The tools I use – Piecing by hand

Handpiecing 1

This isn’t a “10 must have tools for your quilt room” kind of post, I use these things and they work for me; they may also work for you. Think of this as a “lessons learned” from years of trying to do a Dear Jane quilt, and the latest of my brilliant ideas, George III Coverlet.

So here are the tools I use for hand piecing.

Picture this… you have found this wonderful hand pieced block on the internet, and you don’t quite know what to do next. It tells you to make templates so that you are able to complete the block, if it was me… this is what I would need:

Templates: I have used both template plastic and card for the creation of templates. One of the challenges I have had with the George III Coverlet has been the templates themselves, the templates have  the seam allowance included; where I prefer to add that in myself. What I have started to do (and have been kicking myself that I didn’t think of it earlier) is to photocopy the templates onto card that I bought at a scrapbooking supply place, and then cutting them back to being actual size. I need the templates to be a bit more robust that just using photocopy paper so I am happy to pay the bit extra for the card.

Scissors: Paper (for cutting out the templates), a couple of pairs of different sized fabric scissors and then some for the thread. Try and use scissors that are comfortable to use because the last thing you want is to have some that are too heavy and result in you making a wrong cut somewhere (particularly important when cutting out micro-bits – as shown above)

Pens: When I go to the scrapbooking place to look for appropriate card, I also look at the pens. I like to use either a pigma pen or sometimes there are these ones with a bit of glitter in them. VERY useful if you can’t find something that will show up on a dark fabric… follow the sparkly road (as it was).

Fabric: You know what you like, and you can have some fun with fussy cutting when it comes to cutting things out by hand. Not saying that you can’t fussy cut by rotary cutter, but when you are literally drawing your sewing line, it can make things a bit easier to arrange.

Pins: Lots of them, long and fine where possible, forked where necessary. One of these days I may do a post which is actually a panegyric to pins.

Sandpaper Board

Other bits:

One of the latest additions to the collection is the sandpaper board (pictured above). Now I have used the same bit of sandpaper I bought at Bunnings (or some other hardware shop) back at the dawn of time when I started hand piecing and hand applique. I bought mine from the lovely Alison from the Cotton Factory via her Instagram feed. Why? When the bit of sandpaper was still doing its job… because I am worth it (and I could get my name on it).

I use silk thread. Controversial I know. I just find that it sits better than the cotton and I prefer to sew with it (by hand, machine is cotton all the way as is my hand quilting).

And this is yet another use for the Wonder Clip things from Clover. Holding the little bits together. Obviously.

Next time… how I organise my hand piecing projects, and perhaps even complete them.

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