Foundation Paper Piecing For The Terrified Button
Welcome to the final block in the series, and our introduction to picture blocks.  There are a number of truly fabulous paper piecers out there that make the most amazing picture style blocks, for instance the Cocorico bee girls, the Ringo Pie bee girls and the 318 Patchwork bee girls (some of whom are the same).  In fact a couple of the girls from these bees, Kerry and Penny, have a cunning plan up their sleeves all around a paper piecing blog.  Kerry teased us all about it here, and I expect she’ll share more soon (hint, hint!)
This is one of my own drawings, one of my first in fact, and as you’ll see, I use graph paper when making my patterns up (I find it easier than plain paper, don’t ask me why!).  Click here to download the pattern.  I have to say that if I were to draw it again now, I’d probably do it differently, but this will get you used to lots of wee pieces :o)
Can I just say now that if you haven’t paper pieced before, and haven’t done the previous blocks, PLEASE don’t try and leap in with this one.  Apart from anything else, as there’s so many photos, I’m assuming that you’ll understand what has been learned in previous weeks regarding lining up odd shaped pieces of fabric, and the basics of setting things up.  Having said that, if you have done the previous blocks, this is totally within your reach :o)
As usual, you will need a copy of the pattern for your base pieces, a copy for your cutting guide, and a copy to see how it all hangs together.  I have added in a ‘blow out’ of how the sections split up, but please don’t try and use these as pattern pieces to stitch on, as I had to do a bit of down and dirty editing to create it, and I can’t guarantee I haven’t lost an edge or two here and there!
Here are all my pieces cut up and ready to go.  As there are a large number of pieces, I have each cutting guide piece on top of its relevant fabric piece, and they are split by subsection.  You will also see they’re arranged as for the final rocket:

Please note that I’m only going to show you how I do one side of the rocket, but they are mirror images, so you should be able to understand how the other side will go.  Starting at the top right hand corner, take piece 1 and line it up:

Now grab piece 2, and line it up as well, remembering our old trick of lining it up in its finished position before flipping along the stitch line:


You will see in the above photo that I’ve pinned the pieces in place, but when I’m doing tiny pieces like this, I leave the pin in until I’ve dropped the needle and taken one stitch, then I slide it out and sew on.  Because I use my walking foot, I don’t need to worry about any of the bits wandering off if I do this:

Trim the seam allowance as usual, before pressing piece 2 into place:

Now trim down the seam allowance all the way round to 1/4″:

Taking the next section down, line up pieces 1 and 2, then pin, sew, trim and press as usual:

Add piece 3:

Then 4:

And finally 5.  You’ll see that for piece 5 it’s quite an angle that it gets lined up along, but you can always pin in place along the stitching line and flip it over to check just in case:

Trim down the outer seam allowances as before:

Now start on the next block down again:

Add piece 3:

Then 4:

Then 5:

And finally 6:

Then trim the seam allowances down:

You’ll see that the next section down is split in a different way, and I always work from the outside in, so this is the upper right hand corner of this section:

I just had to show you this one pre-trimmed – I don’t think I could have got it more perfectly aligned if I’d tried!

Now take the section just below the last one:

Press and trim as before, then move on to the next section in.  Please ignore the numbering on my pieces, I re-did this section for the pattern for this piece and the next after I started to cut my cutting guide pieces out when I found a rather glaring y-seam (which does not lend itself to foundation piecing)

Add the third piece:

Take the final section in, and line up the first 2 pieces:

Then the 3rd:

And finally the last:


This is what all your stitched sections will look like when you’re done.  Note that the bottom pieces are just single pieces of fabric:

We’re going to start by assembling that tricky middle section, so take the 2 centre pieces and pin together, matching the long edges, then take the 2 outer pieces and again match the two longest edges (I hope you can see the pin heads in the photos below).  Like in the Calico Grove block, you can see that my pins are at right angles to the seam rather than parallel.  Remember you are stitching right along the edge of the paper:

Stitch together, open up and press the seam to one side to give:

Now join the 2 sections on either side from the previous steps:

Stitch in place, then open up and press the seam allowance to one side:

Next we’re going to work our way down, row by row, to sew each half together:

You’ll see that the bottom row is too big since you used the cutting guide and a 1/2″ seam allowance, but don’t worry about that at the moment

Now assemble the rocket.  I suggest you pair the top two rows and the bottom two rows rather than adding a row at a time, because I’ve found it comes out more evenly that way:

You should now have:

Finally finish assembling the 2 halves of the rocket:

And lastly add that row of background at the bottom:

Press carefully in place:

Trim down that bottom row, then carefully remove all the paper.  Have fun with your rocket!

Don’t forget to add your finished blocks to the Flickr group, as next week there will be a showcase of all you’ve done :o)