Tuesday, June 30, 2009

English Paper Piecing By Machine

Today I received my copy of English Paper Piecing By Machine by Julie Higgins. I bought it from an Amazon.com I have no idea why this book is selling for up to $170.00! I was fortunate enough to buy a new copy for less than $10.00!

Anyway, given my new obsession with hexies, I could not wait to get this book. Like me, although this author liked to English paper piece by hand, she wondered if it could be done by machine. I really like the projects shown in this book and I went to work right away to see if I could do it. She happens to whipstitch the pieces together with right sides facing, just as you'd do it by hand, except she does it on her machine. I didn't like the way mine looked because with this method the thread was very visible. I tried it with monofilament thread but because I had to remove the piece from the machine after sewing each joining seam, the monofilament unraveled.

In the end, I decided to assemble the flowers my own way, which is not covered in the book, by butting the pieces together and sewing them flat with a narrow width (2.5 to 3.0) zig-zag stitch with a length of 1.4. I tried them with both right sides facing up and wrong sides facing up. I prefer to sew them with right sides facing up so that the monofilament is coming off of the spool and the regular cotton thread is in the bobbin. This produces the result in picture #4 and in the flower on the right-hand side in the examples below. The flowers on the left-hand side were assembled by hand, the traditional way.

The result was just satisfactory but I did enjoy the speed by which I could put a flower together (about 20 minutes). I will have to experiment more. I think the book is very inspirational and the projects are certainly do-able with this method.


Robyn said...

This is really great thanks!
this is why our blogroll is soooo good! Thanks again...very interesting!
I know a lot more women out here in Aust are doing applique this way too now.

Belanix said...

interesting. I am not very clear what happens to the papers. ¿Easy exit?

MikKnits said...

Once the piece is stabilized, the papers can be removed. I plan to applique the motifs onto a background fabric, cut around the applique on the back, and remove the papers. I'll then prepare to quilt as usual by layering backing, batting, and top. I'm not sure how I'll quilt. Perhaps some echo quilting?

Celine said...

Thanks for the book review and the description of how you did it. I think I will order the book from the US as it is far too expensive in the UK and thanks for the blogroll as well!
Celine in UK