Antiques & The Arts

English Paper Piecing with Rob and Violet Craft

Rob: Hey everybody we’ve got a super special
guest here today at Man Sewing to teach us all about paper piecing. Let’s get started.
Rob: That’s right, if you know my dear friend Violet Craft and yes that is her real name
by the way, right? I love that. Violet: Yes it is.
Rob: You know how amazing her abstractions patterns are in the really large, large scale
for paper piecing but she’s brought it down mini and teaching us how to do it by hand.
But Violet, this is your show baby. Take it away. This is awesome.
Violet: So today I found something else Rob doesn’t know how to do. And if you know
our relationship maybe you know that the last time I also found something that Rob didn’t
know how to do. Which I think is hard to do. So now it’s just my personal challenge.
Rob has never English paper pieced before. This is one of my new patterns. This is the
lion English paper piecing projects. English paper piecing and foundation paper piecing
are similar in that they both use a paper foundation. But they’re very different.
With foundation paper piecing which is what my large abstractions animals are, you have
a paper template in which you physically sew the paper, the fabric onto the paper. And
you use a sewing machine to do that. With English paper piecing we are still using paper
foundations such as this package of templates. And we will be wrapping the fabric around
this template and then hand sewing each of the templates together.
Rob: Right. Violet: What people are very familiar with
is something similar to these guys which is a grandmother’s flower garden pattern.
Rob: Right. Violet: You see a lot of these around in different
antique stores and your on grandma’s bed. These are English paper pieced. They all have
paper templates in the back and we’ve wrapped the fabric around them. And they’ve all
been handsewn together. Rob: Ok, I’ve got a question.
Violet: Ok Rob: So just in case everyone else didn’t
know because I just learned this recently as well. Why paper at all whether you’re
doing it by machine or by hand. Why are we using paper?
Violet: The paper foundation gives you the shape that you need to follow. It holds your
fabric in place for you while you sew it together. Rob: That’s what I thought.
Violet: One thing about paper piecing that I love is that you can use different fabrics
that do not maybe traditionally work as well with traditional piecing. So if you’re using
something with a really wide open weave or something that’s slippery that moves and
loses its shape, the foundation paper holds it in place so that it won’t stretch and
move while you’ve got it in there to sew it together.
Rob: As you’re doing some wild angles and bias and all that.
Violet: Doing wild crazy angles Rob: Perfect. That’s what I needed to know.
Violet: So with foundation piecing you work with all these different angles. It doesn’t
matter. The paper tells you where it goes. You don’t have to be accurate as long as
you’re following the lines. Rob: Right.
Violet: Foundation piecing, what you may see here is every one of these is a Y seam. But
it doesn’t matter because we’re sewing it by hand. And so you can get different angles
that you can’t achieve when you’re sewing it on a sewing machine.
Rob: Nice, nice. Ok. You were starting to tell me though that you just love sewing the
same thing over and over again. Violet: Right.
Rob: We’ve been practicing a little bit. Violet: You can only sew so many, sew so many
super large animal abstractions quilts. And I really wanted a hobby that I could take
with me. I wanted something when I’m at the kids swimming lessons or when I’m sitting
next to their fields that I can have in my lap and I can take on the go. So that’s
why I got started with these hexagons. I’ve seen everyone else doing it. I really wanted
in on it. But then I got really tired of making the same thing over and over again.
Rob: Right. Violet: Because for me the fun in the animals
is watching them come together and producing this piece. And I wasn’t getting that from
this. And that’s why I came up with turning my animals, some of them into these English
paper pieced projects. Rob: That’s cool. I’m so proud of you.
Violet: Thank you Rob: So awesome
Violet: I started with a lion just because he was kind of iconic for me. He was my first
big abstractions quilt that people really know and I really wanted to bring him down
into a small scale size where you can put one together. The papers come inside of the
pattern all of your templates are Rob: And it’s not even paper paper, really
it’s like a heavy cardstock or Violet: It’s a cardstock
Rob: It looks really good and easy to work with
Violet: But it’s firm so it will hold the fabric in place. These just pop apart. And
that’s how you get the individual pieces. Rob: Right.
Violet: And then we’ve got, which is similar to the abstractions patterns, you can see
that these have the little numbers and the shapes on them that tell you where they go
in the piecing. So this is your map that shows you where all the pieces go. And down here
you have your chart that shows you each of the fabrics.
Rob: Right. Violet: So once you’ve got your kits.
