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Hints & Tips


Paper piecing is great for beginners as you can make a wonderful quilt on your very first try since patterns are broken down into easily managed steps. It is also great for more experienced quilters who want to try a complicated quilt design.

Sewing the fabric to paper makes matching points relatively easy and the paper stabilizes the fabric. Instead of templates with seam allowances in paper piecing you have lines and numbers. The lines indicate where to sew and the numbers indicate the sequence in which to sew. The only seam allowances that are shown are the ones that go around a block or a unit. Using the Add A Quarter ruler to get a perfect 1/4" seam allowance simplifies the paper piecing process and helps to save time.

How to Paper Piece With the Add A Quarter Ruler

1The lines and numbers are printed on the front of the pattern. This is the side to sew on.

The back of the pattern is the blank side. This is where the fabric will be placed.

Always make sure the piece of fabric you are using is at least ¼" larger all the way around the foundation pattern.

2Place fabric number 1 right side up on the blank side of the pattern.

Pin the piece to hold the fabric in place.

Clover Flower Head Pins are excellent for using in paper piecing as they have an extra long shaft and lay flat.

3Turn the foundation pattern over, look through the paper towards your light source or place pattern on white and make sure the fabric extends over the lines on each side by at least ¼".
4Place a piece of template plastic or an index card on the sewing line between piece number 1 and piece number 2.

Fold back the foundation pattern over the edge of the template plastic.

You will see the excess fabric from piece number 1.

5Place the Add-A-Quarter ruler up against the fold of the foundation paper with the lip side down.

Use the rotary cutter to trim the extra fabric from piece number 1.

You will now have a straight line to help you place fabric piece number 2.

6Next, place position number 2 fabric of the pattern on the trimmed edge of piece number 1 with the right sides facing each other.
7Turn the foundation paper over and stitch on the line between piece number 1 and piece number 2.

Sew a few stitches before the line begins and a few stitches after the line ends.

Make sure piece number 2 does not slip.

8Flip the paper over and open piece number 2.

Press using a dry iron.

9Fold the foundation paper back along the line between piece number 1 and piece number 3 using the template plastic or an index card if necessary.

Butt the ruler up against the paper and trim the excess fabric.

10Turn the foundation over and position fabric piece number 3, being careful not to displace your fabric. Sew on the line between number 1 and number 3.

Continue sewing each piece in place in the numeric order given until all the pieces are sewn in place and each unit is complete.

After all the pieces are sewn onto the foundation, you will be ready to trim the edges. Line up the ruler with the solid line on the foundation. You will need a ¼" seam allowance around the entire block. Never trim on the solid line! Trim off the excess fabric using your rotary cutter.

Thank you to Carolyn McCormick of CM Designs, the creator of the Add A Quarter ruler, who kindly gave us permission to use this tutorial.

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