Monday, January 1, 2024

Hive 2 January Tutorial - blue & white stripes

This month's block is a partial improv and easy paper piecing block.  Not all the blocks will look exactly like mine.  A few stripes will be the same and some strips will be different. I'm excited to see how the blocks all look together!  


*Solid White
*White-on-white (optional).  It's hard to take a picture of white-on-white, so let me know if have questions.  You can use the same fabric or multiple ones.
*Blues - the blues should all read blue, but anything from teal to navy are fine.  I'd prefer blues with only white/black/grey as their off color, but if your stash doesn't have that then blues with a small amount of rainbow colors is fine. Solids are great.  Batiks are fine. Please stay away from novelty fabric.  (We learned a few years ago that everyone has a different definition of novelty fabric.  Mine would be anything with a noun on it, with the exception of hearts, stars, leaves, and flowers.  Dots, swirls, and other patterns are also not novelty fabrics.)  I used different blues, but you can use the same blue more than once in a block or within your two blocks.

Foundation: Print out this template.  Make sure that you print it out "actual" size and that the final result is 7.5x7.5 from dotted line to dotted line.

If you haven't done foundation paper piecing (FPP) before, here is a brief introduction.  This is a really easy block, but some background and a video might still be helpful.

Cutting: When doing FPP, I like to cut everything a little big and trim later, so the sizes below don't have to be exact. Remember, for each piece you only need to choose one color - I'm giving different color options for some of the stripes so that all the blocks look a little different.

Piece 1: Blue - 1.75 x 11.5
Piece 2: Blue, White-on-White, or Solid White - 1.75 x 10.75
Piece 3: Solid White - 1.75 x 10.75
Piece 4: Solid White - 1.75 x 8.75
Piece 5: Blue, White-on-white, or Solid White - 1.75 x 8.75
Piece 6: Blue, White-on-white, or Solid White - 1.75 x 7.5
Piece 7: Blue or Solid White - 1.75 x 7.5
Piece 8: White-on-white or Solid White - 2.5 x 5.5
Piece 9: Blue, White-on-white, or Solid White - 2.5 x 5.5


First of all, if you're comfortable with FPP you can probably ignore most of my instructions.  I know there are multiple ways to paper piece and I don't care which way you use.

Please reduce the stitch size a bit to help when taking off the paper.  I have mixed feelings on how small to go, because I usually have to rip out at least one seam while paper piecing and small stiches are hard.  So I usually go smaller than normal but not as small as recommended.  I also usually crease my paper in advance so that 1) it's easier to remove later and 2) it is easier to move out of the way while trimming.

The first seam is the most annoying.  Start with placing Piece 1 on the back side of the paper so that the wrong side is touching the paper.  Make sure there is at least a quarter inch seam allowance on either side of the line.  I usually pin this first piece in place.  (I usually just hold it up in front of my computer screen to check, but since I'm taking pictures I pulled out the light box.)

paper on top, light box behind

fabric on top, fabric design is right side up

Put Piece 2 on top of Piece 1, right sides together.  (For the picture below, the seam is on the top-left.)

Sew the line between Pieces 1 and 2, making sure to sew the quarter inch around the finished block too, even though there is no line.  When I remember, I add a backstitch in that area to keep it more secure when removing the paper.  Open up the two pieces, make sure that Piece 2 covers the line between Piece 2 and Piece 4 well.  Iron.  

Trim the seam.  (This isn't always needed.)  To do so, fold the paper back.  If you accidently cut the paper, just tape everything back together.

Put Piece 3 on the edge of Piece 1.  Sew the line.  Open the piece, make sure that it covers the line between Piece 3 and Piece 5 well.  Iron.  Trim.

Continue to do the same thing for the rest of the pieces, in the order of piece number.  The main thing to keep in mind that really, you're trying to put new pieces about a quarter inch over the line.  Since the pieces we cut are bigger than needed, you won't always line up the edges of the pieces like you did at first.  The video suggests that you trim the bottom fabric before adding the top fabric.  This is a great idea, but I'm usually too lazy to do so.

In the end it should look something like this:

Second block: If you have time, please make a second block.

Finishing: If you have time, please trim the blocks, cutting on the dotted line.  Carefully remove the paper.  If you've hit the time limit, feel free to send the untrimmed block with the paper.  The paper can be folded as needed.

Finished fronts.  (Please do not sew them together.)

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