Learning How to Make a Paper Piecing Pattern

When I first tried paper piecing (also called foundation piecing) several years ago, I wasn’t a fan. I would do one or two every so often, but just didn’t really enjoy the process. But then I started doing more paper piecing projects and I learned better techniques. I eventually saw the beauty in the technique and sought out more patterns.

These quilts were paper pieced. The Zoo Family Portrait quilt was by far the biggest and most detailed paper piecing quilt I’ve made.

Then I thought – hey, I can make those patterns. I have so many ideas for great blocks and quilts. So, I read up on making patterns and tried it out on my EQ8 program, which I really don’t know how to use to its potential. I didn’t get anywhere. But, where there’s a will there’s a way.

I learned about a program that can make paper piecing patterns, but it only works on Windows computers. I’m a Mac gal. I know I can download a program that allows me to run Windows apps, but I didn’t want it that badly.

Finally I learned about Dana Jones and her two-session online paper piecing technique class. I went to sign up and I missed the cut-off for the May class by one person! Just before me, someone else signed up. The June class was just open, so I registered for that. Luck would have it that one May student couldn’t make it, so we swapped and yesterday, I did the first class.

What a great class it was. I’m really looking forward to next week’s. Dana covered the basics of designing a pattern, what works and what doesn’t. She had us do a few exercises and then gave us a home work assignment. We were to design a block and if we had time, make it.

Challenge on! This was my design. Yes, I could have picked something easier, but I figured why take a class and stick with easy?

This was my pattern:

I would have to divide it into two parts and then sew the two together. The goal was to have a 7.5 inch block when I was done.

And here it is!

It’s not the prettiest or best made quilt block, but I was focusing on learning how to do it rather than making it pretty. I’ll be more careful with the next one.

If you’ve been wondering how to make a paper piecing pattern, I suggest you check out Dana’s workshop. I don’t get anything for recommending it – I just like sharing good things when I find them.

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