I love to paper piece. For those of you who aren't quilters, paper piecing or foundation piecing as it's also called, is a technique whereby you stitch fabric to a paper foundation to create intricate geometric or representational designs. The technique offers a level of precision and detail that simply isn't available in traditional patchwork, and there endless ways to apply it.
I learned to paper piece on geometric designs but quickly progressed to representational work. I still enjoy traditional patchwork and that's largely what I've done over the years, but I've been looking for more representational paper piecing designs to use in the accessories and small items I've been sewing lately. There are a ton of patterns available online but my paper piecing prayers were answered with Playful Little Paper-Pieced Projects.
This book includes dozens of patterns for blocks, accessories, small items and more; the book starts with a series of 12 calendar-type blocks- month by month designs, then modifies and incorporates them into a variety of items for the home. So for example, the umbrella pattern shown on the cover is used as the basis for a block and then for a tote bag.
Lately I've been into making 12-inch pillows, some to keep and some for gifts. I decided to try out the February pattern, a love letter and rose, and then decided to use it in one of those 12 inch pillows. Here's the result:
I was able to use scraps on hand- I needed about a fat quarter for the background (although I still had a big chunk of it left) and less than that for the letter.
The book comes with a CD with all the patterns on it, but- and this is my only problem with the book- the patterns don't include seam allowances around each piece, so as you're cutting and sewing you need to remember to leave enough fabric around the edges. Playful Little Paper-Pieced Projects is not a book for the absolute beginner but if you have some experience with paper piecing you should be fine. I consider myself an intermediate paper-piecer and I found that this pillow project was enough to keep me on my toes but nothing I couldn't handle.
But now I want to make everything in this book, because the patterns and projects are some of the funnest and cutest I've seen. What's also fun is that each project is written by a different artist, many of whom have blogs and websites and Etsy shops, if you're interested in checking out more patterns. How fun is that? I strongly recommend this book to all sewers! You can make quilts and you can make all kinds of fun stuff.