This is how far I’ve got with the American Civil war mini quilt that I’m making using the English paper piecing method. I’ve sorted out the fabrics for each block now:
Once I’ve cut out the pattern pieces, based on the measured papers that I made before, I can arrange them on the reverse of the fabric from the charm pack pieces.
I use a tiny bit of glue from a special glue pen to hold the paper in place on the fabric while I cut it out. These glue pens are wonderful – they are from the Sue Daley range, made specially for patchwork. The glue is pink in the stick, but when it dries, it dries clear. So you can see where you’re putting it, but it doesn’t mark the fabric permanently pink. You can get refills easily, too. It helps to keep it in the fridge till you’re ready to use it, as if it is at room temperature, it’s a bit soft, and you end up using more than you need to.
As my quilt is only little, I cut all my pieces out with scissors. If I had hundreds to do, I’d use a rotary blade and a cutting mat. I make my seam allowances about a centimetre, rather than the recommended quarter of an inch, as it makes it easier to get accurate folds on the seams, as I’ve got more to get hold of.
I put a line of glue on the paper, then fold the fabric over and press it in place. The glue dries really fast. I just fold each side over (not mitreing corners or anything) going round the shape until all four are done.
This is one block, ready to be stitched together by hand.
Here’s the twelve blocks, once I’d stitched them all together. I use polyester thread, in a neutral tone, and just oversew the pieces together.
The sashing pieces (joining strips) are made in the same way – by glueing the fabric over long strips – except that I made these intentionally longer than they needed to be, to give me ‘wiggle room’ when stitching them to the other blocks.
This is the layout:
Each long strip is pinned in place, and then oversewn to the main part, right sides together.
It’s tempting at this point to remove all the papers from the back, but it helps to have the main area still quite stiff with the papers in, while I’m adding the wide borders.
The long border pieces are added first, then the short ones. I didn’t mount these wide borders on paper first – I just turned a narrow seam allowance and pressed it in place, then oversewed the edge to the edge of the dark brown strip.
This is the bit I look forward to! Taking out the papers! Suddenly, the quilt goes from being lots of stiff little bits of fabric, to one soft and flexible quilt top, that has become something different in the process.
Unlike a quilt made by machine, the seam allowances aren’t pressed over to one side – they are left open like this. Later, the whole quilt top will be pressed before being layered with the wadding and backing.