Guest blog: Make your own paper pieced Liberty Tudor building with Joanna from Shape Moth

Friday 13th December 2013, 17.34

We meet Joanna Wilczynska the blogger and creator of Shape Moth. Joanna makes paper piecing look easy, even though she has only been doing it since 2010. If you have ever thought that you would like to try a complex patchwork block Joanna makes it look effortless with her simple instructions. She has made free downloadable patterns on Shape Moth which range from a typewriter which she taught at the Fat Quarterly retreat to a teapot. Once you get started with Shape Moth’s paper pieced the sky’s the limit.

We find out more about Joanna and her sewing skills.

Who taught you how to sew and how long have you been sewing?

I started sewing in 2010 when I made my first quilt for my friend’s newborn and just couldn’t stop! My best teachers at the beginning were Google and YouTube – I have learnt the basics of quilting and all the different techniques from the internet – blogs, tutorials, videos, forums, etc. Later on I bought a few books to learn some more complicated techniques, but honestly, I’ve never attended any patchwork-course (although I plan to learn how to dye fabrics and books/videos are not enough for me).

Paper piecing is obviously your love, how do you begin to design your patterns?

I began to play with paper piecing (PP) last year and it’s just much more fun to design and sew a paper pieced block than a traditional quilt block for me. I wouldn’t call paper piecing my love (I’m fascinated by art quilts and all the techniques that are used to make them; they are just more time consuming and need much more experience) but indeed I enjoy the process of designing and drawing the PP pattern. It always starts with the idea – ‘what to make’. Then I lookat photo’s or drawing’s for inspiration and experiment with ideas to achieve the first draft. For drawing patterns I use two software applications – first Quilt Assistant, then Electric Quilt 7. Without them, designing PP blocks wouldn’t be fun at all.

A lot of your patterns include wildlife, is this where you get your inspiration from?

I love nature and animals. I grew up surrounded by animals and with a great respect for nature and wildlife (thanks to my parents). For many years I worked as a volunteer in a zoo and later on as an animal keeper. During those years I was also a foster home for abandoned wild animals – squirrels, owls, birds of prey, etc. Yes, my love for nature became a great inspiration for my work.

What do you do with all your paper patterns once they are completed?

Most of the blocks end up in the drawer in my sewing room waiting to become a part of the quilt (which will probably never happen, but I tell myself, that one day I will manage to do it). It’s also very interesting in seeing how my sewing skills have changed over time. A few snow flake blocks ended as a table runner which was published in a book about paper piecing, two PP blocks ended as pillows a long time ago and some are already packed to be sent for the charity, there are quilters in Poland which gather a few times in a year and sew pillows for children who are in hospitals.

You taught at Fat Quarterly earlier this year, how was that?

That was my first teaching experience I held the workshops together with friend Julianna from Sewing Under Rainbow and I have to say it was amazing. I met many wonderful people and I’d love to repeat it in the future.

A lot of your work is commissioned , if you make a commission for anyone who and what would it be?

Lots of my work was published in American quilting magazines and books, but I also did a custom project for an artist – Rex Ray. That was a great challenge and lots of fun – designing blocks based on Rex Ray’s graphics and then sewing them using a variety of quilting fabrics.

If I were to choose what I could sew and for whom, I’d love to design blocks based on Eleanor Grosh or Charley Harper’s art or again something for Rex Ray.

We asked Joanna to make a paper pattern of our iconic Liberty Tudor building.

Download the templates here.

Important, please note
The templates are mirrored, so you should sew with printed-side of the paper (the fabric is on the non-printed side of the paper, with the wrong side facing the paper).

Assembling the top part of the block

A + B → AB + C → ABC + D → ABCD + E →ABCDE

F + G → FG + H → FGH

I + J → IJ + K → IJK


Assembling the middle part of the block

L + M + N → LMN

Assembling the bottom part of the block

O + P → OP + Q → OPQ + R → OPQR

S + T → ST + U → STU + V → STUV + W →STUVW

X + Y + Z → XYZ


\ + ] → \] + [ → \][ + ^ → \][^


Now it’s time to sew all of the sections together and your block is complete!

The block measures 16" x 12" finished. It's quite easy to sew the block, although it has many pieces
there are no tiny parts or very complicated elements to sew.

Share your paper pieced Liberty building blocks using #SewLiberty


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