Rob: And I’m going to do a trick here too because I know that I have two different cameras
set up around here and they work differently. And I’m always used to showing everybody
at home this way but we can show them upside down.
Violet: So I just did everything backwards. Rob: No you didn’t. You did it perfect.
But I want them to see that you’ve actually included the sewing machine here for me too
so I appreciate that. I just wanted to make sure they can get that.
Violet: So once you’ve got your kits and it has all of your fabrics in place you can
see that it matches up. I like to take a little piece and glue it on here so I’ve got the
exact fabric on. Rob: A little swatch of the fabric.
Violet: A little swatch. Rob: Right.
Violet: So that, because sometimes the colors don’t come across as well.
Rob: Sure, sure. Violet: Then if you want to change the map
and do a totally different colorway you can do that. And if you kind of follow the same
gradation as. Rob: I wanted to point that out.
Violet: We’ve got five goldens here that make up the face. If you wanted to change
that so you have say a blue lion. If you follow that same gradient from lightest to darkest
you will maintain those highs and lows in the face and get the same highlights and lowlights
to be able to change it out. And then you just put your swatch right over the top of
those colors so that you can follow it along. Rob: Love it. Love it.
Violet: So are going to get this party started. Rob: Ok. Warming up.
Violet: This gray right out and I have a piece here that’s got the sewing machine on it
which on my chart showed that it was this color of gray.
Rob: Ok Violet: What I like to do is to find, take
all of these and sort them all into piles Rob: So all your sewing machine pieces are
all in one pile? Ok Violet: All of my pieces are all. And then
I can take them and lay them all out on my fabric all at one time in just that color
and do one color all at once. Rob: Ok
Violet: I am going to use, you can use a little bit of glue on the back of this. I prefer
to not use a glue stick on this particular part because I think sometimes it shows through
on the final project. Rob: Right and your papers are reusable
Violet: And your papers are reusable Rob: So a lot of these things you’ve tested
and tested and tested to make sure your papers remain reusable.
Violet: Exactly. Rob: Ok
Violet: So what I have here is a tape roller. There are hundreds of these out there. You
get them at any craft store or office supply store.
Rob: Ok Violet: And what’s really important is that
it’s double sided and it rolls off here very easily and that it is not dots. A lot
of these you’ll find that are little tiny dots inside. And the little dots tend to stick
to the fabric and not come off. And you don’t want to be picking anything away. So if you
just take and roll a little piece on there then you can put it on.
Rob: Ok question again Violet: Yep
Rob: So we always can see our number obviously and our symbol so later on we know which number
it is Violet: Yes exactly. And you’re always putting
this tape roller, if I try to put this onto the fabric it won’t even stick
Rob: Got it Violet: So you’re always putting it onto
the paper side. Rob: Perfect.
Violet: And then placing it on. And this is one of the things I love about this. It’s
repositionable over and over again. If you don’t like where it was at. If you get them
laid out and you don’t have enough room and you need to move things around you can
move it around. Rob: You’ve really thought this through
Violet: I’ve done it a little bit. Rob: Ya. Good. Awesome.
Violet: I try to make everything as easy and as accomplishable as possible. And that’s
really my end goal. Rob: We all appreciate that.
Violet: Thanks. Once it’s on there we are going to then take and cut around them
Rob: Perfect. Violet: So the tape does not have to be very
secure. It’s just to hold it in place so you can move things around until you’ve
wrapped your Rob: You need a seam allowance, right?
Violet: Yes Rob: Got it
Violet: So you can use a rotary cutter, any rotary cutter.
Rob: That was my suggestion Violet: If you really want to put a ruler
around this to measure out a seam allowance you can but it’s unnecessary. You can just
take your scissors and rough cut around here. You want at least a quarter of an inch all
the way around. I like mine to be a little heavy, so
Rob: You mean thicker than a quarter of an inch
Violet: Thicker than a quarter of an inch so I will like to go with like a ⅜ but honestly
it’s not completely even all the time. And that will be fine.
Rob: And that seam doesn’t get in the way later on or anything like that.
Violet: It does not Rob: Ok
Violet: It does not. So now that we’ve got it on here.
Rob: Beautiful Violet: We are going to take glue. I prefer
glue baste. There are several different ways to baste your fabric around your templates.
What I think probably a lot of people have seen is where you take it and fold it back
and then sew through the paper. I really prefer glue basting. And there are several different
glue sticks out there. There are these guys that come along. They’re in a pen shape.
Rob: Ok Violet: And then they come with refills which
is Rob: Oh cool
Violet: Nice. And then there are like our lapel stick.
