Thursday, May 10, 2012

Trajectory: Piecing the Blocks

This is third post in a series about the Trajectory Quilt. See previous posts here and here.

Are you ready for some paper-piecing? Great! Let's get started!

Before we begin sewing, let's set up our fabrics. Since we need two strips for each boomerang, I like to split the strips into two sets so that I don't accidentally use up more of one color than I should, leaving half a boomerang without a mate. This will also be helpful if you choose to chain piece, which is how I like to assemble these blocks.

As you will see, there are a number of steps to paper-piecing this way. I'll show all the steps for piecing one block but you'll save a LOT of time by chain piecing. There are lots of pictures to help those of you who are brand new to paper-piecing.

First, take one of your background squares and one of your paper templates. Place the template (right side up) on top of the fabric (wrong side up), lining up the edges. This is the only time you will have two wrong sides facing each other (wrong side of fabric to wrong side of template).

I like to pin the paper to the fabric so that things don't get too shifty.

Take one of your boomerang strips and place it under the background square (right sides together). You want to line it up so that the seam allowance of the boomerang strip is lined up about 1/4" beyond the line drawn on your template (see below).

If you are using newsprint or an old phone book, the paper is thin enough to leave your machine's stitch settings at their usual place. If you are using copy paper, you'll probably want to reduce your stitch length to make it easier to tear the paper off later.

Stitch along the line drawn on your template, stopping at the end of the line. I like to do one or two backstitches as I start and stop just so that the stitching stays secure later when it's time to tear the paper off.

With the template facing up, fold the paper back over the line you just stitched.

Trim 1/4" away from the fold. To do this step, I like to use an Add-a-Quarter ruler. But you can use any quilting ruler you like.

This is what you should have after trimming away the excess:

If you flip it over to the fabric side, it should look like this:

Fold the boomerang fabric out to cover the paper template and press. The boomerang fabric should cover the corner of the paper template completely.

Take your second boomerang fabric strip and place it under your block, right sides facing, just like before. Again,you want to line it up so that the seam allowance of the boomerang strip is lined up about 1/4" beyond the line drawn on your template (see below).

Sew from the edge of the block and along the line drawn on your template. I just eyeball the first part where there isn't a drawn line but if that makes you nervous you could draw the line to fill that gap, or....

You can pull out a length of your top thread and stretch it to line up with the drawn line to make sure that your needle is properly lined up before stitching (see below). Neat trick, huh? Adapted that from my previous life as a stage carpenter when we would often extend straight edges with a chalk line...but I digress...

This next part will feel very familiar! With your block fabric side down, fold back the template paper along the line you just stitched.

Line up your ruler with the 1/4" line along the fold and trim the excess fabric.

This is what things should look like:

Turn block fabric side up.

Fold fabric over to cover the corner of the paper template completely and press.

The back of your block (template side) should look like this:

Trim along the edges of your paper template to bring your block to 6.5" square. Then tear off paper.

After tearing off the paper, you should see something like this:

Flip it over and give it a good press. Then pat yourself on the back and give yourself a high-five because you just completed a paper-pieced block!

And once you've made a few of them, you can start playing!

Okay, just to recap:
The assembly system is stitch, trim, press.
DO NOT stitch, press, then trim or you will use bad words and have to start over.

As I mentioned before, I stitch all of my first boomerang pieces, then trim them all, then press them all before moving on to the second boomerang piece for each block. It makes things go much faster since you aren't always having to move from sewing to trimming to pressing, which in my sewing space would give me quite a workout.

Most of all - have fun!

Up next: Assembling the quilt top.


  1. This is gonna be so pretty!

  2. Great job with your tutorial!! Really easy to follow... I'm really excited to get started on this part!!!

  3. I love this quilt and will make something using this pattern as soon as I can! A-W-E-S-O-M-E !

  4. i always end up pressing then forgetting to trim and stitching the next piece on. grr. this block looks awesome, i will have to try this quilt out soon!

  5. I love this! But I can't seem to find where you tell us what size to cut the boomerang pieces {yellows} before we sew them on.


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