Monday, November 2, 2009

Adventures in Paper Piecing (also an Ode to Pressing)

My mother has been doing paper piecing (or 'foundation piecing') for years, and has developed quite a skill for it. She's done fabulous Christmas wall hangings with bright cardinals, precise star bursts, quilt blocks, and probably a zillion other wonderful things. And she makes it looks very, very easy.

When my mother finally bought herself a new sewing machine, I inherited her old Kenmore. It's a clunky piece of machinery that I have always mistrusted, but I was very excited to have a sewing machine of my own. One of the first things I wanted to try was some paper piecing, as it seemed a fun ticket to instant gratification. My efforts were not as successful as I might have liked:

(I intended to have a photo here, but apparently I kept none of my early piecing work - in theory, a testament to its crappiness)

I tried a few more times with similar results. I quickly got frustrated and moved on to other things.

Since moving and getting my sewing corner set up, I've decided to give the technique another shot - and do it right this time. I spent more time on colour consideration (not my strong point) and set the ironing board up in the most convenient spot for quick and easy access from the sewing machine (or 'directly in G's way'), pledging to press my little heart out.

I've found that it's easy to forget about pressing, or to ignore the ironing board - or to just be plain lazy about it. Pressing after every line of stitches seems far too daunting - surely it doesn't make that much difference? Right? Right?! Turns out, diligent pressing makes an enormous difference. It makes things easier, and turn out so much nicer and cleaner looking - and did I mention easier? Who knew?! Ok, everyone who's ever tried to teach me anything about sewing knew it - but now I believe it!

Also, turns out I like piecing after all, and am not so bad at it as first suspected.

I know, it's not great - but I think it's pretty darn good for my first attempt in awhile, and I'm pleased with it. So pleased, in fact, that I've already moved on to something much more ambitious:

This will be a ship, which will then be turned into a 'ocean view window' for my cubicle. In theory. The piecing went very well, thankyouverymuch, and I am pleased with my colour choices. But the assembly is offering up a whole new set of challenges. But more about that next time.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck - better than mine have turned out!