I’ve recently been hand-piecing a sampler quilt for a class I’m teaching in the autumn. I’ve hand-pieced before, mainly Dear Jane blocks, but this is the first time I’ve pieced larger blocks measuring 12” finished. As I’ve always used freezer paper as my templates with great success I have gone about the procedure in the same fashion…tracing the template shapes to freezer paper and then ironing them to the back of the fabric, marking the stitching line etc…
Most of the blocks I’ve done up to now have been simple enough, but last night I pieced a more complicated block and left it on the ironing board to be checked over in the morning. Imagine my surprise when I measured the block this morning and realized it wasn’t 12” finished…how could it be? After scratching my head for a bit, DD1 and I surmised that it might have something to do with the templates. So I got my templates out and compared them to the original pattern and to my horror some of the 6” edges were no longer 6” but 5 7/8”! Could the freezer paper have shrunk? YES! After a quick google search I discovered that heat and steam can drastically shrink freezer paper particularly in one direction.
So I did a test and cut a 7” square of freezer paper and got the iron on it and wouldn’t you know one side had shrunk by 1/8”. So what is the solution?
Well, from what I can work out..if you preshrink* the paper before drawing your templates and keep to a dry iron it should all be ok. I’ve done that and have another block prepped, so I’ll let you know how that works.
*Lisa asked a good question in the comments…how do you preshrink freezer paper?
- Place your freezer paper, shiny side down, on your ironing surface or applique pressing sheet.
- Press each section of the freezer paper with the iron for 5-10 seconds using the Cotton setting with a dry iron (no steam).
- Lift the freezer paper from the ironing surface and then set it back down. Press a second time.