Tuesday 8 December 2015

Paper Piecing on a Sunday

This past Sunday I got some actual solid sewing time in and I used it to tackle the Take Wing pattern from Lilly Ella. I have seen the pattern all over Instagram and I think it is so stunning. My goddaughter has a pink and grey butterfly-themed bedroom (she's two) and so I was determined to try to make her a butterfly as part of her Christmas present.

As with any time I get into paper piecing, I first reviewed the paper piecing instructions from Stitchery Dickory Dock on Craftsy. This helped me brush up on the techniques because I don't do it very often.

If you have never done it before, paper piecing is time consuming and very messy. During the process it looks like a very cool hot mess, as captured below:
One wing starts shaping up.

This is the body of the butterfly as the very beginning.
My favourite ruler to use during paper piecing is my 4" by 14" Omnigrid. I first used this size of ruler at my friend A's house and bought one the same month. When you are moving from one section to another, you begin by trimming to a 1/4" edge. It is very satisfying to cut away all these bits.
The trimming is satisfying but messy.
Here is a shot of a trimmed versus an untrimmed wing.
Trimmed on the right, untrimmed on the left. A hot mess turns into something you can actually recognize!
I got really excited when I got to this point because I could see the butterfly emerging.
Wings BD and Body ABC. The thing is, I had the more complicated wings still to do. I was determined to finish.
I had a very few issues, but right away in the last two wings I made a mistake on both wings (because I did the same section of each wing back to back to ensure symmetry) by not using a long enough piece of fabric. This involved some VERY delicate seam ripping, because it ripped the paper too which is NOT good in paper piecing.
Yikes. I had to tear our those pink triangles.
I thought the wings looked super cool as they came together. There are 27 pieces in each Wing for A and C and each precise triangle is quite small.
I alternated between pink and grey, mostly from scraps.
I was SO excited to get all the sections pieced but I was also nervous about putting it all together because of the points. The pattern comes with tips as to how to best attach the wings. 
The impact of a mismatched seam would be significant.
By the way, I mentioned that paper piecing is messy. Check out just a few of the piles of bits from around my sewing room:
Trimming and picking through the bits.

More rifling through bits.
I had really good success with my points, actually. I very carefully pinned and sewed. I was very happy with the results:
Point on either side of the "head" of the butterfly.

Nice precise matching on the edges of the wings too.
The satisfying but finicky part of paper piecing is removing all that darn paper. It takes a gentle touch to avoid distorting the seams.

Removing the paper.
The paper itself leaves a mess too. I need to do a good vacuuming in there.

Paper carnage.
And, finally, here is the end result!

I love it! I hope my goddaughter does too!

I think I am going to frame it, rather than make it into a pillow or a quilt. I think it will look really great in her bedroom...hopefully her mom agrees!

Now I need to tackle my daughter's modern I-Spy quilt for her second birthday which is in January. 

Hooray for the Take Wing pattern!


  1. I love it! It's going to make a beautiful gift.

  2. It's beautiful. I'm not a fan of paper piecing, but do like the results it produces.