Paper Piecing…not for me and Mandy!

My friend Mandy was here for a sewing day on Saturday.  She really wanted to make this quilt from a recent Quiltmaker magazine.


The problem is that  Mandy has never paper pieced and the pattern is written so that the blocks are paper pieced.  I showed her how…and she quickly learned that she didn’t like paper piecing either…so what to do?  After looking at the pattern for a few minutes I came up with an idea.

First we sewed a gray 3.5″ strip to a white 2.5″ strip.  Then we sewed a charcoal strip to the other side of the white strip.  I cut out the original paper pieced pattern cutting off the triangles yet extending the piece 1/4″ bigger on all sides.


We laid the pattern piece over the strip set that we had sewn together making sure to line up the center strip with the white center strip.  Using the pattern, we cut out the piece.

Then we cut rectangles that were 2 7/8″ x 4 7/8″.  We cut those on the diagonal to get these….


We added those to the corners and ended up with the block needed to make the quilt.


I don’t like paper piecing and will do whatever I can to avoid it even if it means “rewriting” the instructions.  Any other people out there who don’t enjoy paper piecing??

18 thoughts on “Paper Piecing…not for me and Mandy!”

  1. I think I would like it if I could get someone to teach me in person. I have seen several video tutorials on line and when I attempt it I wind up wasting a lot of fabric. I know it takes practice like everything else, but I just can’t get the hang of it.

  2. I like to have the skill because it can go the other way. I got a great kit for $10 that used a 1990s Quiltmaker template full, lots of bias edges pattern. I converted it to paper piecing and it will be a snap to sew. I did copy my pattern on a translucent paper to make it easier. I have done 2 inch blocks to queen sized quilts using paper pieced blocks. Prefer Cindi Edgerton’s patterns on tissue paper.

  3. I absolutely LOVE to paper piece, but it does take awhile for the light to go on and understand that you kinda have to think backwards when sewing the blocks. I have several paper pc. Projects going on..most recently I am doing two of Judy Niemeyer Glacier Stars, which are huge accomplishments!

  4. Your last comment made me giggle as I rewrite any pattern I can to use paper piecing!! :) Glad you found a way to make the pattern work – it is cute!

  5. I have Show Me How to Paper Piece by Carol Doak. The book makes a 12 inch quilt with nine heart blocks. It is the only paper pieced project that I have made so far. Paper piecing is very slow going. I think that is why a lot of people don’t care for it. I found that it kept my mind quite busy and not worrying which is a good thing. Love that you found a way to make the pattern work!

  6. My friend Linda and I absolutely hate paper piecing, but Heather Kimpel Costen’s MARINER IN A PICKLE from F and P’s Love of Quilting Sept Oct 2008 grabbed us and wouldnt let go! I do love a challenge! One thing we learned real fast, we are cutting our strips a half inch bigger in each direction so we dont have to sweat getting all the points covered!

  7. I will avoid a pattern that is paper pieced (with the exception of string piecing). If I can’t come up with alternate instrutions, it won’t reach the completion stage. Life is too short for me to do a technique that I don’t like. My list of patterns to do is way too long as it is.

  8. I loved paper piecing for the accuracy but found it a pain to copy a template for each block, ted-i-ous to do all that flipping back and forth to place the fabric then stitch it and then a pain all over again to remove all the paper after the blocks are done.

    Then last year (meaning 2011) there was a tutorial on the Madame Samm’s Sew We Quilt” blog by Elaine about doing it with freezer paper. Revolutionary! Totally makes PP easier IMHO to the point that I used it to do crumb house blocks in your challenge and it will be just the thing to revive an eight year old PP bed quilt UFO from oblivion this year.

    The link to the tute is here ( Also I was able to print my pattern on the printer rather than copying it by hand as per her instructions so even more of a time saver!

  9. Amen…i avoid it all costs. Seems like I always get the fabric going the wrong way so it is short or I waste a bunch of fabric trying to get the angles right….grrrr.

  10. Awww, I love paper piecing! True, it can use more fabric than doing it the regular way, especially if the piece is added at an odd angle, but I just toss the leftover pieces in the crumb basket!

  11. Love foundation paper piecing! Love the accuracy, love the challenge of cutting the little pieces just large enough to cover their assigned spaces, love the entire process.

  12. I have never & prob will never paper piece, but I have heard if you use printable facing stuff ( I will have to look at exactly what it is called) that it works so much better than paper. I can usually figure out a pattern (like you did) unless it has ridiculously small pieces. this pattern would be easy, just sew the strips together & then cut.

  13. My first attempt at quilting was self-taught paper piecing, and to me it just made sense (probably because I’d never done it any other way!) I still do it on occasion, and love the accuracy that it can provide, but I think part of the problem is that it’s not suited for all designs. Some work a lot better than others!

  14. I’ll do string piecing for Bonnie Hunter’s patterns, but otherwise I avoid paper piecing like the plague. I don’t like pulling off the paper afterwards. I can see using it for blocks that would be difficult or impossible to piece the normal way. But if I can’t convert a PP pattern to normal piecing I’ll just skip that project.

  15. I rather enjoy the process in short spurts. I’m not sure I would want to make a king sized quilt that way. One of my first projects I attempted on my own (several years ago) was a Paper Pieced beach scene with tiny pieces and lots of “blocks” (for lack of a better term). I finished all the paper piecing, and love it, but it is on my UFO list this year because the quilting isn’t done.

  16. I hated paper piecing until I took a class from Merle Stensrud at the Calico Hutch and developed a love for it. Biggest attempt so far is “Christmas Pickle”. Now I have more paper piecing patterns than I can ever make!

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