Thursday, March 24, 2016

Making the Crystal Facets Block

For any VCQ members making the block lotto block, here's a tutorial Sue put together. It's specific to this particular block, but there might be some tips that help with paper piecing in general.  Hope you find it helpful!

Start by cutting your pieces; a quarter yard of each fabric is needed.  The background was cut as a long quarter (9 x 44); the jewel tone can be either a long quarter or a fat quarter.  From each fabric cut 4 pieces of these three sizes:  6 x 9, 6 x 2 1/2, 4 x 2 1/2.  (The 6 x 9 is actually larger than needed, 5 1/2 x 8 would be big enough to cover section 3.)  When you have everything cut, separate into 2 piles along with the corresponding paper pattern.  The pattern piece with the 1" test square gets the large & small jewel tone pieces and the 6" background strip.  The remaining pieces go with the other half of the square. (Step 1 below)  I found it helpful to make all 4 of the same section before moving to the second group.
Some basic rules of paper piecing:
  • fabric is place on the wrong side of the paper, wrong side of fabric against the paper (this will be the right side of the finished piece)
  • always sew on the lines on the printed side of the paper
  • hold the paper & fabric up to the light to check placement
  • when placing the first piece of fabric, use a glue stick to put a small amount of glue on the paper to hold the fabric in place until the first seam is sewn
  • use a smaller than normal stitch, about 1.5 cm, to make paper removal easier
In step 2 above, piece #1, the background is placed against the back of the paper with a bit of glue to hold it in place.
With piece 1 in place, fold and crease the paper along the stitching lines.  Then, fold the back along the crease to expose the fabric.  The add-a quarter ruler is a big help here.  Use it to trim a 1/4" beyond the folder paper.  If you don't have this ruler, any ruler will do if it is held securely in place. Flip the piece around and trim the other edge the same way.  Now you have 1/4" seam allowances for both stitching lines.
Step 5 shows placing the 4 x 2.5" piece right sides together on piece #1.  Notice how much it is offset so that after it is sewn, it will flip over and cover the point of the triangle.  Step 6 shows stitching it on the lined side of the paper.
After stitching, flip piece 2 over the seam allowance and press with a wooden iron.  Note that I have labeled the bottom edge of the paper as the straight grain.  This will be an outside edge of the square when 2 triangles are sewn together.
Step 8 is placing the large rectangle over section 3, right side up.  The challenge here was to establish the angle for the stitching line.  Also, there is a lot of waste with this piece, but it does make it easier to start with a rectangle that completely covers that section.
After placing the fabric on the back side of the paper, flip it over so the printed side is on top.  Then fold the paper and fabric pieces 1 & 2 back along the 1-to-3 stitching line.  The white background fabric already has the 1/4" seam allowance added, so trimming the dark fabric along this edge gives you the angle and seam allowance you need.
Trim along the white background edge.  Then unfold the corner of  the paper and carefully flip the whole thing to the back (fabric) side.
On the fabric side, flip the dark (purple) right sides together against the white matching the edges.  Turn it back to the paper side and stitch on the line.
Flip back to the fabric side again and finger press the purple piece.  Then its time to trim along the outside lines of the triangle.
Here's a completed triangle.  You will have 4 triangles like this, and 4 with the opposite color placement.
Sew 2 opposite halves together on the diagonal edge to form a square.   A few pins can help keep the seams matched while stitching.
Here's the front and back of the pressed block.  Press the seam open on the back and trim the dog ears that stick out on the corners.
After making the 4 squares that make up a 1/4 of the block, sew 2 together in the center.  Sew the other 2 for the bottom half of the block.
Finally, sew the 2 halves of the block together in the center.  Again, pins help keep your seams lined up.  If you have to un-stitch a seam, the paper will start to tear off the seam allowance (ask me how I know that?).  Press all the seams open on the back.
One thing Sue did when sewing the seams at the center of the block was to pull some of the paper seam allowance out before sewing.  That is the hardest part to get to when removing the paper, especially if its been stitched over a couple of times.  But the rest of the paper should stay in place; the lucky winner of the blocks will have the pleasure of removing the paper!

Hope you found this tutorial helpful!