Paper Piecing Tutorial with Blank Quilting Fabrics

Let's start with all the parts - The Angelica Collection by Blank Quilting
For several years I have taught my easy method for making a paper pieced Palm Block (also called a Hosannah Block). Traditionally, it was pieced using templates. Then when it was converted to a paper foundation, it was divided into two sections down one diagonal. I drafted it into an off-center log cabin.

I don't like to guess with paper piecing. I figure out what size fabric patch to cut for sections, label them and line them up, just like in the photo above. Here is my step by step process for making a single block.

Let's begin with my pattern (as found in my book: Paper Piecing Perfect Points).

 And the quilt . . .
Hosannah Quilt from Paper Piecing Perfect Points

We will be sewing on the side with the lines. The fabric is placed on the other, non-written side. To make it easier to place the patches, I like to use a postcard and quickly fold each line . . .

All lines on the pattern have been creased for ease of fabric placement on the other side
OK. So what does the other side look like?

This is the side the fabric patches are placed on
Now it's time to place fabric Patch #1. Notice it's a square as shown in the first picture above.

(Yes, this paper isn't folded. I'm not that great a photographer)
All patches are cut OVERSIZED. Pin in place. Now we're ready to place fabric Patch #2. Just make sure that the fabric edge extending beyond Line 1-2 is only about 1/4". Align it, right sides together with Patch #1, keeping edges even. Pin. Turn work over. Sew as shown (you are sewing on the WRITTEN side of the pattern).

Patch #1 and Patch #2 sewn together
Press the patches as shown below . . .

Finger press Patch 2
Now it's time to trim the edge of Patches 1 and 2 to get ready to add Patch #3.

WHY ARE WE TRIMMING? Can't we just add a blob of fabric and guess it's placement by holding everything up to the light? I HATE THAT METHOD!! And it doesn't work. I like precision, not primitive guessing. See what happens next . . .
Use an Add a Quarter ruler to trim away excess fabric
The Add a Quarter ruler is a MUST. It has a lip that is 1/4" wide and with a sturdy postcard underneath, keeps things from slipping. Place postcard on the line (Line between patch 2 and 4) which represents the next sewing line for adding a white patch. Fold paper back exposing the wrong side of the patch you just added. You need to trim the excess fabric from that patch so that there's a crisp 1/4". Notice what I trimmed to the right of the ruler. Discard.

We just trimmed Patch 2 on the left side. We have to trim it at the bottom also.
Now we have to trim Patch 1 and 2 so that Patch 3 (the blue) will have a nice, clean edge with just a 1/4" seam allowance. This way there's no guessing as to where to place the patch.

Clean edge with 1/4" seam allowance (which is 1/4" away from the line on the written side of pattern)
Now we're ready to add Patch #3.
Large, oversized rectangle for Patch #3. Stitched from the written side of pattern
Now let's trim Patch #3.
Patch #3 trimmed. Ready to add the white patches of #4 and #5
Notice the criss-crossing of the seams in the seam allowances
I always start off the paper on the outside of my pattern. Do NOT stop at the edge of the seam allowance. We always sew in our seam allowances in traditional sewing. Also, notice that I go beyond the lines, into the other patch spaces. This ensures that my seams don't open up. This does not affect the next patch.

Now I've added Patch #4 and Patch #5. And trimmed them, ready for their neighboring patches to be added.

Addition of two more patches
All patches added. Can you see those awesome points?
This is Sewing by Number, one at a time.
1. Add patch
2. Sew
3. Finger press open
4. Trim, leaving 1/4" seam allowance ready for placement of neighboring patch
5. Place patch
6. Repeat
Turn pattern over and trim away excess, leaving 1/4" seam all around
I leave the paper on until I'm ready to join it into my quilting project. I do not sew seams with the paper on. There is too much bulk and I don't like to pick away the paper in the seams.

Finished block (with seam allowances). Lovely points, huh?
And what is my project made with this block and the other fabrics shown above?
Cupid's Arrows using three Hosannah blocks
You can see other pages on my blog about paper piecing (see the links on the right side bar). Here is another tutorial using the Tanglewood Collection by Blank Quilting from last year:

Waterwheels pattern from Paper Piecing Perfect Points - click the link for a detailed tutorial

And here is another quilt using my Hosannah block. This is a new workshop with the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo. I had very enthusiastic class in Raleigh last weekend and everyone's blocks were just beautiful. I will be teaching this in Pittsburgh, PA, August 14. Then it is a regular class throughout the Fall and into the Spring in each of the 14 cities.

I have several quilts and pillows, etc made with these blocks in sizes ranging from 6" to 10". Once the patches are cut, you can sew without too much thinking. I'll show you some of those another time. For now, I'm going back to my sewing machine to make a few more samples for my upcoming classes.


  1. paper piecing is something I have not tried, feel I need to see someone actually doing it first but reading your instructions thinking maybe just maybe I could draw an easy shape and have a try I live in hope!

  2. what a delightful pattern, i adore the blue one.

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  4. I just learned paper piecing and I love it! This is a great pattern for paper piecing - love yours!

  5. Fabuñlous.I love paper piecing!

  6. It looks so lovely, but it's a process I don't enjoy at all, so I rarely do it. I enjoy seeing yours, though!

  7. Great tutorial, Debby! That is the only way I would attempt this block! Can you imagine cutting those little pieces and trying to sew them together the traditional way?


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