Rob: The La Appel stick Violet: The La Appel stick
Rob: Right. Violet: And then we are just going to take
this Rob: I’ve still got to get them to fix the
packaging on that. Violet: And roll some glue onto our paper
Rob: Ok. And it’s ok it got onto the fabric a little bit?
Violet: It’s totally fine. Rob: Ok
Violet: And then we’re going to fold this back.
Rob: Sweet. Violet: And hold it in place for just a second
until it adheres itself to the paper. Rob: Ok, great.
Violet: So there we go. One side basted. Now we’re going to go around
Rob: And you’re just literally going to work your way all the way around
Violet: All around the template. And see I’m putting it on the fabric.
Rob: Oh so it will stick back down later Violet: So it will stick back down later.
So that this side Rob: Did you ever find that too much glue
makes it hard to hand stitch through, because we are going to be doing the hand stitching
work Violet: No I have not had a problem with that.
Not with any of these water based glues that were meant for sewing. I’ve not had any
problems at all. Rob: Got it.
Violet: And the only place you’re going to sew is right on your edge. You’re not
really getting into your glue so much. Rob: Ok, you can tell I haven’t done this
before. I’ve seen it. I wanted to. One of my sewing teachers early on tried to get me
to do a little bit of paper piecing on an airplane when we were flying
Violet: Ya Rob: And I did a couple of hexagons and I
liked it and I saw the benefits of it but at that point I was really into doing like
ocean based collage and stuff and so I didn’t see the use for it in my skill set but really
love the way you’ve got your animal faces coming together.
Violet: Thanks. Well you know it’s really it is kind of similar to doing hand work when
you’re doing hand applique. Rob: Right.
Violet: But the difference is that you can get these really fine points and sharp points
and angles that you can’t get if you were just to applique.
Rob: But I wasn’t doing hand applique, I was doing fusible web and machine quilting
it all down and calling it a piece of art. Violet: Ok let me be the one to tell you that
I never thought that I would do this much hand piecing.
Rob: Right. Violet: I was not a hand piecer before this.
I have not done a lot of hand applique. I did not know that I was going to love this
so much and want to put these pieces together. So now that we’ve got that together let’s
show you. We’ve got this little, we call these dog ears out here
Rob: Ok Violet: Completely fine. I leave it there.
And I will show you why when we get to some of our pieces here in just a minute.
Rob: So that thing is ready? Violet: It’s ready. So you just do this
for all the pieces. Rob: And the quilt is done?
Violet: Put them aside. Ya done. Rob: Ok, easy. Thanks, we’ll see you next
time. Violet: Not quite. So now we’re going to
take our map and like Rob said you’re always looking at the side that is up towards you.
Rob: Right Violet: And that matches the side here so
we can find piece 115. Piece 115 and it matches. So this is always you’re looking at the
reverse of what the finished product is going to be.
Rob: Right. Violet: So that that way you’re not having
to flip it over all the time and figure out where the piece is. It just matches.
Rob: Very well designed. Cool. Very cool. Ok.
Violet: So I have these two pieces here. This is 68 and 67 which are right here that go
together. Rob: OK
Violet: And they do happen to be the same color.
Rob: Does it matter, like let’s say the person gets the kit at home. They’ve got
everything prepped out. They’ve got it all cut out and basted and all this but aren’t
they going to start right in the middle, middle originally? Or does it matter where they start
if they’re really building out the pattern? Violet: I numbered these in a way that I thought
everyone would start with the numbers that I gave them. Start with one, add two and then
work your way around. Rob: Ok so that’s up in the eye area. I
see it. Violet: Ya up in the eye
Rob: Ok Violet: I’ve found that everyone kind of
picks their own starting points. Some people like to start in a corner and work their way
down. Some people like to really start with that base. It is not going to matter.
Rob: Because in the end we have all the edges worked
Violet: Because all the units have to go together anyway. Unlike some other patterns, these
units can come together however you want them. Rob: Perfect. So at first that didn’t make
sense but now it totally makes sense. Violet: Well here’s one. Let’s show that
since you just asked about it. This one is, we’ve already got the whole face done and
we’ve got these side pieces on Rob: It’s almost like a Princess Leia of
lions right now with just the buns on the side
Violet: It’s got the buns. Rob: Sorry I couldn’t resist.
Violet: So you can see all your papers on the back and we’ve done this in order for
the most part. But there’s definitely some pieces missing down here because we just really
wanted to get those side pieces on. It’s really whatever you’re feeling at the time.
