Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jumbo Paper-Pieced Star Tutorial #2: Stitching

After I completed my diamond templates for my Jumbo Star quilt, I started stitching. When paper-piecing, you stitch along the lines drawn, and the fabric is on the other side. It often feels as though you're stitching blind because you can't see what your actually stitching.  Just a couple tips on paper piecing:
  • I've learned it's perfectly okay to waste fabric. I cut my pieces plenty large because it's such a huge pain to unpick when you flip the paper over and learn you were 1/2" short. 
  • I cut all my strips for this project 1" wider than the finished size drawn on the template. That gave me 1/4" seam allowance on both sides plus an extra 1/2" for wiggle room. I nearly always ended up cutting off 1/4" or so, but it was worth it to have the extra. For example, if my measurement on my template is for a 1 1/4" strip, I cut my strips at 2 1/4". 
  • When lining up the fabric, the raw edge should be at least 1/4" above the stitch line for the seam allowance.
  • Sew with a smaller stitch length. I use 1.6. 
  • Stitch an extra 1/4" past where your seam will end on the paper. 
  • The center diamond is the starting location for this project. Cut a diamond 1/2" larger than the one on the paper. Arrange it on the blank side of the paper and tack it in place with a little glue from a washable glue stick. 
  • Begin adding borders one at a time. I batched these, sewing the same border on all eight templates, then trimming and pressing all at the same time.
Here is how my template looks partway through piecing. Although you can't tell in the photo, I've stitched directly on top of my pencil lines.

When adding a new border, lay it on the finished side of the template. It should extend far enough past the previously stitched border to provide at least 1/4" seam allowance on either side. I like giving myself at least an extra inch.

Flip over and pin in place. Check the seam allowance by poking a pin through the paper in a couple places to see where your top raw edge is in relation to the seam line on the backside of the template. The top raw edge should be at least 1/4" above the pencil line on the template.

Stitch length of line. Stay-stitch at either end.

Fold paper out of the way along stitch line.

Flip over and trim excess fabric to reduce bulk. I prefer using an Add-A-Quarter ruler for this step. It has a slight ridge on it that keeps it from slipping while trimming. It works great for this step.

Press well with a hot, dry iron. Once each side of the border row is completed, move out to the next border.

I chose to make my borders scrappy with the exception of the solid yellow and solid blue. I also arranged the blue and yellow ovals in a pattern--yellow on the left and blue on the right side of the point. I used a fat quarter bundle for this project. Twelve fat quarters was just about right for the Notting Hill fabrics. I barely had enough length for my outer borders with the fat quarters, but it worked. Yardage would be needed if making a star from larger diamonds.

When my templates were finished, I carefully trimmed to the edge of the paper then removed the paper.

In a few weeks, I will post one more tutorial on putting it all together.


  1. Wow it's beautiful!! Is that Pat Bravo's fabric?? I think I have a little of the polka dots :-)

  2. That is so pretty, I love the colors.

  3. Gorgeous, Kati! I am using the same fabric for Elizabeth's Lucky Stars paper-pieced star QAL, and I couldn't be happier with the result.

  4. I love how this is turning out. I love your use of notting hill fabric in your star. Exceptional Job. I can't wait to see it all done

  5. I found your first post :-) It is amazing finished.

  6. I think I missed the post of putting it all together.. setting triangles and corner squares. It looks great.