PaperPiecing / Tutorials

Paper piecing solution for a saw-tooth border. Free tutorial.

You can use paper piecing to solve standard piecing problems.  Here’s how to fit a saw-tooth border to a project without pre-planning.

  • Decide the finished length of the run of  “teeth.”  See RED lines.
  • Decide the finished height of teeth. See Blue lines.
  • Use a square ruler or a fabric square, (see magenta square) to march off saw teeth to get an approximate number that will fit in the height you’ve chosen. Round up or round down to an even number.
  • Divide the length by the number of teeth.   Mark the bases. See green dots.
  • Mark the peaks halfway between each green dot. See yellow tickmarks.

The intervals may be mathematically exact, or approximated by eye. In this example, there are to be 7 light colored triangles, so I divided the finished run length by 7 and marked it on the freezer paper. Actually, when I used my squares to make an approximation, I came up with 6-1/4 so I rounded to an even number… I used 7, which made my “mountains” pointy-er, but I could have used 6 which would have made the mountains broader.

The above illustrates taller “mountains” but still only seven.

The illustration below shows 11 mountains… much pointy-er than half square triangles.

Before beginning to sew, score and fold on all the sewing lines. And this is important: also score and fold the 2 long lines along the bases and peaks. These will also be sewing lines.

 Iron the freezer paper to the backside fabric of any triangle. Make sure there is excess fabric beyond the stitching lines for at least 1/4″ seam allowance. Fold back the freezer paper exactly along the seam line. Place a fabric patch for the adjoining triangle, right sides together at the back.

You will note that in this example, my fabric patches are really pre-cut squares, not triangular shapes at all. In a blind brown-bag purchase, I got a stack of someone’s leftovers from a project that used lots of squares, so I had what I needed, but the squares were just too small to cut two triangles, but plenty for one. The excess will be cut off after the whole run is paper-pieced. Keeping them as square patches prevents excessive stretching, I tell myself, as I fret about using larger pieces than actually necessary.  :)

After sewing, flip open the freezer paper and the fabric patch. Iron and continue down the whole row of mountains.

In this case the dotted fabric is the last of the run and only a half triangle, or will be, when everything is trimmed up.

It is important to keep the paper attached to the line of mountains. If you have used the freezer paper a third or fourth time and it’s beginning to have less sticking ability, add a couple pins to encourage it to stay put while you fold along the long edge and trim the seam allowance and seam the mountains to your project.

Keeping the freezer paper ironed on the row of “mountains” prevents stretching along the bias. Since you used your project to determine the length of the row of saw-tooth mountains, you know you will have an excellent fit. Note that some freezer paper shrinks a little when ironed… just be aware as you come down to the final piecing.

You can reuse the freezer paper … though you may want to re-draw some lines if all sides of your project aren’t exactly the same length…. Especially in a scrappy project like this with no worry about exactness.

This delightful pattern was posted as a sew-along by Humble Quilts. I didn’t run across it till the participants had posted their own projects, but knew that the scraps that I purchased would work. (Who purchases scraps? Our guild’s November rummage sale raises money for the 2 local food pantries. This year our rural guild raised over $500 — not bad for a town of 1000 population — and a pile of scraps !

Merry Christmas everybody,

Peggy Aare

3 thoughts on “Paper piecing solution for a saw-tooth border. Free tutorial.

  1. Thank you. I am not sure if I quite get it just by reading it, but maybe as I actually work through it will gel in my head. Merry Christmas to you too.

  2. Pingback: Winter Blues Tree — paper pieced | WisconsinQuilting

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