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Paper Piecing a Storm at Sea Quilt

by Elaine

Storm at Sea Quilt Block<br /> 

Storm at Sea Quilt Block

Now another question...

My quilt is a Storm at Sea block with a monochromatic theme. I have been over 3 years gathering over 100 fabrics. Each block is small - 3"x3", 6"x6" and then the diamond strip is 3"x6". I tried one set using paper-piecing which, of course, turned out beautifully but I would need over 100 paper forms.

Am I missing something with paper piecing?

How do you make a lot of copies for paper piecing a block? I mean like 100s. Thanks for the great help from this website. So glad I discovered it.

Thank you so very much,



To our readers: This question is a follow-up to a question submitted about accurate piecing without paper piecing.

Elaine, you are absolutely right! When you paper piece a quilt pattern, you must create as many patterns as there are blocks. I'd also make a couple of extras to play with to determine how big I wanted to cut my fabric patches. I use home computer's printer to print the patterns. There is way less distortion than with a copy machine.

I hope you don't mind, but I went ahead and created the paper piecing patterns in the sizes you indicated in Electric Quilt 7. They are PDF files that you can print directly from my site on YOUR home computer's printer.

Paper Piecing Paper

It's going to take a lot of paper. My favorite for paper piecing is Carol Doak's "Foundation Paper". It comes in 100 sheet packs and is put out by C&T Publishing. You should be able to get it at your local quilt store or they will order it for you. It's like an unprinted newsprint and is easy to remove.

This paper works in both ink jet and laser jet printers.

Printing Instructions

For every block in your quilt you'll need to print one set of the two pages. To complete your quilt, print extra 'Page 2 of 2s'. If you put your quilt together in columns, you need one for every two columns plus one. If you put it together in rows, then one for every two rows. You may need to print one extra 'Page 2 of 2' at the end for the final 3" square in a square. That's a lot of words to describe how many to print. (I think I need more caffeine this morning!)

Personally, I'd print a row of blocks at a time, construct the blocks and print another row. That way I can't misplace anything, AND if I change my mind about the quilt design, I minimize any waste of the printed paper.

Printable Quilt Patterns

These are the links to the patterns and coloring pages...

  • Storm at Sea paper piecing quilt block patterns.

    You must set 'Page Scaling' to 'None' in the printer setup menu to ensure the blocks print at the proper size.

    You need to print one set of these two pages for each block in your quilt. To complete the quilt print an extra 'Page 2 of 2'. You will end up with one extra 3"x6" diamond in a rectangle block pattern.

  • I've also included the links to two coloring pages for the Storm at Sea quilt pattern. One is a straight set, the other has the blocks in an on point layout. I've added as many blocks as could fit comfortably on the page.
Elaine, I hope this helps in your quest to create your very own Storm at Sea quilt. For more information, please see our Storm at Sea Quilt Pattern page.

Happy Quilting!


Julie Baird

Comments for Paper Piecing a Storm at Sea Quilt

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Finishing the Quilt
by: Carolyn

Do you use a binding with a quilt like this? If so, do you match it to the colors in the quilt or contrast it?

Also, how wide a binding would you use?

Thanks for your help.

From the Editor: For a two fabric quilt I'd match the binding to one of the colors, in particular the one with the most patches of it around the edges. To add a new color at the very outside of the quilt is, in my mind, jarring.

If it was a 2 color quilt, scrappy with lots of fabrics, there's a good chance that I'd do a scrappy binding to use up some of the excess fabric I had instead of buying a hunk of one fabric.

My personal preference is for a tight, narrow 1/4" binding, double fold. For that, I cut my strips 1-7/8" side and then piece together with diagonal seams cut on a 45-degree angle. For friends think I'm a little cray-cray...but that's OK. It's what I prefer.

Since it's YOUR quilt, I believe it's important to take in all the ideas you can. Then it becomes simply a matter of what is most pleasing to YOUR eye.


Julie Baird

Storm at Sea
by: Carole

Thank you so much for all the valuable information.

l am at a loss as to how to press the seams, do l press open or towards the dark fabrics. Thank you.

From the Editor: If the lighter of the fabrics is either light enough or thin enough to possibly see-through, I'll do my best to press toward the darker fabric.


Since I also quilt my own quilts on my domestic sewing machine, if I think there's too many seams coming together and producing too much bulk, I'll press whichever makes the most sense for avoiding that bulk.

In that case, I'll trim away the darker fabric just a wee bit in the seam allowance (not taking away more than a very scant 1/8") so that it won't shadow through the top.

I hope this helps.


