Monday, August 18, 2014

Paper Piecing Without The Paper

I wanted to make this little star...

...the finished size being 4 inches.

To avoid frustration and to get the most accuracy with those spiky points, I figured paper piecing would be the way to go. Despite the fact that I dislike paper piecing - never really got the hang of it. But I was highly motivated, so I proceeded to try to figure it out. 

I would have to make my own paper pieces, which I tried one and it worked OK, but ripping off the paper distorted the fabric too much, and practically ripped the seams right out.

So I thought of a way to do it without the paper.

I decided, why not mark the lines directly on the fabric. First I spray starched the background fabric.

This takes about two seconds, with a hot iron.

I cut my background pieces 2 x 1 3/4" then figured out where the lines had to go.

I want the spikes to intersect 1/4" from the bottom, in the middle, so measured the 1/4" and put a dot where I want the intersection.

Can you see the dot?

Next I drew a line from each corner, through the intersection (dot) to the other side (bottom).

I cut the spike portions 1 3/4 x 3" then cut on the diagonal as shown.

(Pretend this is the green fabric, OK?)

Remember you have to do mirrors of these.

Here are all the parts, ready to go.

The placement and stitching is the same as you'd do for paper piecing.
I cut my spike pieces plenty big to cover.

Sew on the line, flip, press, and trim.

For some reason my "turn over and trim" pix refused to upload. Sorry.
Here it is trimmed, anyway. 

Repeat on the other side. Sorry some of my pictures did not cooperate, but I think you get the idea.

The corners were cut 1 3/4" square, and the center was cut 2 1/2" square for this block.

You can adapt this method to your own block in a different size. Draft it out first on graph paper, and add your seam allowances. 

note:  I mainly make these tutorials for myself. Once I figure something out, I like to make a record of how I did it so I don't have to figure it out all over again the next time! And what better place to store them, but on my blog. 

I hope sharing might benefit others as well.

ps please let me know if something is wrong, or makes no sense!



  1. I love it!! Thanks so much for sharing your technique!! Looks like fun...and so pretty!

  2. Hey sandy. Great tutorial and technique. You did not mention why you needed such a small block?! Cheers cw

  3. Hello, thank you for the tutorial!

  4. Great idea, thanks for sharing it.