tiny feather foundation paper pieced mini mini quilt

How Small Can You Go?

I’m certainly testing this question lately! I’ve written about the mini mini quilt swap craze, and while it seems to have died down a bit on Instagram, I’m still plugging along working to complete the many mini minis I have promised to swap. Such is life when sewing gets done 20 minutes at a time! One such mini mini has morphed into a true test of “how small can you go?”

mini mini fpp featherI designed a tiny foundation paper pieced geometric feather for the mini mini I’m making for Renee at Quilts of a Feather, since I wanted to create a purple feather (her favorite color is purple and feather is probably a clear choice), but I also wanted it to be unique. The tiny pattern crazy me developed has 60 foundation paper pieced pieces in block smaller than 3″x4″.

mini mini fpp featherBelieve it or not, the foundation paper piecing part went smoothly. That’s one of the wonders of foundation paper piecing–you can literally sew ANYthing.

quilting stiletto in useI’ve only removed the papers from half so far, but even that isn’t too bad. I quite enjoy it, actually. When foundation paper piecing, I set my stitch length to 1.2 so the paper basically melts off. I encouraged some of the teeny tiny smaller than 1/16″ bits to come off using a cute stiletto I received as part of a swap last year. (Aside–did you know that a stiletto in quilting is a skinny tool that is thicker and a bit more blunt than a pin, and is used to help feed your fabric through your sewing machine, hold down little corners while sewing, or any other task you can derive? I *just* learned what a stiletto was and so I’m trying to use it more!)

mini mini fpp featherJoining the two halves, on the other hand, was where the challenge truly arose. I broke a needle trying to get through all of those layers, and eventually settled on hand cranking my machine through the thickest part.

mini mini fpp featherNeedless to say, this baby does not lay flat, nor can I hope to press it flat no matter how much Flatter I use.  But no worries! I plan to use a double layer of batting, perhaps only under the feather (I think it’s called trapunto) so that at least it won’t seem too out of place. But it appears I have my answer: this is as small as I can go, at least with this pattern!

I originally planned to trim the outer edge and needle turn appliqué the feather to the background fabric, a gorgeous glimmering square of Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous. After requesting some tips/advice from Carolyn Friedlander via email, I am approaching it in a different way per her advice; instead I’ll do reverse appliqué, where I’ll cut the hole in the background fabric, place it on top of the feather, and stitch it down around the feather’s edge. While it will be my first time trying reverse applique, I think I have a much better chance at success using this method. Thank you, Carolyn!

mini mini fpp feather
I’m leaning toward the lighter purple Aurifil for the stitching, so that it will blend in with the Loominous.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how this mini mini turns out!

I’m linking up with Works in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, since it feels like ages since my last link up!

18 thoughts on “How Small Can You Go?”

  1. I am in awe. I enjoy foundation paper piecing but at this scale its in another class!! Looking forward to seeing the finish.


  2. What a great choice for Renee, and such dedication to go so tiny!
    I think you have a great plan with reverse appliqué and trapunto. Fill the thing with pouffy batting and those seam allowances will have somewhere to hide. Clever!


  3. Wow! I love small PP things, but get frustrated by the bulk in the seams. I think your double batting idea and the reverse appliqué are excellent ideas! Can’t wait to see the finish.


  4. Yeah for reverse applique!… it’s just one step away from FPA!

    Feather looks great! Even though mini mini’s may not be as hot right now, I still enjoy seeing them… I have one more to do!


  5. Oh my goodness, it’s so small and wonderful! That really is some lovely paper piecing. 🙂 I’m excited to see how the reverse applique goes!


  6. That looks amazing, Kitty! Tearing out those itty bitty pieces would probably drive me crazy – that’s by far my least favourite part of the paper piecing process. I’ve never tried reverse applique, so I’ll be interested to hear how it goes for you.


  7. This is gorgeous! I haven’t figured out paper piecing at all yet, so the fact that you managed on such a minuscule scale is amazing. Have you seen the work of Chawne Kimber?She does tiny things too. She hasn’t been updating her blog, but on Facebook, she has shown some amazing stuff.


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