achievement unlocked: “paper-pieced home” blocks, part two

i’m definitely getting faster with my paper-piecing. here are five more blocks i’ve made.


i posted this photo last week when i wrote about how i paper-piece. i made some effort to pattern-match the white-on-red circles across seams, with mixed results. i think i did okay. obviously it could be a lot more precise. i have since refined my technique a bit to get better results. i leave my paper pattern guide on the fabric i am piecing until i’ve glued down the seam, which enables me to match edges a lot more carefully. pattern-matching is hard because even if i technically have the fabric trimmed to the correct size & angle, if it shifts up or down even 1/16″ of an inch when i sew my first seam, it throws off the entire rest of the block. but you know, that’s all part of the challenge (& hence, the fun!).


fruit bowl! this one took FOREVER. i also ran out of fabric gluestick just as i was settling in to cut fabric. i wound up going to the grocery store & picking up a couple of three-packs of disappearing purple elmer’s gluestick & you know what? i actually like it WAY better than the expensive fabric gluestick. it’s considerably cheaper, it doesn’t dry out as quickly, the purple means i can see exactly where i’m applying it & make sure it’s only going where i want it, & it’s a little less sticky, so peeling the fabric off after the block is sewn is way easier.

this block is twenty sections, & several sections have numerous pieces. i don’t even know how many little bits of fabric this used. maybe around 75? ultimately, it turned out well. the yellow banana pops against the purple background & i think the pear is adorable. but just sewing the different sections together after everything was pieced literally took almost three hours.


i’m all done with the kitchen blocks & have moved into “things to wear”. first up is this retro swimsuit. this is a pretty large block (the first one that was two pieces of paper taped together–& yes, i did melt the tape with my iron, whoops). since it was large, i could use a larger print. i had a little scrap of this joel dewberry aviary print left over from the amy butler poof i made last year–perfect for the swimsuit top. i coordinated it with a wood grain print for the bottoms & used pink mini pearl bracelets for the accents. i thought about using off-white instead, because i was worried that a pink print would be too busy (no solids in this block), but i took a chance & i think it paid off. the mini pearl bracelets have enough solid to tie the top & bottom together, & the crosshatch background is so delicate that the main design really pops.


i LOVE how this sleeveless dress block came out! it’s a small-ish block, but i thought the scale of the strawberry print would still work okay as the main fabric for the dress. i picked up the darker pink from the accent berries in the belt & collar & used red for the belt buckle because it contrasted well with the blue, & because i love red & pink together. i had a hard time settling on a background fabric. my initial instinct was to go with yellow, but all my yellow prints were a little too mustard-y & i didn’t want to use a solid. this pink coordinates perfectly with the lighter pink in the accent berries & actually scales really well with the blue fabric, even though both are smaller prints. i’m surprised & pleased by how these fabrics play together.


i wasn’t super-excited about this t-shirt block. i thought the sample used in the book was a little blah.


see what i mean? the t-shirt color is a little dingy, & i don’t love the purple & that orange-y background together. plus, you know, t-shirts are just not as thrilling as sleeveless dresses & retro swimsuits.

none of the fabrics i was considering for the accent strip worked scale-wise & i wasn’t sure how to proceed until i unearthed a bit of that really 70s-ish apples-&-pears print, which was a hand-me-down from my old zine friend emily. it’s not something i would gravitate toward on my own, but it was perfect scale-wise for this block. i just didn’t like the colors…until i laid them against the bright yellow fabric i used for the tee. i tried a million different greens for the background (thinking it would pick up the green in the leaves of the fruit), but they all seemed too murky. then i tried these aqua squares & all the fabrics came together. i LOVE how this block came out, & it’s a real testament to the fact that fabric selection can completely make or break a block regardless of your initial response to the basic design.

i’m definitely getting faster with my piecing & learning more & more techniques for boosting my precision along the way. & i am having more fun choosing fabrics with every new block! my plan is to stitch all these blocks into a housewarming quilt for myself (we’re moving houses next month) & i am so excited, thinking about how all these different prints & colors will dress up our new bedroom. i really need to sink more time into actually packing for the move, but i don’t want to leave my sewing machine! it’s also been fun to bring jared into some of the color & fabric decisions. he has even had a few design suggestions i’ve implemented.

i also sewed myself a new dress this week–another lady skater with side-slant pockets. when it’s 94 degrees & 78% humidity, it’s all i can really handle wearing if i am being tasked with wearing real clothes (as opposed to the tank tops & tap shorts i wear around the house). no photos yet because i have been avoiding going outside. it’s cooler today & we’re going for a family walk later, so maybe i’ll get jared to take some photos this evening.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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