Julie Baird

12 inch block
by: Dinah

Your information is fantastic and very helpful. It's given me the courage to tackle a full-size bed Storm at Sea quilt. Do you have the template pattern for a block that finishes at 12 inches? I've been searching everywhere for one, with just the single row of diamonds in each block, but all I can find is for a block that finishes at 9 inches. I'm very grateful if you could point me to one!

From the Editor: Unfortunately, I don't have the paper piecing pattern for a 12" block. The Square in a Square unit would measure 9"—just too big for the paper you can put through your home printer.


Julie Baird

My Storm at Sea Quilt
by: Elaine DeFoor

Well my monochromatic Storm at Sea Quilt is about a fourth finished. I have to stop to make grandchildren wedding quilts and now we are getting great grandchildren. Made four baby quilts. They are fun because they go fast.

But I am not enamored with paper piecing. I dislike removing the paper. I am using a micro needle and the regular paper piecing paper you recommended. It just seems to take too much time to remove the paper.

I made large blocks to color. I have 11 intensities of color. So I write a number in each piece. I turned one the wrong way and did not realize it until I had added several more. My artist friend - mainly she is a weaver but she paints also. She looked at it and said no one would notice it but me.

It is less monochromatic than I planned. As I wanted it to look like waves so I have added a few yellows and tans where you might see the sand or a fish.

Thanks, Julie so are always so helpful and kind.

From the Editor: And you, Elaine, are one of my favorite quilters.

Removing the paper is work. There's just no way around it. I try to plan it for when there's something good on the TV to watch, or when I'm 'quilting-with-my-mouth' with my friends (i.e. yakking) at our Sew-In Sundays...the time goes by so much faster then.

Happy Quilting!

~ Julie

snail's trail
by: donna

love how you added Snail's trail in the one quilt. I cant find that block anywhere, where is it hiding?

From the Editor: Hi Donna!

Glad you like the design. At this time, I don't have the Snail's Trail in my block library. There's a whole slew of them before it. When it's done you'll be able to find it on the 'Free Quilt Blocks' page.


Julie Baird

Thank you again!
by: LaVonne Kindred

Thank you so much for providing the free pdf files for storm at sea.

I printed out the two pages, and after watching the process on you tube, made the three different components. I now feel that I would be able to make a quilt!

I have carried a copy of the storm at sea design around with me for about 30 years (no kidding!), so this is a long held dream.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

From the Editor: Awesome Sauce, LaVonne!

Paper piecing, in my humble opinion, is the only way to make a Storm at Sea...there's just so many blocks to make. The stitching line keeps them accurate. And accurate blocks are a dream to put together when you're ready to assemble the quilt.

The biggest tip I can give slower. There's a lot less ripping and it's so much easier to control your machine. Staying on the lines particularly at the edges of the block is key.

Good luck! Thank you for writing!


Julie Baird

paper piecing
by: christine

I use typing paper. First i get the pattern copy it then go over it with a black marking pen, that's my master sheet to keep copying when you turn over to sew you can still see the lines. Get 500 sheets for $3.89 at Walmart. I have bad hands so that's why I like paper piecing, I don't have to cut material.

by: Marilyn Franklin

I want to make a lap quilt. I'm not sure if I would get more color movement with the 9" square or the 12" inch square. I love this pattern and it prints accurately. Do you have any pictures of this quilt. I notice the top left square is different and will it make any different in wave movement. Thank you.

From the Editor: Hi Marilyn. I do not have any current pictures of this quilt, just the illustrations. One of my current projects is the Storm at Sea block with the Snails Trail modification...with some additional modifications.

I have gone in and changed the pdf file so the small square should now have two squares in it. If you're not seeing the change yet, hit 'refresh' on your browser bar and that should bring it up!


"eating an elephant"
by: Elaine DeFoor

Loved this metaphor.

Storm at Sea quilt block
by: Elaine

Wow!! This is way more help than I have had from any of my quilting friends or my favorite quilt shops. I cannot believe it is for free.

Your suggestions have made me so anxious to get started once again on this project. I have made quilts as gifts but only things like table runners for myself. This project is for our bed and has been created in my mind and a notebook for three years.

Thank you!! Thank you!! How can I ever repay you?

From Julie:


Your timing was impeccable. I was playing with the different software programs to create the block patterns and coloring pages, and you gave me the perfect real world situation to put them to the test.

I hate to admit it, but I'm not always so fast or thorough. And I'd rather give no answer than one that is short on information.

If you like the website, the best thing you can do is tell your quilting friends. I love to quilt, I love to encourage others to quilt...just lucky to work at something I love. I'm glad you were helped.

As you work on this quilt, keep in mind that you stitch a quilt top the same way you eat an bite at a time. Enjoy the process!

I'm so glad you wrote!



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