TIP: Using a ruler to add 1/4 inch seam allowance and trimming after you have sewn your pieces will work, but it is very easy to forget that little bit of a 1/4 inch when cutting. It also helps you to be sure that you use a big enough piece of fabric to include the all-important seam allowance. Ask me how I know!! I highly recommend that you add and clearly mark the seam allowance on the pattern so there will be no question about where to trim the finished piece.
Below is my pattern almost ready to print. Notice that I have reduced the transparency of the colors, but still have enough color to serve as a check on my fabric choice. You will also see that I have made sure the sewing lines are dark enough to see clearly. If you are drawing your design on paper you can color a swatch in each little triangle with colored pencil or marker. This will be the wrong side of your finished shape. If right or wrong side is important in your design be sure to reverse your pattern at this stage. If you print it on translucent paper you can sew from either side. Just don't get mixed up!
TIP: Whatever way you decide to do it be sure to be consistent or you will end up with a different looking design in your finished product. Remember that when holding the paper in front of you, the right side of the evolving fabric piece will be facing away from you. (Note: I did not reverse this design so either my piece will be the mirrored version, or I will sew with the back side facing me. (Choices!!)
In order to cover my bases even better I next add text to each and every little triangle as below.
You will start in the middle and sew the first ring so I label that ring "A." The second ring is "B," etc. The other notation refers to the color with a lower case letter (r for red, g for green....) and a number, which refers to the shade of the color. Look at the purple: p1 is the lightest shade of purple while p5 is the darkest shade of purple. The stars on some of the triangles refer to the starting place for each ring. These notations keep me on the straight and narrow so I don't make mistakes. Ripping is not really that much fun.
If you have not done paper piecing before, I highly recommend that you give it a try. You can make incredibly intricate designs and achieve perfection so much more easily.
Now this is ready to print. If you are not using the computer you can make copies.
TIP: If you are making copies make sure that the copies are exactly the same size as the original, and make 2 or 3 extra to cover possible pilot error.
You can use copy paper or buy foundation piecing paper, which is available any place that carries quilt supplies. My favorite is Sulky Paper Solvy because I can run it through my printer, and it dissolves in water when the sewing is done. I usually tear the paper off when I am finished sewing anyhow, but if some gets left in, it will dissolve when the quilt is dipped in water, which I do after the quilting is complete. Check the manufacturer's directions for information about their product.
TIP: I print out the shapes for one wedge, do the sewing, photograph and rotate the photo in the computer before printing out the rest. This avoids waste if there is a glitch in the pattern. If I like the result I save it and use it as an extra wedge for quilting practice. Then I go for broke, print more copies, and sew up a storm.
The last thing I do is glue or pin 1 x 2 inch swatches of all my fabrics to a piece of paper. I label each fabric with the letter and number combination that I placed on my pattern. I find I refer to this so often that it is well worth the time. I also put this sheet in a sheet protector and take it shopping with me to use in choosing fabrics I might be missing. More about shopping in the next post.