Pattern Writing Series – Paper Piecing

Violin Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Before I start talking about anything else, I want to thank everyone for linking up on Wandering Camera and leaving such wonderful comments.  It was a great start to the monthly linky party and I really appreciate it.

As you know, I love making pictures into quilts.  The design ideas come from all aspects of my life.  For example, I started making the music instruments patterns with this violin because I play the violin.

When I started in 2012, I didn’t know a thing about quilting.  I had seen pictorial blocks made using foundation/paper piecing and I really wanted to make them.  I was addicted and I became a paper piecing designer.



When Cheryl started the Pattern Writing Series at Meadow Mist Designs, I was going to write a few lines about paper piecing as part of the weekly round table discussion.  As I started writing I found out that there are quite a few reasons why I prefer paper piecing over regular piecing.   Cheryl and I thought it would be great to write a post about it with a few examples.


First and foremost, PP gives me the freedom of turning any picture I wish to make into a quilt block. A lot of the times, I don’t see the designs I really want depicted in fabrics. I can make my custom “fabrics”, if you will, using this technique.

Raindrops On Flowers is the first set of stained-glass-inspired designs I made depicting the flowers of the United Kingdom.


Squares Plus Quilt Pattern | Whims And FanciesI am not the world’s most patient person when it comes to repetitive processes.  I simply lose patience when I have to repeatedly cut all the pieces ahead of time. I want to get to sewing as fast as I can.  If you are like me, you might also find PP advantageous.

Although I included the instructions for both regular AND paper piecing in my new pattern Squares Plus, you can be sure that I will be using the PP method for my quilt.


Nordic Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Cutting all the pieces ahead of time seems very daunting to me. If I repeat a mistake while cutting my fabrics, then I have wasted a lot of fabric and I have to repeat the process. With PP I can cut and sew as I go. If I make a mistake, then I have wasted only a little.

I added a lot of colour variations in my Twilight Star quilt layout.  The fabrics I picked for this quilt are out of production, so I rather make the blocks one at a time to avoid repeating cutting mistakes.


Purple Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

On a side note, I hear a lot of times that PP wastes a lot of fabric. With time and practice, you can actually minimize waste down to just trims. If I am going to make multiple blocks from a pattern, I usually print an extra copy of the pattern. I cut the pieces out and use them as templates to cut my fabric.  That is how I made this quilt.


Flying Geese And Star Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

It is easier to sew complex patterns by converting them to PP patterns. Following numbers and letters is very much like painting by numbers.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to define shapes with minimum amount of seam alignment to make it easier to sew for myself or anyone else making the block.

It was fun to design the star block with flying geese on this Geese Around The Sun wall hanging.


Camera Quilt Pattern | Whims and Fancies

I like PP over appliqué because there are no raw edges with PP. I also don’t have to pseudo-FMQ to sew the appliqué pieces. Straight line sewing is all I need.

This travel bag gets roughed up quite a lot and goes though a lot of washing, so raw edges was not an option.  Even though I have another pattern that uses an appliqué lens, I used the PP version for my bag.


Greek Letters Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

Curves are quite easy to replicate with PP even though they are made of straight lines.  All the script letters in my To Hellenikon quilt are made using paper piecing.


Pinwheel Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

This last one is a big one for me. With PP I can get crisp and perfect corners and lines every time. You don’t have to be efficient with scant quarter inch seam. If you can sew on the line, you will get a perfect block every time.

My HST-s always come up a little smaller than the correct size.  In my new WIP I chose to use PP on this simple block because I didn’t want to worry about scant quarter inch seam every time to get the right size.


There you have it!  Paper piecing is how and why I started quilting and it will always be my first preference.  There are limitless possibilities with paper piecing and I really cherish it.

Many Thanks to Cheryl for including me in the Pattern Writing Series and letting me write this post.  I enjoyed sharing this with you. Please visit Meadow Mist Designs for more insight into pattern writing, Cheryl is doing a wonderful job with it.

Happy Quilting,

25 thoughts on “Pattern Writing Series – Paper Piecing

  • Kim Sharman February 19, 2016 at 00:19

    I am always in awe of your paper piecing, Soma. I am in awe of your talent as a designer and your beautiful finished quilts that you stitch. It is difficult to choose a favourite as each one is astonishing in it’s own way.

  • JanineMarie February 17, 2016 at 13:29

    I found myself nodding “Yes” the whole time I was reading. I especially agree that paper piecing HSTs makes them so crispy. Your designs are amazingly detailed, but they make so much sense for keeping the piecing doable. Thanks for sharing your designs with the rest of us so we can make amazing PP projects, too!

  • Gayle Fahrion February 17, 2016 at 08:11

    I love a project that slips into a repetitive rhythm but I do like to mix it up with PP, improv and projects that need to be sewn from a layout piece by piece. I do want to up my PP game and I am going to need to scour your blog for tips. I designed a block based on one of our local I.M. Pei projects. It was a success and I’d like to do more. Thanks for sharing. I am enjoying this series.

