A new technique using old scraps
I have a new favorite obsession in my sewing studio. Here's a hint - you can use small scraps and make intricate designs without worrying about distorting fabric. Can you guess what it is?
It's foundation paper piecing!
Paper piecing has been on my radar for a time now, but I was intimidated by all those small pieces and numbered paper patterns. Sew on paper? Then remove the paper? It seemed like extra steps compared to normal piecing.
But I was lured in by the stunning amount of detail you can achieve using paper piecing. And so, I decided it was time to learn a new technique and jump into paper piecing. I'm so glad I did!
To learn about foundation paper piecing, I checked out a few books from my local library and watched some tutorials on YouTube to learn the basics.
I had my eye on these Butterfly Charm Blocks for a while, and I knew I wanted to create my own versions of these cute butterflies. If you are just starting out, I would recommend a project with larger pieces in the beginning until you get the hang of paper piecing. These little blocks finish at 5.5" and can be used on their own or with a 5" square charm pack.
You can find full instructions and the pattern to make these gorgeous Butterfly Charm Blocks from Lilly Ella here.
The first step for me is the hardest--choosing scraps from my fabric stash! Choosing fabric from my scrap pile is a challenge because I love all my scraps! You only need about 4 to 5 fabrics for each butterfly. I had fun auditioning different scraps for each one. Paper piecing is a great way to use scraps, but be sure the piece you use is large enough to the cover the section you are working on with overlap for the next seam.
When you start to sew on your foundation paper, be sure to use a shorter stitch than you normally sew with, since this makes it easier to remove the paper at the end of the project.
Have patients with yourself! Sometimes it can be tricky getting the hand of it. I kept my seam ripper close for this project.
I found the best tip for joining sections that need to meet in a specific spot - baste the sections together first. You can check the placement after you baste it. It's much easier to unpick a basting stitch than a shorter stitch. And trust me, you will probably need to unpick that basting stitch a few times before the alignment is perfect!
A group of butterflies is officially called a kaleidoscope. How fun!
I used my three adorable butterflies to make a mini quilt. I pieced them with a solid navy background. It looks just like stained glass before it's quilted!
For the backing, Floral Haze from the collection Creative Cats was the perfect choice. The Stripe 1/8 Inch Demin binding is a great finishing touch. I used a walking foot on my machine to quilt straight lines around the butterflies. I absolutely love this mini!
I love the small bits of fabric, all spectacular on their own and even better together. I hope you are inspired to create a mini quilt of your own! Don't forget to use #butterflycharmblocks to share your creations.