Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How I freezer paper piece


Quilting Bebbs asked how I made my crossed canoe blocks with all those points and funny angles to get them to turn out so nice. This method is also wonderful if you have a lot of bias edges. So, I thought I would take you along with me as I made some more last night! This is long - but a favorite method of mine, so sit back and enjoy the ride....

First off - don't let the name Freezer Paper Piecing scare you off - especially if you HATE paper piecing. Because I HATE paper piecing, but I love this method. I use it when you have odd angles or shapes because it helps guide the fabric placement and cutting out of the pieces! And no guessing how much of the fabric should hang over! The main things I've used this method for is compass type blocks and funky prim type blocks such as:




But in this case it helped the crossed canoes tremendously. First I needed templates because of the odd angles and shapes, and lots of bias edges. Also because of the odd angles it is hard to guess how much the dog ears should hang off - so freezer paper piecing solves it all. Plus these blocks finish at 6" so they are fairly small, another plus to this method.

I start by putting as many of the templates as I need or can on a sheet of paper. In this case I need 4 template A's, 4 of B, 4 of C and 4 of D to make 1 block. I was able to fit all of them on one sheet. If you don't have a copy machine at home, you can trace these on freezer paper. But I get lazy, so I get them all one sheet of paper and then I have freezer paper I've bought pre-cut to the size of regular paper, I send it through the copy machine (printer)! Since I had to make multiple blocks I made 2 sets of templates. But these templates can be used over 3 or 4 times so you don't need multiples if you want to save on paper.

Next you need to cut your templates out on the line. I take my time and use a rotary cutter and ruler because I get nice straight lines. But you could use scissors as well. This is the longest part, but well worth the effort. Once you have the pieces cut out, you iron on the templates onto the back side of your fabric.


Now you cut out your pieces - adding 1/4" seam allowance as you cut. Put your ruler on the 1/4" line and rotary cut the pieces! For small angles don't worry if some of the point gets chopped off, your fine as long as you have at least 1/4" beyond the paper.


Now you get to sew! And here is the cool part. First visualize where the first pieces go together. You want the freezer paper to line up, not the edges of the fabric. I always lay the pieces out on my sewing table. Then you poke a pin on one corner of the freezer paper template from the wrong size of fabric A then into fabric B from the right side. Holding the back piece of fabric up to a light you can see the paper template shine through so you can find the corner on that piece. When you first start I would then put a pin in on the other corner to center the piece. When you get used to this method I cheat and only do one corner! The pins get stuck in only at the point, you don't really "pin" the fabric. The pin is only holding the pieces together at that one part.



Lay the piece down on the sewing machine and sew along the freezer paper edge (I use a smaller stitch length - about 1.5 to 2). I keep the pins in as long as they are not in the way. Oh and I find the pins work better to line things up when you push them all the way in up to the head of the pin. In the picture above you are looking at the back of the piece. Here is a row of little canoes, first seams sewn.

Then proceed to the next piece that needs to be sewn on. Do as described above.




Here is what you have now after all 4 templates are sewn together. Trim off the dog ears.


Then sew the miniblocks together to get the full block. Notice the freezer paper stays on until the very end. This helps the bias's from stretching. When your all done, peel the freezer paper off. You can reuse these freezer paper pieces again!


Every now and then you will hit the edge of the freezer paper when you sew. Just rip it off the stitch line and toss. I sew these with a smaller stitch length (around 1.5 to 2) and then the freezer paper tears off at these points easily.


32 comments from wonderful readers:

Kim said...

Nice lesson! It makes me want to give it a try. I like freezer paper applique, so I have plenty of freezer paper hanging around here. Now if I can only find some time . . . .

Leslie said...

Really good photo essay, thanks! It's similar to the FP method Judy Mathison uses for her Mariner's Compass. When I used that method my Compass laid flat! Always a good thing. :D

Libby said...

I love this technique - it's practically foolproof as evidenced by the fact that I can do it *s* You have spelled it out perfectly.

Su Bee said...

Great tutorial! I printed this one out to keep -- great job, Thanks!

pamina said...

What a wonderful technique !I have to try ! Thank you very much for sharing it with us !

atet said...

Thanks for the lesson. I've just started using freezer paper on other projects and am beginning to wonder how I ever managed not having it in my quilter's tool box. I will have to try this one!

anne bebbington said...

Dawn - you are a star - what a wonderfully explicit set of instructions - they look like they might even make a mariner's compass doable for me - thank you so much for taking the time out to do them :o)

kjquilts said...

What a great tutorial! Thanks! It makes me want to try some of those more complicated blocks now.

gwen said...

Thanks for sharing such a great tutorial. I use that method as well but for hand piecing and I find it very accurate. Take care.

Katie said...

What wonderful instructions and pictures. I must try this. Thanks.

Carol said...

I've done this method several times and love it...makes those funny pieces come out perfect. Your lesson was just wonderful. I've never tried running it through the printer...I'll have to try it. Thanks!

Tanya said...

Thanks. That was an interestin tutorial and I'm going to be sure to try it next time I have some point piecine to do. Great pictures of all the steps!

ForestJane said...

Wow, those look great.

I've enver tried that method, but I may now that I've seen your tutorial. :)

Joanne said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Maybe I'll be brave enough to try a mariner's compass some day! Key words there: line up the freezer paper. Makes me want to go try it out!

Deb Geyer said...

Excellent tutorial, Dawn! Thanks for sharing!

Owens Family Adventures said...

Heeeeeeey, neat!! I am so going to try that now!!
dawn

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Wonderful demo! You do beautiful work, I'll be stopping by your blog again soon. Thanks for passing on your valuable wisdom! Crossed Canoes is one of my favorite blocks, I love the positive/negative effect.

anne bebbington said...

Why would anyone want to do housework you ask - only as a damage limitation exercise to stop DH nagging when he gets home - and as he does lots to help he does have a point :o)

Darlene - Dazed Quilter said...

I detest paper piecing - my brain just won't work that way. LOL

Now, I like what I see in your terrific tutorial so I'll be back to read slowly. Thanks, Dawn!

Judy said...

Perfect technique Dawn! Great instructions!

Nines said...

Aren't you clever? I am going to have to try this one! I am so glad you like the brown and blue quilt- the pattern is in the "Coffee Time" book- it is full of great- and easy- patterns. Not that you need easy- wow! You do some really challenging blocks!

Wendy said...

Thanks for the tutorial, now I might be able to make those star blocks and other compass type of blocks. I was afraid to try them before. This is great lesson for me.

My camera is a Sony Cyber-Shot, not very expensive and it sure is small. I don't know how to operate yet but I can download the pictures which is most important.

Sandra said...

What a great tutorial! I have never seen this method of sewing before but it DOES give you wonderful pointy points :-)

KCQuilter said...

Wow, what an amazing tutorial! I think I get it now. Thanks for taking so much time to explain it so well!

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

That gives a fabulous result. Well done..and great photos. Happy Easter, Tracey

Tazzie said...

Wonderful tutorial Dawn, I love piecing with freezer paper, it's super fun!
*hugs*
Tazzie
:-)

Bethany said...

So glad I found your tutorial! I've been paper piecing a mariner's compass quilt I designed but the corner blocks would be so much easier this way. Especially are there are several set in seams.

Thank you!

Clevelandgirlie said...

Holy cow! What a great tutorial. I'm off to try this. You are a "star!"

paulette said...

Thanks for the tutorial!! I know this an old post but it is still getting read!! Wonderful! Keep them coming!
Paulette

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marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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Kerry said...

I have just linked to this on my blog as an explanation of paper piecing with freezer paper- great tutorial!