Monday, February 21, 2011

Prepping for Hand Piecing

There's no Accuquilt Go cutter in my sewing studio. For me, rotary cutting involves rulers for cutting straight edges, or acrylic templates for cutting shapes. Recently, I used a single "Swirling Star" acrylic template to manually cut curved shapes, and I enjoyed it. I especially appreciate the spring-y colors in this pile of scraps. Pretty!

To cut these shapes, I first rotary cut 4-5/8" wide strips that the template would fit onto. Thankfully I tested my plan to cut the templates from a folded (wrong sides together) piece of fabric. Oops! I discovered half of the cut pieces were swirling the wrong way, and had to be discarded - well, set aside for something else. I cut the shapes from two 4-5/8" strips stacked, right sides up.

I marked the acrylic template with the word "up" to remind myself which way to lay it on the fabric so all the swirls would point the same direction. Did you notice the rotary cutter? I found that a smaller 28 mm cutter followed the curves better than my usually-used 45 mm cutter.

Personally, I don't care to mark the 1/4" seam line slots in acrylic templates. When hand piecing, I prefer to sew with a 3/16" seam. To do that I make my own plastic template that's 3/16" smaller, on all sides, than the acrylic template. Then, on the back of the fabric shape, I trace the plastic template to mark the stitching line. It takes three different fabric markers to mark the fabric, depending on the fabric color: a mechanical pencil, or a Sewline Fabric Pencil, or a Clover White Ink Marker.

Also, to hold the fabric piece firmly while I'm drawing the line, I have fine-grit sandpaper under it. It's something like 000. 

For piecing I use Mettler 60/2 thread - white, for this entire project - and a size #9 straw needle. Then, wearing my homemade bottle cap ring pin cushion on the middle finger of my left hand (you can see a peep of it on the far left) and in it, a half-dozen applique pins for pinning the seam lines, I'm set to hand piece. Here goes. 
In my next blog post I'll show you pictures of what I'm making.


KaHolly said...

Great tips, very well explained. I love that little pin cushion. I just started using a wrist pin cushion and I'm wondering how I lived without one all these years! Can't wait to see what you are making. ~karen

Pokey said...

Thank you for the pictures, so many of us are visual learners. These look like fun prints and a fun pattern, Linda. Are you trying to make a hand piece-er out of me...?

Di said...

Perfectly gorgeous fabrics, Lynda - so happy! I use the bottle cap pin cushion you made me all the time when I'm hand piecing and have had so many favourable comments by people around the world as I've sewn on my travels. Ingenious :-)) I'm looking forward to comparing our respective progress on our new hand piecing projects - what fun!

Carla said...

Linda, I'm so impressed with your skills! This looks like a fun pattern shape and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post to see the project. Thanks for the nice tutorial! Today, I put the binding on my quilt and am 1/4 finished with the hand sewing. I decided to wait and try your binding tutorial when I have more time to concentrate on a new-to-me skill...maybe the next quilt!

Patty said...

I am going to write down your tips for starting to hand sew. I'd like to start a project and not have any pressure to finish it, so I have some thing to take along. Your colors are so pretty. I really am tired of all the dark days and need something bright to work on.

Ivory Spring said...

Linda, I am totally intrigued by your hand piecing write-up. Can't wait for more.

Teresa said...

Thanks for sharing how you do this. Does the 3/16 yield a bigger block? I will be watching to see how this comes together, looks so interesting.

Stitches said...

Thanks for the great pictures. As soon as I finish a couple more projects, I'm going to try hand-piecing again. I would like to comment on how beautiful your grandchildren cute. I have become one of your followers today..

Sue said...

Great Pix Linda, and I love those fabrics. Can't wait to see the next instalment!!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Looks very interesting, and I love the fabrics, Linda!

Micki said...

The fabrics are so nice, and you did a great job cutting them.

Carol said...

I enjoyed the tutorial and am looking forward to the next part.

Carrie P. said...

Great tips doing hand piecing. I have a quilt that I started that I hope to get out again this year.
Your block looks a little intimidating but I am sure it is pretty easy hand piecing.
Fun fabric. looks like jelly beans.


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