A is for APPLE: Part One

apple graphicWelcome to DAY 2 of An Apple a Day from Janome and happy Sewing Month!
Today our special guest is Trina Gallop of Will Cook for Shoes.Trina offers all sorts of daily living goodness on her blog – from the kitchen to the sewing room and maybe a dog walking trail or two in between. Her lesson is a cute PAPER PIECED LUNCH TOTE (but you can apply this skill to all sorts of projects). We will break it into two days for paper piecing and the actual tote bag assembly. Paper piecing can be done with any ordinary sewing machine. It is helpful if you can adjust the straight stitch length. Special skills are not required and the spot-on results often lead to “ooo’s” and “how did you do that?’s.” Enjoy this bite of sewing deliciousness and join us throughout September for more great tips and projects as we celebrate sewing.





A is for Apple

Where has this summer gone? I can’t believe it’s already back to school time here.
Whether you are making this lunch tote for your children or for yourself (who doesn’t want a new fall lunch bag!) this is a quick, cute project.

 One of my favourite sewing techniques is paper piecing. The finished product is precise without necessarily starting out that way. 

To start this paper piecing project (say that 3 times fast!), print out the pattern. Apple Paper Piece Template

 This paper piece pattern is spilt into two sections and numbered. You will work each section separately, starting with section “1” and working through chronologically.

 You will need to pick out fabrics for your apple, and corresponding fabrics for your lunch bag. It’s always fun to choose solid or small-print fabrics for paper piecing.

 Getting Started

 Main Part of  Apple

 Starting on the larger piece of the apple, pick a fabric for the main apple (labeled on the paper piece template as section 1). Cut out your fabric so it is at least a ½ inch bigger than the paper patter. As I mentioned, it doesn’t have to be exact (you will understand how we trim it down shortly).

Section 1

Section 1

With your fabric right side up, pin it to the back so it fits over the area it corresponds to on the paper pattern (section 1). You are basically pinning wrong sides (wrong side of paper and wrong side of fabric) together. You can also glue it into position if you prefer not to use pins.

 Next we need to prep the fabric we just pinned.

Section 2 FOLD

Section 2 FOLD the pattern back over a flat, straight edge like a throw-away card insert









TIP: a little trick that I  learned when I was first starting out with paper piecing is to use a card insert (you know the kind that often falls out of magazines) as a guide.

 With your paper pattern facing right-side up, position your card insert and fold over on the crease that divides between section 1 and 2. This exposes the excess fabric from section 1 (the red polka dots for the main part of the apple).

Section 2 TRIM

Section 2 TRIM- a 1/4″ is added beyond the paper edge

 Using a ruler (I like to use an add-a-quarter ruler), cut your excess fabric so you have just a ¼ inch of extra.

 Unfold your paper pattern so it lays flat again.

 Now work with the next piece on the pattern, which will be section 2.

 Paper piecing will have you work chronologically through the pattern; ending with sewing on the line between the two sections you are working on. So if we just pinned section 1, and now are working on section 2, we will sew on the line that divides section 1 and 2.

 Section 2 (and the subsequent sections) are worked just a little different in terms of fabric positioning.

 Cut a piece of fabric for section 2 so that it is larger than the section (by at least a ½ inch).

Section 2 Pin

Section 2 Pin

 On the back-side of the paper pattern, place the fabric for section 2 right sides together with the fabric for section 1 and line up on the line that joins between section 1 and section 2 (this will be the edge you just trimmed).

 Pin in place.


Adjusting to a longer stitch length helps with removing the paper after stitching

Adjusting to a longer stitch length helps with removing the paper after stitching

TIP: Before you start to actually sew, you need to adjust the stitch length on your sewing machine. I shorten my stitch length to 1.0 – this will make it easier to tear away the paper backing when you are all done.

 With your paper pattern right side up, sew along the line that joins section 1 and 2.

 Remove the pin and press the fabric open.

 Trim section 2 (to prep for section 3) using the same method we just used to trim section 1. Fold back on the line (using the card insert as your guide) that separates between section 2 and section 3 and then trim so there is an extra ¼ inch.

 Repeat with section 3 and the remaining sections using the same technique you just used.


The pieced apple: you can see the quarter inch seem where the white fabric is lifter in the lower right corner of the sample

 To complete the main body of the apple, you will have sewn four lines.

 Apple Stem and Leaves

 The top part of the apple involves some smaller pieces but the principle is the same.

 Start by working on section 1.

 Cut a piece of the apple stem out in brown fabric so that is larger than the pattern section by at least a ½ inch (even though you only need a ¼ inch seam allowance, I use at least a half inch for extra security) and pin or glue fabric side up to the back of the pattern so that it covers section 1.

Color coding the apple pattern

Color coding the apple pattern

 Section 2 is now “white space” around the apple. Using a colour of your choice, I picked white, cut out a piece of fabric larger than that section. Pin fabric right sides together to the line that divides section 1 and 2. Turn over and sew along the line that divides section 1 and 2. Remove the pin and press open. Repeat with the remaining sections.

 You are always only sewing one line at a time, and always just the line between the two sections you are working on.

Part Two: Sew directly on the line

Part Two: Sew directly on the line

 If you get stuck or lost, turn your piece over and just review on the front of the pattern which lines you have already sewn.

The two parts of the apple before piecing together

The two parts of the apple before piecing together

 Once you have completed both sections, you can remove the paper from the back of the pattern.

 Change your stitch length back to a regular stitch length (around 2.5).

 Join the two pieces of the apple together by lining up right sides together and stitching with a generous ¼ inch seam allowance.





This sweet apple is ready to become part of the lunch tote now. If a tote is not for you - how about using it as part of a book cover or a quilt block, or.... ?

This sweet apple is ready to become part of the lunch tote now. If a tote is not for you – how about using it as part of a book cover or a quilt block, or…. ?

Join us for A is for Apple: Part Two on Saturday, September 6 to learn how to assemble your lunch tote.

Was that the lunch bell?

Was that the lunch bell?

Trina Gallop Blank blogs over at Will Cook for Shoes, a lifestyle blog that covers everything from bassets to baking to knitting to sewing, and even (just recently) to spinning! Ever since she can remember Trina has been one of those people who sees something and says – I can make that! Trina loves the idea of making items for others, whether it be baking, sewing, or knitting. When she’s not crafting, you will likely finding her doing obedience training with her two sweet basset hound boys (Buster and Baxter) – yes, you read that right, she does competitive obedience with basset hounds (can you see how she loves a challenge – and a laugh!). Then there are the shoes… oh, how she loves shoes. And yes, it’s entirely true, she will cook (sew, and knit) for shoes!



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2 Responses to A is for APPLE: Part One

  1. Marnie says:

    When I paperpiece I always stitch one or two extra stitches past the line. This ensures that the next line on the paper will have a stitch intersect perfectly. Plus remember to use a shorter stitch so paper will rip off the fabric. In the photo you accidently labeled it as needing a longer stitch.


    • janomecanada says:

      Hi Marnie
      Thanks for sharing your tips. Seems that there are two schools of thought on the stitch length? Shorter stitches yield easier perforation, while longer stitches trap less paper in the stitch. Maybe? Happy sewing!


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