Thursday, 1 November 2012

Adventures of a paper-piecing novice

My heartfelt thanks to everyone for your thoughtful and supportive messages on my last post. Olivia continues in pure, unbroken, glorious good health and happiness. I am touched that so many of you sensed and shared my palpable relief and wonder that she is again well. I am still breathing in the peace and relief ... in enormous, deep gulps!

And so, this week I picked up needle and thread again, to revisit my Little Hexagon Purse. This is my first serious attempt at paper piecing, and I thought I'd pass on some things I've learned.

The finished hexies have 1/2" sides - I know, what was I thinking?! For the majority of fabrics, I trace around an acrylic template with a pencil and cut out the hexagon with scissors.

For fabrics pleading to be fussy cut, I made a 'window' template from light cardboard, and use this for tracing the shape onto the fabric.

I am using Sue Daley's method to temporarily glue the fabric hexagons to purchased hexagon papers. When I'm feeling diligent, I use a Sewline glue pen specifically developed for fabric. When I can't find the Sewline, I just use an ordinary old glue stick. Both achieve the same end.

After experimenting with various threads, silk and cotton of different weights and colours, I have settled with using this Aurifil 50 weight in a neutral beige (#2314). The colour blends sufficiently across the fabrics I'm using, and the thread is fine enough to sink nicely into the seams.

After stitching the hexies together, the papers are supposed to 'pop' out quickly and easily from the back of the work. I have obviously been too heavy-handed with the glue as there's no way my papers are 'popping' anywhere! I solved this dilemma by moistening the seams (on the back of the panel) using a small, soft paintbrush dipped in water. This diluted/softened the glue enough that I could quickly remove the papers. 

This purse is for my eldest daughter. It was supposed to be finished for a School Ball a week ago. Knowing full well that I was not going to get all those teeny tiny hexies pieced in time, I offered to make up a quick, 'one fabric only' substitute. 

This offer was duly accepted by said 17-year-old on the proviso that the 'real' hexie purse be completed by Christmas :) Deal!
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