Using the Sirota “No More Tears©” Paper Piecing Method

Paper Piecing for the 21st Century

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This class is pure FUN!  Why?  Because we let go of our desire to “control” the outcome.  After all, scrappy means using scraps of all different colors and patterns.  


For many of us paper piecing can be a quilting brain-teaser, right?  Well if you love paper pieced projects but find the process somewhat “confusing”, then this is the class is for you.  You’ll be learning my revolutionary “No More Tears” © method of paper piecing, and although you won’t be finishing the entire project in class, you should have at least one completed 12” x 12” star block and the tools you’ll need to finish your project at home.  And it will take half the time you’d expect from paper piecing.   Don’t believe me?  Well, join the class and find out how! 


What to have on hand


Your pre-cut and any extra fabric

Your patterns printed on #17lb Vellum

Sewing machine, thread and pre-wound bobbin, regular piecing foot and 1/4" foot

Pins, and just in case, a seam ripper

Rotary cutter (with a new blade) and ruler - 6"x12" works fine

Invisible Scotch Tape (any brand)

Pencil or pen

A Hand Needle (embroidery, cotton darning) as long as it has a sharp point and a long eye*

                                                  * A MUST-HAVE


Small cutting mat 9" x 12" is fine

Highlighter (any color)

Add-A-Quarter ruler (the longer the better)

Paper and  fabric scissors

Oral B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Floss*

Fresh, new Elmer's Disappearing Purple Glue

Stick or any washable, acid free glue stick*

Why Vellum?

17lb Translucent Vellum 8 1/2" x 11"

To order 100 sheets click here

To order 50 sheets click here

To order 30 sheets click here

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If you don't feel like reading all of the following stuff, just skip to the last paragraph.


First of all, it makes the paper piecing process much easier and the pattern preparation much faster.  When I first developed my method of paper piecing I used regular copy paper because I wanted to eliminate the need to purchase special papers.  However, in the early years I experimented with all different kinds of paper and discovered 17lb vellum.  It was perfect for the process.  And when I taught live classes I supplied the vellum patterns as part of the class materials.

Then came virtual classes and you all needed to print your own patterns.  Copy paper is easily available and almost everyone has copy paper.  It works, but there's more pattern prep to do because copy paper isn't smooth and isn't translucent.  For most of my patterns, copy paper is just fine because the patterns don't have lots of segments.  "Not Your Daddy's Log Cabin" blocks have twenty-two segments and regular copy paper doesn't quite cut it.  It's usable, but not ideal.  Thus, the need for vellum.

You can look for your own 17# vellum, but the links I've supplied are brands that I've used before and I can definitely say that they are my favorites.  If you choose to look for your own, make sure it's 17#, 8-1.5" x 11" and feeds through your printer smoothly.  Also, if you've never taken one of my classes before, you'll just have to trust that whichever quantity you order, one sheet of paper goes a long way.  


So the bottom line is this...get the vellum.  It goes through the printer the same as copy paper  You'll find it changes everything and streamlines the process, eliminating time.  There are links above for 100 sheets, 50 sheets or 30 sheets.  The 100 sheet option is the most economical, and order early to make sure you have your vellum in time for class.

Fabric Selection

This project is perfect for using up some of your fabric scraps, fat quarters or jelly rolls.  The reason this pattern works so well is because the star points are made of alternating lights and darks, two contrasting colors, patterned fabrics, or combinations of each.  Two-color stars have a more “contemporary” look, whereas scrappy stars are more “traditional”.  The background, however, is very controlled.  If you use one fabric for the background, your stars will pop.  Use two different fabrics and you’ll get a secondary pinwheel pattern.  Just make sure that your background fabric(s) is in high contrast to your star fabric.

A word about design and fabric selection:  Please, keep it simple, and keep in mind that we’re here to learn a new method, and maybe not design the ultimate Chevron Star masterpiece.  Ideally, we’re looking for a variety of scraps or two contrasting fabrics* that allow the Chevron Star pattern to shine.  The finished project will be simple to construct, yet impactful. 

Since practice makes perfect, we want to practice as much as possible during class.  If we’re too focused on design, it takes away from our practice time.

* Contrasting fabric means any 2 fabrics that will stand out on their own and make the lines of your quilt top “crisp”.  They can be solids, a print and a solid, or 2 small prints that read as solid from a distance.  When selecting your fabric, avoid stripes, directional prints, large prints, or 2 prints that share a common color.  You designate which of your fabrics are “A” and which are “B”.

Cutting Specs for Scrappy Stars

Fabric “A” – 108 2” x 5 ½” rectangles.  Put the pieces in a baggie.

Fabric “B” – 108 2” x 5 ½” rectangles.  Put the pieces in a baggie.


Background Fabrics – for pinwheel background

You will need 24” (includes a little extra) of both a light neutral and darker neutral… “BL” and “BD”.Then, cut four 4 ½” strips from each fabric.From those strips cut:


“BL” (Background Light) Fabric - Cut thirty six 4 ½” squares.  Cut these in half diagonally to create seventy two half square triangles.  Put the pieces in a baggie.


“BD” (Background Dark) Fabric - Cut thirty six 4 ½” squares.  Cut these in half diagonally to create seventy two half square triangles. 


Cutting Specs for Two-Color Stars

Start with 1 yard each of color “A” and color “B” (includes a little extra)

Cut sixteen 2” strips from each color

Cut each strip into 5½” rectangles, for a total of 108+ of each color


Background Fabric – for solid background

You will need 48” (includes extra) of your background fabric.

Cut eight 4 ½” strips.From those strips cut 4 ½” squares.Then cut the squares into half square triangles.