I recently updated my About page and mentioned that there won’t be tutorials on this blog. I don’t plan to make tutorials a regular thing, but since I’m Queen Bee during June in the Stash Bee, I was required to at least photograph my sewing steps for the block I selected. I spent enough time on it over on the Stash Bee blog that I thought I’d go ahead and include it here.
This isn’t a complete tutorial. I tried out templates from two other sites, and you’ll need to click through to either of them to get one of their templates. I also don’t explain all of the details of paper piecing, but if you’re just getting started, some of my pictures might be helpful. This is a great first block for new paper piecers.
Rita @ Red Pepper Quilts has a lovely economy block tutorial, and while her tutorial is for piecing without paper, she includes a useful paper piecing template. There’s another one here on Generations Quilt Patterns (GQP). I used the GQP template for this tutorial because I didn’t want to cut the first butterfly down to 3″. I wanted a larger center. At the end of the tutorial, you can see another block I made with Rita’s slightly smaller template. The GQP template has seam allowances marked so it might be just a little easier to try if you’re new to paper piecing.
Here’s my fabric and my template. I decided to feature some butterflies from Anna Maria Horner’s Loulouthi collection.
Cut your squares and then triangles according to the template you decided to use. Rita’s slightly smaller template calls for a 3″ center square, two 3″ squares for the first triangles, and two 4″ squares for the final, outside triangles. The GQP template asks that you have a center square that is 3.5″, two 3 1/2″ squares, and two 4 3/8″ squares (I used 4 1/2″ for the last round because it was quicker to measure that. I just had a little more to trim).
Trim your paper template to the outside line of the block. That outside line is the quarter inch seam allowance. The inside line marks the edge of your finished block. If you’re used to paper piecing, you might automatically leave a quarter inch of fabric around your block, but if you’re new, having this extra paper may be helpful. I hold my paper up to the light to position the center square at the center of the block on the back or the blank side of the template.
I use a little bit of glue stick to secure my first piece to the blank side of the paper. DON’T SUBSTITUTE ANOTHER KIND OF GLUE. I’ve done that. Even if you use something that you think is a mild glue, it isn’t pretty when you eventually have to tear the paper off. Stay with a glue stick if you use anything at all.
You’ll place a little glue on the paper and press the wrong side of your fabric to the blank side of the paper. You’ll eventually sew with the blank side down and the printed side up.
You’ll sew your first two triangles on one at a time. Be sure to place the right side of the triangle fabric against the right side of the square fabric. You’ll use your fingers to hold the triangle fabric in place, turn everything over, and sew along the printed line on the other side. The second triangle will be on the opposite side of the triangle.
Press the triangles open.
Continue with the other two triangles.
You have the option of folding back the paper to trip the dog ears here, or you can wait to trim those when you sew the next round of triangles.
Follow the same steps again and sew your first two triangles on opposite sides of the new square.
If you didn’t trim your dog ears before, be sure to do it now. I did trim them, but I had a little excess still that I trimmed again by measuring a quarter inch from my stitched seam and trimming.
Sew your last two triangles.
Trim dog ears and any excess from the first round (the dark pink hatch fabric in this picture).
Press your last round of triangles, turn the block over, and trim the fabric to the paper. You can see that the template is sized so you have a protected quarter inch around your block. (Don’t nick your paper like I did in your earlier trimming steps. Make sure your paper is folded all the way back so you don’t cut it with your rotary cutter).
Voila! You’re done.