Rob: Great, great. Violet: Ya so we’ve got piece, 67 and 68.
We know they go together right here. This is the seam that we are going to sew. So we
put them right sides together just like you would in any other sewing.
Rob: Got it. Violet: And your little tabs, I leave them
there because when you see if you have it folded out, they help to give you places where
they tuck into each other and lay over. Rob: Ok
Violet: And it sort of helps some of the pieces next as you start to get into some of these
different angles. Rob: Sure
Violet: So we’ve got these right sides together. We’re going to move the stuff out of our
way. Rob: Ok
Violet: And now we’re going to talk about thread.
Rob: Got it, got it. Violet: And needles. I think in English paper
piecing one of the things that can most affect your displeasure or pleasure with your projects
is what needle you’re using and what thread you are using.
Rob: Meaning it’s going to make it more challenging or you’re going to see more
when you’re done? Yes. Violet: Got it.. All of the above.
Rob: Ok Violet: So I really love to use something
similar to this. We’ve got here these Richard Hemming large needles, their milliner’s
and in a size nine. A size nine or a ten. It’s a pretty sharp, I like a longer needle
and it’s pretty thin. It’s got a nice size eye on it. It’s going to help it to
slip through the fabric easily. Rob: Ok
Violet: So that part it really nice. Rob: Ok so milliner’s nine head
Violet: A milliner’s nine Rob: Milliner’s nine
Violet: Ya nine and ten are both, I’m really happy with. Thread even more important.
Rob: Ok Violet: because the thread you really need
to just slide through and glide through the fabric as you go. And then afterwards you
need it to nestle in and disappear. Rob: Ok
Violet: So this is the Superior Threads Bottom Line. Which is Superior’s bottom thread.
It’s what their standard bobbin thread Rob: Like a bobbin
Violet: Their standard bobbin thread Rob: Right.
Violet: I found this when I started longarming and fell in love. I now use
Rob: A lot of people love this stuff Violet: For binding. And I use it for this.
It just slips right through. Rob: Now I see though that you the same threading
on the needle trick that I used years ago which is a full loop tied in a knot at the
back so my needle never comes off my thread. Violet: Absolutely.
Rob: The little bit of hand sewing I do do, I do do it that way
Violet: You do it that way. Rob: Ya
Violet: And I also love to have a double ply. I feel like it’s a little stronger and then
this is a 60 weight so it is a, is it a 60. Let me make sure
Rob: 60 or 80 Violet: This one is 60. I also love to use
an 80 weight when you can get it in a poly or poly blend. And we are just going to take
our needle and go right on the edge. Now I actually don’t like to go, sorry I’m super
shaky. It’s just who I am. Rob: You know what it is, it’s the energy
from the cameras coming back. Everyone out there is cheering for you so just wave back
at them. Violet: Yay.
Rob:Because, I know I do the same thing. I’m up here like Mr. Earthquake. So it happens
to all of us. Don’t you worry about it. Violet: So you’ll notice I am not all the
way through the very tip point. Can you see that?
Rob: I do. Violet: So the reason is when I go to put
the next one on on the other side, like when we’ve got this open
Rob: Ya that makes sense. Violet: And we add the next one on top I like
that space there to help get the next piece into place and to not already have it tightened
down so tight. Rob: Roger that.
Violet: And so you can kind of ease the fabric in as you go. We’ll close it when we put
the next piece on. And we’re talking, what a 32nd of an inch. It’s so small. But I
like to not be all the way up there Rob: Oh we should add micrometers to the supply
list for today’s tutorial Violet: So I’ve got
Rob: And the knot’s going to hold it? You’re not going to worry about looping back through
that or anything else? Violet: I am not. I’ve just got it knotted
on there. And then we’re going to go very tight little stitches. And you’ll see with
this thread I’m even going to do more than one.
Rob: And you’re entering on the same side? So you use like a whip stitch
Violet: It is a whip stitch. A very tight Rob: I know about a whip stitch. She doesn’t
think I do. Violet: Whip stitch. And now we just keep
going. Rob: I, you know when I saw you last we were
out at Sisters, Oregon for the big quilt show out there and I had forgotten to sew labels
on all my quilts. Violet: So you learned how to whip stitch.
Rob: Well I had 60 quilts in the show so ya I got pretty quick at whip stitching. I had
20 some labels to put on. In about a week’s time. We all participated. So you’re going
to go all the way to the end of that line. Violet: I am going to go to the end. And when
I get to the end I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to go almost to the very
edge. But I am not going to try to pull these two points really super tight together because
it will just cause puckering in the end if that little hole is there, that’s completely
fine. You’d rather have a hole than a pucker. Rob: Got it.
