Friday, April 25, 2014

Paper Piecing Party On the Road: Setting Up Your Paper Piecing Workspace

First things first, a massive thank you to the beautiful Kristy for letting me hijack her Paper Piecing Party for the week! And if you're visiting from Quiet Play, thanks for stopping by! Feel free to take a look around.

Kristy is one of my quilting besties, we're in the Wombat Stew paper piecing bee together, and we are real life quilting group friends too (yes, I know I'm lucky!). She's been to my house and knows how fussy I can be about my creative space, so when I asked if she was interested in sharing my paper piecing set up with her readers, she probably figured I'd have a very particular way of doing things... and I do!

I rarely paper piece away from home because I really am fastidious about how my paper piecing workspace is set up. I'm going to share my set up and process with you - maybe you'll get something out of it, and if you've never been super comfortable with paper piecing, this might help you set up your own space.

I consider paper piecing quite different to traditional piecing in terms of set up. When I'm traditional piecing I'll do a heap of cutting first, then sew, then press in a batch later on. Having everything close at hand isn't as critical.

But when I'm paper piecing I find myself cutting fabric, stitching, trimming and pressing with every seam.  (And yes, I know it's not mandatory to press with every single seam, but I like to. Fussy, is what your call it.) Cast your mind back to high school home ec, did you learn about the kitchen work triangle of stove-sink-fridge? Well, your paper piecing work triangle is pressing station, cutting station and sewing machine. I'm a creature of comfort, once I sit at my machine I don't want to move, so I have everything at hand.

Before I start, I gather my sewing materials. A small bin for teeny scraps, small rulers, a larger ruler for cutting down large pieces, a medium sized pair of sewing scissors, an unpicker (keeping it real!) and my regular and small rotary cutters. My baby rotary cutter is the one I bought when I first started quilting, sometimes it's easier to use than the regular 45mm one when you're making small cuts.

And from the regular stationery section, a pair of paper scissors to cut my paper pattern pieces, a pencil to write what colour fabric goes on each pattern section (I ALWAYS do this) and a white glue stick to stick that first piece in place.

My pressing station is to the left of my machine (I am left handed, so you might prefer to have yours to the right). I covered small TV table with batting and calico and it makes the perfect pressing station. Credit for this idea goes to Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!.

You can see how it sits right by my cutting table and I just have to spin my chair to press.

My cutting mat is to the left of my sewing machine so I can simply cut my fabrics and trim them up without moving.

Keeping it real moment... just in case you thought super fussy equates with neat, it doesn't!! Right now I'm piecing my Harry Potter quilt and it requires a huge variety of fabrics. All of which are right here on the cutting mat!!

My OTT Lite sits right behind me shining light on the machine. It's perfect for making sure your seam allowance is okay before you stitch. It is also near impossible to take a photo of this, but you get the idea!

I like to have my extension table on my machine for paper piecing. I figure that a larger flat surface to place your pieces on is better.

 And this is my Wombat Stew block for Ms Midge, who is our April queen. Midge has decided on a London theme for her blocks and Kristy has designed us a gorgeous collection.

Thanks for taking a little tour of my paper piecing space - now it's your turn to link up and share all your beautiful paper piecing goodness with me!

Quick refresher on what the deal is with the Paper Piecing Party (full details here):
* It’s on every weekend here at Quiet Play, starting Friday.
* Link up something you’re working on that’s foundation paper pieced
* Link a blog post or flickr photo
* Visit at least two other links and leave a comment because that’s half the fun!


  1. You know how much I adore your craft room - I think this is the perfect set up for paper piecing!! May need to make me one of those pressing tables!

  2. And I should add!! I totally think I'm super lucky to have you as one of my quilting besties! xx

  3. Thanks for sharing! I learned the hard way this week to write my fabrics on the papers. I think this will be something I ALWAYS do in the future too!

  4. Cool set-up! I'm continuously getting up and down from my chair when paper piecing ... good chocolate calorie burning :)

  5. I have the same set up as you, except my ironing table(covered in orange), is on the right. It works really well. Glad to be validated, I've only been paper piecing for a few months.

  6. Thanks for the tips Jane!! I am left handed too and I think we have to make make adjustments than righties:). Midges block turned out perfect!!!

  7. so fun to see your set-up :-) And I love the London blocks!

  8. Thanks for sharing. I love the tape measure on your cutting table.

  9. Love your block. Nice set-up. I definitely need my press board a little closer.
    Janeen@Quilt Art Designs

  10. Love your set up, I cant press sitting down, so Im up and down after every seam is finished hahahah, figure its a bit of a work out on the legs ;) You know what they say about us left handers ;) we are more creative as we use both sides of our brains, I will point out even though Im left handed do think Im more the exception to the rule hahahahahaha

  11. I am sooooo the polar opposite to you in terms of organisation! Hahahah! But whatever works I say! I love that phone booth! xxx

  12. Awesome paper piecing tips! I always write on my pattern pieces these day. Thanks for hosting!