Diamonds & Emeralds - a beginner’s paper-pieced quilt
This quilt is great for beginning quilters - both for those brand new to the technique, and those who have already done some paper piecing. Students will learn how to paper-piece and come away with a completed, throw-sized quilt top finishing at 64” x 64” (or the skills necessary to complete it during class time and through homework assignments). These blocks are simple, large, and quick enough to help students learn how to paper piece without becoming frustrated with complicated patterns - they’ll come out of the class able to use the technique with confidence.
I suggest breaking this class up into 3 sessions, each 2-4 hours long (shorter sessions may result in some “homework” for students, but will still allow for plenty of time for students to learn).
Class Supply List
Required text: Paper Pieced Modern (instructions on pages 24-29)
- 3 yards background fabric
- 16 fat quarters for the diamonds and emeralds
- Stickers or a fabric marker to label fabric pieces
- Patterns printed onto paper-piecing paper (I suggest Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper, or June Tailor’s “Perfect Piecing” transparent foundation sheets)
- Other basic sewing supplies (scissors, pins, thread, needles, etc.)
- If desired for a longer course, backing, batting, and binding requirements are listed for finishing the quilt
- Rotary cutter & mat (or provided by classroom)
- Ruler used to cut a ¼” seam (I suggest the Add-a-Quarter ruler, other rulers with ¼” markings will work as well, such as the Omnigrid 1” x 12” clear plastic ruler)
What you’ll need for Session 1: Choosing & Cutting your fabrics
- Plenty of large, open tables for laying out, choosing, and cutting fabrics.
- Cutting station for each student if possible - I suggest an 18” x 24” or larger cutting mat.
What you’ll need for Session 2: Technique demonstration & piecing
- Instructor’s table where students can easily see the teacher demonstrate how to piece the paper-pieced patterns.
- Student sewing areas. Each student will need a sewing machine and small cutting mat (at least 8”x 11”). Alternatively, students may share larger mats (with preferably no more than 2 students per large mat).
- Pressing station(s) - as many as possible. I suggest at least 1 per every 4 students.
What you’ll need for Session 3:
- Design wall(s) or large table(s) to choose final quilt layouts.
- Instructor’s table where students can easily see the teacher demonstrate how to match points while piecing together the paper-pieced blocks.
- Student sewing areas. Each student will need a sewing machine (but no cutting stations/rotary mats).
- Pressing station(s)
Session 1: Choosing & Cutting your Fabrics
- This class gives time for a fun shopping session. Help your students find suitable fabrics that look pleasing together.
- Cut fabrics according to the instructions on page 26. Beginning quilters may need extra guidance with rotary cutting skills.
Session 2: Technique Demonstration & Piecing
- Students will need to bring their printed pattern pieces to this class.
- Explain the structure of a paper pieced pattern, as shown on page 12.
- Trim down pattern pieces, as discussed on page 14.
- Demonstrate the piecing and trimming down of an entire block, with the method shown on pages 15 - 16, and 18 - 20 (there are NO “tricky pieces” in this pattern, as discussed on page 17).
- Once students are able to see the construction process of a paper-pieced pattern from start to finish, work through it with them one step at a time.
- If necessary, do one or more blocks together as a class: demonstrate how to piece on fabric piece 2, then have the students complete this step. Demonstrate how to piece on fabric piece 3, then have the students complete this step. Continue through the piecing and cutting down process until students are confident with the method.
- For homework, students should complete all of the paper-pieced patterns.
Session 3: Layout & Final Assembly
- During this session, you will help students with steps 1-3 of “Layout & Final Assembly” (found on pages 27-28).
- Help students try out different arrangements with their blocks until they find a pleasing layout.
- Show students how to piece two diamond pieces together, following the “Matching Points When Joining Together Blocks” instructions on page 21.
- Help them as necessary to finish steps 2 and 3 on page 28. They may need to complete their quilt top at home.