Violet: Where the two pieces come together. Rob: Got it. And you’ll knot off and everything
like that at the end of it. . Violet: Yep. And I’ll knot it and then I’ll
find my next piece and add it on. Rob: And these pieces stay here forever, or
do you ever trim those off? Violet: No they stay there forever.
Rob: Ok Violet: Just like in our regular quilting
Rob: They just go that way. Violet: They just go that way. And they help
to make it nest on the other side. Rob: Awesome. Boy that looks clean. Does it
get challenging when you have to put all the big pieces together?
Violet: Not really. And I have a piece here that we’ve done
Rob: Ok Violet: Because I want to show you what it
looks like. You might think all these crazy angles, how do you get them to come together?
Here’s one that we’ve done that’s almost finished.
Rob: Ok Violet: And then you can see I put, when I
went to put my borders together I’ve put all these together first and then I’m adding
them on as one big line. So I’m not knotting off after each one
Rob: Right. Violet: I’m continuing on. But I think something
that people don’t always realize is that when you’ve got these and they’re holding
them out there and they’re wondering how this piece of fabric can stay. There’s no
reason to not fold your paper. Give yourself the cleanest, straightest line possible
Rob: Right. Violet: And just fold that paper right over
so that you are working Rob: In a straight line.
Violet: In a straight line. Rob: Because you’ve used such a nice cardstock
in your kits you can fold it and unfold it and reuse it for more multiple patterns
Violet: And then when we get to the next piece we’ll do the same thing when we go to put
this one on we would then fold this line out and flatten it so we’ve always got a straight
line. Rob: I just love it.
Violet: And just go corner to corner. If you’re really concerned about a piece coming in and
then you feel like it’s not lining up correctly, knot off on this side and then start over
here. Then work your way back to the edge that’s already done.
Rob: Ok, great tip. Violet: Just another tip.
Rob: That’s a great tip. Violet: Once we’ve got all these pieces
together what we’re left with looks a little bit like this.
Rob: Ok Violet: You can see that our seam allowances
are all different sizes. We’ve got everything tucked in here and now we just need to pull
our papers. Rob: Is there a trick to that?
Violet: It comes out so easily Rob: Right.
Violet: So we’ll just pick one. I’m going to go right here with 23. And we just pull
our paper off. Rob: And I can kind of hear the glue coming
up. Violet: Hear it. It comes right off
Rob: Not distorting the fabric or anything. Violet: Nope, not at all. And then we’re
just going to give it a little pop and they pull right out.
Rob: Just like that. Violet: And then you can save these and reuse
them again Rob: So I think that, at least in my opinion
would be an advantage to not thread basting onto the original template piece because you’re
just gone and you’d have to go through and trim all those
Violet: And you don’t have to pull them all out.
Rob: Amazing. You are so talented. Violet: Thank you.
Rob: That’s awesome. Did we teach everybody at home everything they needed to know. We
got the paper out. Is there any tricks to finishing on quilting or
Violet: No there’s nothing here that is any more, you know, sensitive or unstable
than anything else that you piece. You know it’s sewn by hand but you’re using a very
strong thread. You’ve got really tiny stitches. I love to quilt these with a straight line
just because it allows the piecing to really shine through. I’ve also seen some really
great free motion done on top of them. Rob: Ya, wow. This is incredible.
Violet: Wall hangings, pillows. Make more of them and you can do a full quilt
Rob: Wall hangings, peacocks Violet: Peacocks.
Rob: Because we also have a peacock. So is this peacock a kit too?
Violet: It is not a kit yet. It is a brand new pattern. It’s a new one that’s coming
out Rob: Maybe some day soon.
Violet: So this is what it looks like. Yes this one is on its way.
Rob: Ah! Violet you rock. Thank you so much for being here. Your stuff is incredible.
I’m always so very impressed and I appreciate you taking the time to share all this to the
Man Sewing fans. You are amazing. And for everybody else out there, make sure you thank
Violet as well in the comments below because she put a lot of time and effort into all
of this design work. And we absolutely love it. We’ll see you next time right here at
Man Sewing. Thanks for being a Man Sewing fan. It’s
great to have you out there encouraging me to create fantastic new content. If you’ve
missed any of the videos we’ve got links for you here and here. And when you’re checking
those out make sure you’re subscribed. We don’t want you to miss any of the action.

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