Old Maid’s Puzzle

July 5, 2010

I had a lot of fun with the Old Maid yesterday. I was trying out the method of piecing that Ruth McDowell details in her book, Piecing, Expanding the Basics. It’s a great book. She goes into a lot of detail on piecing; piecing straight seams, matching corners, piecing curves, piecing S curves, piecing insets, and sewing Z seams. She also gives a lot of great advice on design and how to change your drawings to improve the finished product by shifting the focus.


Ruth emphasizes simplifying your drawing before starting to sew. She finds it “becomes more a question of seeing how much I can leave out rather than how much I can put in”. Once the drawing is finalized and divided up for piecing everything is labeled.


After reading her book and looking at her examples I began to see the Old Maid as one with her background rather than as an image pasted on the background. And from there it was so easy to put together this beginning.

So I’ve decided to finish out the Old Maid with this method of piecing. I am using freezer paper templates. I like using them for a couple of reasons. First, they can be ironed to the fabric and don’t move around. And second, I leave them attached to the fabric through the whole project so they don’t get lost. If I decide I want to change one of the fabrics it is easy to find the right template. It’s right on the back of the offending fabric.

Ruth’s method uses mostly straight seams but can accommodate curved seams. I changed most of the seams to straight seams but I felt it was important to keep the curve on the left side of her face.  I had a little trouble with that curve but with a few snips, a few pins and a few choice words, it finally came together.


As you may notice, the freezer paper template cannot be left in place while sewing a curve. So I traced around the template and after sewing ironed the template back in place so I don’t loose it.

I am looking forward to working on the next part of the Old Maid. Maybe, since it is a holiday, I will do that today!!!

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