Quick-Strip Paper Piecing Class Plan

by Peggy Martin

Notes to Instructors & Shop Owners
Quick-Strip Paper Piecing by Peggy Martin presents a new technique for paper piecing using strips and an assembly-line piecing method. The patterns have been designed to make this process easy for beginners as well as experienced piecers. Classes from the book can be structured in a number of ways. The projects in the book can be used as presented, or easily adapted to make your own quilt designs--it is important for students to realize they can be creative in developing their own setting options and ideas. Have them look at the other quilts in the book after each project or in the Gallery for inspiration.

Be sure to include instructions on the supply list to make copies of the paper patterns for class, and have students cut them out ahead of time and bring them to class. Pre-cutting fabric strips for the block is a good option for one-session 3-hour classes (more time for sewing!) but be sure to have them bring extra fabric, in case mistakes are made. If you prefer to spend some class time helping the students choose colors, then recommend that the fabrics be brought to class, and strips can be cut at the beginning of class (this probably works best in 6-hour or multi-session classes). Bring along spray starch in case students forget to spray-starch their fabrics.

  • Millennium Star
    Works well as a one-day class. Most students can easily finish this 18" block (some even get the borders sewn on!) in a 6-hour class. A 3-hour class will also work well for this block, though they might not finish the block construction. Be sure to demonstrate how the octagon is sewn and corner triangles added if students don't get that far in a short class.
  • New York Beauty
    Works best as a 6-hour class if only taught in one session. Working on 4 arcs at a time, demonstrate the quick-strip paper piecing and then let them sew for the morning portion. After lunch, demonstrate cutting the setting piece patterns from folded freezer paper, then demonstrate basting options for the setting pieces, and how to do the invisible machine applique. Many students are able to complete 4 arcs and sew on the setting pieces in class. At the end of the day, demonstrate with a set of blocks or show examples in the book for different setting options, and discuss borders.

    For a 2-session class, structure the first session to include piecing the arcs and demonstrating and sewing the setting pieces. Homework will be to finish the number of blocks they wish to work with (16 or 36 are both very manageable). Second session, have students bring in their completed blocks, a whitewall, pins, and border fabrics, or copies for the paper-pieced borders, if desired. Demonstrate different arrangements, then have students arrange their blocks on their whitewall until they are happy with their arrangement. Blocks can then be sewn together, or pinned to the whitewall to be taken home and sewn. Discuss border options and demonstrate sewing the paper-pieced borders for those who wish to add them.

  • Midnight Garden
    Works best as a 2-session class. Begin by sewing a Spinning Star block in class; students should almost finish this block in one class session. The Serendipity block can be demonstrated in this class, or saved as the sewing for the second session class. An alternative for the second session is to have 5 Spinning Star blocks and the 16 Serendipity units constructed and brought back to the class with a whitewall so students can experiment with many different arrangements for their alternating Serendipity blocks, which can then be sewn together and added to the Spinning Star blocks to complete the top during class.

    Another approach to these two blocks would be to choose one of the blocks, such as Serendipity, and structure a class around that block alone. Serendipity can be arranged in many different ways to create a wonderful quilt. In a two-session class, students can experiment with their blocks for their own arrangements. In a one-session class, bring in a set of blocks and demonstrate several different setting possibilities for the students.

    Serendipity blocks are also great setting blocks for sampler quilts; a class could be structured where students bring in other 12" blocks that they want to set with alternating Serendipity blocks (again, this might work best for two sessions).

  • Rainbow Galaxy
    This is a one-session class; pick one block and do a pillow or repeat-block quilt. To teach all the blocks, this is a perfect candidate for a block-a-month class in your shop, or for a semester-length project in community or adult education classes. Pick one or two blocks for each session, with the final two sessions being the setting blocks and the Flying Geese border. The blocks are in order in the book from simpler to more complex in paper-piecing and construction.

    Demo Ideas
    If your shop wants to do a presentation to promote classes based on Quick-Strip Paper Piecing and sales of the book, schedule an afternoon during which a teacher can sew and demonstrate the technique on one of the simpler blocks, such as Spinning Star. This is very effective in getting customers excited about buying the book and signing up for classes.

    I know you and your students and customers will enjoy the fun of Quick-Strip Paper Piecing!