in the little corner there is a piece of salvage showing - in this case it will be alright it will be covered by the next seam. But that is what you need to look for when you are selecting your next piece and to make sure it is big enough.

The next piece - white corner - covers that little bit of salvage and no need to pick out a piece to replace. But if the salvage edge had been a little larger I would have had to pick that piece out.

Final step is to trim all the way around the block leaving a quarter inch seam. Leave the paper on the block and you will eventually join all blocks together and tear the paper off when the top is finished. A pain in the you know what and it might take you a couple days to do it depending on the size of your quilt. This is a good way though to use up tiny scraps and the fabric will hold it's shape and not stretch out. This block measures 6 1/2 inches.

my workspace when paper piecing. I have my small portable table set up with little iron mat/cutting mat, travel size iron, rotary cutter ect. The taller cutting table has my scraps dumped on to it, and then the sew ezi table. Small area but all I have to do is rotate the chair and everything is right there. Everything is within reach. Normally for more exercise I iron in the living room, but when using these little pieces I would be popping up and down so often that I took the easier way out and have it set next to me.

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11 comments… add one
  • SherryR May 1, 2010

    Hmmm… I don’t paper piece…makes me mad and I say bad words. But…I might could do this one. I’ll think about it. Maybe. ;o)
    .-= SherryR´s last blog ..Home From Cozumel Cruise =-.

  • Karen L May 1, 2010

    Karen, I love using that little 1/4″ ruler for paper piecing. It’s kind of an added step but it tends to keep me honest …. as in not having to pick out some teeny tiny stitches because I cut too much fabric off for the seam allowances. Although, I have gotten pretty good a doing that with my teeny tiny rotary cutter because, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”, ARGH! If I have not been paper piecing for a while, I almost always make a stupid mistake on the first block such as putting the fabric the wrong way around. Don’t you hate when that happens? Your sewing setup looks very productive and it looks like you have made friends with your Featherweight machine too. Nice!

  • Kathy May 1, 2010

    Hi Karen, this is a good tutorial. I love paper piecing so thanks for sharing.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Europe, Fabric and Quilts =-.

  • Astrid May 1, 2010

    I like to do paper piecing, but haven’t done it for a while now. Took me some time to figure out not to put the fabric the wrong way! lol!
    .-= Astrid´s last blog ..Dancing Snowmen (UFO) finished =-.

  • Crispy May 2, 2010

    Great tutorial Karen. I’ve only made one block by paper piecing, just to see if I could do it….I’ll stick with hand piecing LOL.


  • Heather May 2, 2010

    That block looks so good. I really must try it one of these days in my huge amount of free time.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea =-.

  • Gari May 2, 2010

    I really like your blocks. I also like paper piecing and must try a pineapple block. Thanks for the tutorial.
    .-= Gari´s last blog ..Dad and other stuff =-.

  • CJ May 3, 2010

    I’ve never done any paper piecing either, although the “flip and sew” method I’m using on the lone star is similar.

    Love your singer in the sewezi table!
    .-= CJ´s last blog ..Halfway there! =-.

  • nanette May 3, 2010

    Your tutorial is helpful. I’m doing this method right now for the pickle dish quilt. I don’t much like it though.
    .-= nanette´s last blog ..April 2010 Meeting Alpine Quilt Group =-.

  • Becky in VA May 4, 2010

    Your little pineapple blocks are darling. I can’t wait to see what you do with them. Happy stitching.

  • Kathy Jan 6, 2015

    I notice that you leave the papers on the blocks as you sew the blocks together. I did that with my Storm at Sea, and the extra bulk of the papers really interfered with lining up my blocks and rows and caused me to not get the nice triangle tips that I expected with paper piecing. I’m currently working on a pineapple quilt (14″ block), and I was thinking that I’d remove the papers before sewing my blocks together. Maybe I shouldn’t?
    Kathy recently posted…Monday Morning MusingsMy Profile

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