Tool School: Coats Paper Piecing Polyester Thread
Want to piece like a pro? Try this technique that gives great accurate results every time. Hi, I'm Beth, and today I'm going to show you the basics of paper piecing. It's perfect for designs that are very precise with lots of tiny details, like this block with all these intersecting points. If you can sew a straight seam, you can paper piece. It's almost as easy as counting. Let's take a look at a typical template. Each of these numbered shapes (in this case, one through six) will have a corresponding piece of fabric. And each piece of fabric needs to be at least a quarter of an inch larger all around than it's matching numbered shape. Get started by putting the wrong side of fabric number one (we're using blue) to the blank side of the template. You can see this piece of fabric is much larger than shape number one. Now using the fabric for shape number 2 (we're using purple), place it right sides together with fabric one and align it so that it's at least a quarter inch past this line between shapes 1 and 2. I'm going to hold it up to the light so you can see that. Then with the right sides together, you're going to stitch right down that line between shapes 1 and 2. I'm using Coats paper piecing polyester thread for this. Not only does it provide a greater seam strength then a fine cotton thread would, but it's also better for the shorter stitch length that you need when paper piecing. So make sure you've got your stitch length set at around 1.6 to 1.8 millimeters. And then starting about a quarter inch before the line stitch along the line and past the end of the line again by about a quarter inch. Now you can fold the paper template along the stitched line and cut off the excess fabric, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance. Press it open and then move on to piece number 3. Same process. Align the pieces of fabric right sides together so that piece number 3 (that's our pattern) has about a quarter inch allowance beyond that line that separates 1 and 3. And go ahead and stitch out that line. Then again fold the template, remove the excess, open and press into place. Keep using this process until you get through all the numbered pieces. You can see on the template that there's a dotted line all the way around the block. That's your seam allowance. And now you just want to trim all the way around on that line. Check out these points. The perfect points are really due to the Coats fine thread. It takes up less space and adds less bulk, which makes the piecing so accurate. Now you can carefully tear away the template. This is another reason I use the Coats paper piecing polyester thread. It really perforates the paper well so that the template is easier to tear away from the fabric. And because the thread is so strong, it won't break or distort stitches when you pull the paper away. Once you understand the basics, you can create all kinds of intricate designs that would be more difficult using traditional piecing techniques. You just follow the numbers. So give it a try. I think you'll be surprised by the precise results you'll get.