  • Ruth February 16, 2016 at 09:22

    I first saw your designs on the Doctor Who a long and have been a big fan ever since! I’m still at the cut bigger than you need stage with paper piecing!

  • susie February 15, 2016 at 13:35

    I think you were born to be a pattern designer, Soma!! Your patterns are rich in details and accuracy. And I really adore your Tabby Cat and all of your instrument patterns!
    Congratulations for being in this series!!

  • Ruthie Quilts February 14, 2016 at 16:29

    You have amazed me with you ability to pick up paper piecing right from the get-go Soma!!! You know I’m a big fan! XOXO

  • jayne February 14, 2016 at 07:15

    I love all you PP work! Lately I have been doing more and more of it. I love the crisp edges, perfect points and the challenge of it is always exciting! I have wanted to learn the art of making my own PP patterns, maybe thats next! Thank you for sharing!

  • Wendy February 13, 2016 at 20:58

    Your patterns always look amazing, and so complex. Love the violin! I’ve only tried paper piecing on a very small scale this past winter, but I did enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your views.

  • Cynthia February 13, 2016 at 14:48

    I have only recently started paper piecing but it is a technique I want to explore further with a couple of projects lined up. What you post on your blog is very inspiring to me.

  • Lara B. February 13, 2016 at 12:58

    Your patterns always amaze me Soma! They have such realism! Your violin and camera Wow me every time I see them. Actually, I love all your patterns!
    It’s so true what you said and I feel the same way about cutting out all my fabrics before sewing. I will actually look at a pattern and break it down in steps so i only cut out what I need for each block sequence. Paper piecing is often the way I chose to make even regular blocks too, because it insures accuracy.

  • FVITH February 12, 2016 at 18:02

    Thanks for sharing. I have a quilt top that I love the look of, but it is all wobbly due to my lack of cutting and sewing skills. I wish now that I had paper pieced it so that it was all nice and crisp, and accurate and flat.

  • Lisa February 12, 2016 at 17:21

    i’ve done small amounts of paper piecing but I can see that you do get spectacular results with your paper piecing.

  • Cheryl February 12, 2016 at 17:09

    Great post, I loved seeing your paper pieced patterns again, you are an amazing designer! Thanks again for being part of the pattern writing series!

  • Kathleen February 12, 2016 at 17:05

    You know I love your work! :)

  • Anne February 12, 2016 at 13:58

    Your paper piecing is stunning so I can see why you like it so much. It’s a great fit for creating complex images like your instruments.Thanks for sharing your reasoning behind the process.

  • Amanda February 12, 2016 at 10:58

    Lovely post. I paper pieced one of your Viking penguins. It turned out very cute!

  • Connie February 12, 2016 at 08:43

    Great post Soma and your patterns are always beautiful and well done. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Mary February 12, 2016 at 07:55

    Paper piecing is one of my favorite techniques as well – for the same reasons you have listed. I love the accuracy and seeing how they grow to become that perfect piece. Your paper pieced projects are just beautiful,,,,and so perfect.

  • Heulwen February 12, 2016 at 07:03

    Oh gosh, I remember admiring your Greek letters some time ago! They’re fab! :) I only just started playing with paper piecing myself, but I couldn’t resist designing my own block and I was so thrilled when it came out as I wanted it to. It’s such fun, I know I’ll be doing more of it. :)

  • Patty February 12, 2016 at 06:44

    What a great post. Your patterns are so good. I like paper piecing alot. I need to learn how to make a pp pattern!

  • silvana February 12, 2016 at 06:38

    Dear Soma! It is delicious to read your posts, and especially this one!
    I could say that your words could be mines!!! :))
    You explained clearely all the reasons that I prefer PP, too!
    And I need to add: You are one of the most talented PP designer I ever known!!!
    Hugs from your brazilian friend!!!

  • krislovesfabric February 12, 2016 at 06:33

    Such a beautiful post :) I have enjoyed seeing this series and the peek within the designer’s process. Your quilts and designs are always beautiful and I like the way you play with the shading, the shadows and the light. Makes me wonder if it might be fun to play with your squares plus and a transparency effect with some of the squares “tucked under” the cross in a more muted tone…oh I wish there were more hours in the day to play!!

  • Paige February 12, 2016 at 05:59

    The accuracy and, like you say, the crisp and perfect corners are the reason enough to paper piece. Thank you for sharing your process!

  • Jeneta@Plum Jam February 12, 2016 at 05:32

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post Soma. You are such a talent!

  • mdm samm February 12, 2016 at 04:37

    I always love where your creativity leads you….your paper piecing for me has always been the best around…your musical instruments have always been a highlight

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