Put Your Patchwork Quilt on Paper

26 Apr 2011

pokey boltonpaper patchwork quiltContemporary patchwork projects are everywhere these days. Even the artists contributing to our sister publication, Cloth Paper Scissors are getting into the act--but they're using paper!

This paper patchwork corset is just one of the pieces by Michaela Laurie, a paper quilting specialist, featured in the March/April issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. Patchwork quilting with paper is a great way to incorporate a lot of fun found papers or leftover scrapbook papers into a piece of art.

Instead of stitching the papers together, Michaela tacks them down with a glue stick, sort of like tiling. Then she stitches them to the substrate using a zigzag or decorative stitch. Finally, she adds touches of paint and hand stitching, and embellishments like crystals, charms, and lace.

The first time I ever stitched on paper, I was very nervous. Would the paper fall apart? Would it ruin my machine? With some experimentation, I learned the answer to both questions was "no." But there are certain precautions you want to take, and you should practice before jumping in.

paper patchwork quiltHere are some of Michaela's tips for stitching on paper.

  • Practice on a piece of scrap paper until you get the zigzag stitch small and regular. Write down the machine settings for later reference.
  • If you are using metallic thread, loosen the top tension of your machine. Use a universal 80/12 needle or a metafile needle.
  • Stitch slower when sewing with metallic thread.
  • Pure cotton seems to work best in the bobbin as its small fibers attach themselves to the paper layers.

There are so many techniques and projects in Cloth paper Scissors that transfer well to fabric and quilting. Upcoming issues focus on lettering, digital collage, art journaling on canvas, fabric art cuffs, surface design, and more.

If, like I do, you walk on the mixed-media wild side, Cloth Paper Scissors has a lot to offer you.


P.S. Have you ever stitched on paper? Metal? What is your advice? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments section below.

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kward2 wrote
on 26 Apr 2011 10:45 AM

I have enjoyed stitching paper for years and like to combine paper and fabrics. It is helpful if you dedicate a sewing machine needle just for paper so you don't dull your newer needles for fabric use.  It also helps to keep  practice scraps of paper in various thicknesses to try out and adjust your stitches on before you sew on your project. Have fun!

marijka wrote
on 26 Apr 2011 6:30 PM

You also might have to clean your bobbin case more often when stitching on paper, especially a top-load.

marijka wrote
on 26 Apr 2011 6:30 PM

You also might have to clean your bobbin case more often when stitching on paper, especially a top-load.

on 2 May 2011 9:01 AM

when stitching on paper without fabric i use tearable vilene (e.g. Stitch and Tear) as the base or one of the layers - it's more like stitching on fabric,  can easily be coloured, takes all sorts of adhesive well and you can tear away most of it when you've finished stitching