Another unfinished object (UFO) is ready for my longarm… I started His Royal Union Jack in 2014, when my husband and I thought we may be stationed in the UK for a bit. Unfortunately, when the opportunity fell through, the quilt pieces ended up back in the closet.

Between the stay-at-home orders and my promise to my husband to start working off some of my UFOs, this came out of the closet and onto my sewing table.

The pattern by Joyce Robinson (McCall’s Quilting – Jan/Feb 2014), is paper pieced. Personally, I think there are times when paper piecing is a must to get near perfect lines and this was one of them. Each block of the pattern had four sections (diagonal pieces) connected with rust and cream sashing. There were eighteen blocks in all to form a 66 inch square quilt.

A few tricks I have learned for paper piecing:

  • Use light weight paper so that it tears off easily when you are done.
  • Don’t tear the paper off until you finish sewing blocks together (even though it is tempting to do it sooner).
  • Use plastic bags or other containers to collect all of the pieces needed for each block. This method kept the three color variants from getting muddled when I made my blocks.
  • Set your cut pieces in piles organized by when you will sew them. This prevents grabbing the wrong piece at the wrong time.
  • When placing your first pieces together, use a light box to position them 1/4-inch from the sewing line. I don’t possess a light box, so I have used a well lit window on occasion. But my favorite method is setting the flashlight from my phone under my Sew Steady clear table extension. That helps me ensure the pieces are not off kilter.
  • Fold the pattern on the next sewing line and trim the fabric to 1/4-inch (Add a Quarter Rulers work well for this). Then, you can align your next piece with the cut edge of fabric rather then guessing where it should go. This minimizes time with your seam ripper!
  • Trim pieces to size each time you finish a section or a block. It will help keep your pieces square.

Once it is quilted and bound, it will be washed in cold water with a few color catchers. This quilt has the double whammy of having red fabric and batiks, both of which can bleed in when wet!

What UFO are you working on?

Happy Quilting!