Thursday, January 28, 2016

Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-Along Block No. 28 ~ Dolly

This week we're sewing the Dolly block for the Farmer's Wife Sew-Along with Gnome Angel, Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell.
Dolly can be a bit challenging because she has many small pieces. 57 pieces! I was originally going to epp (English Paper Piece) this block. I prepped all my pieces and began sewing them together. Well, I was a bit liberal with my glue while basting and it made for a hard, stiff fabric that was not very fun to sew through. Not to mention I had to take a deeper stitch than I typically would for epp. My stitches were showing on the front of the block so I decided to hand piece the block. If you have read my blog for a while you know I love hand piecing. I have tutorials for 12, 6 in. blocks under my header, click on the hand piecing / hand quilting tab! 

First I printed the paper piecing templates for the block from the cd onto freezer paper. Then I colored the pieces according to the fabric I was going to use for each piece. Color in the small quilt block on the page as your placement guide.

I then cut out all the paper pieces with no seam allowance. I ironed the pieces onto the wrong side of the fabric I was using.

I trimmed the pieces using my ruler and leaving 1/4 in. Around all sides.

It takes some time to prep all of the pieces. I used the freezer paper instead of tracing each template onto the fabric to save a little time. Please trace the template on the fabric if you feel more comfortable doing that.

After all of my pieces were prepped I sat down for a nice evening of hand stitching. I sewed the center top square together first and then added the side squares. Then I pieced the mid section squares and put them together. I like to put the rows together as I go especially with so many pieces like this. I feel like it breaks up the piecing monotony and keeps the pieces organized for me. Finger press as you go. Press the seams of each row in opposite directions so they nest together.

Here is the last row needing attached and this is how I did it.

Pin the rows together at the center seams. They should be finger pressed in opposite directions as mentioned above so they nest together.


Thread a needle. I like straw needles and using hand quilting thread. Knot the end of your thread and start sewing at one end of your row with a running stitch. Keep your needle in in line with the edge of the template.


Back Stitch at the center seams. Since this block has quite a few seams you can certainly back stitch quite often as I did here. As you can see paper pieces can fall off. Just keep needle in line      with the edge of the squares as they are least likely to come off. You'll be fine. 

Now that all the rows are sewn together you can press with a hot iron. And your done! I hope you give hand piecing a try. It's a nice way to handle these small pieces and blocks.


Have a great day!

Happy Sewing!
xo Erin


Nisa-mom said...

Dear Erin, I just want to ask if possible to sew together the pieces with sewing machine instead of handstiches ? I'm not good of hand stiches Thank you

Lucy | Charm About You said...

Beautiful block and great tutorial! I've tried with paper but I prefer to trace the lines, I sew through the paper too much! I've decided to switch between hand piecing and epp - the ones with larger pieces I will epp!

Bec said...

Thank you for sharing this tutorial

Susie said...

THank you. Great explanation. Your block is beautiful. I do wonder how you manage to print on freezer paper though - is it flat? I only have the one on the roll.

Lisa said...


Jacque. said...

Erin, you know I love your work. All of it. No matter how it gets done. I still cannot believe I hand-pieced that little quilt way back when.

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Very nice and such small pieces! I would hand piece this one also. I have been known to machine sew a DJ block - that was very challenging. Hand work is so wonderful (all types) because we can have more control - Less ripping! LOL Like the Colors you chose.

donna said...

Your block turned out beautifully. Thank you so much for the hand piecing tut. You are are sweet and your directions are sew easy to follow.
Hope you are having a wonderful week.

Michaelanne said...

I am in awe of you! This post has sealed the deal!!! The outcome is SO beautiful! THAT is a huge amount of work! This quilt will be an heirloom for your family for generations to come!



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