So you want to do some improvisational piecing, but you don't know how to get started. Well here's one way to go about it.
Draw the shape first. In this case, a teapot. I drew this from memory so it's simple and folk arty. The drawing doesn't have to be perfect, just recognizable. I bet you all could tell this was a teapot.
I then layed tracing paper over the top of this drawing and started figuring out how it would be pieced. The first step is to make the big divisions. That was fairly easy here - the spout, the body, the handle. [You can see a faint ghosting of the drawing underneath this, but it just wouldn't scan properly, so you have to use your imagination.]
Use straight lines that divide the space entirely. No y-seams.
Now you can start dividing up each of those spaces. Again, the lines all have to connect to something. Unless you want to be really daring, curves get drawn as straight lines too.
I now have a line across the top of the spout. The main body of the teapot is here, and the top and bottom of the handle are delineated.
It's not going to be easy to piece, but I have a spout marked off. I've simplified the lid of the teapot a great deal. And there's a handle as well, done in the classic sideways U shape.
Decided to have a second go, this time making a much easier spout. I also decided to make the handle a great deal curvier.
To help you see it, here's the teapot:
And this is how it looks pieced, using the drawing as a rough guide. When you start piecing from your drawing, you start sewing from the very smallest bits and do the longest lines (seams) last.
Now if you're one of those people who say, but Tonya, I can't draw.... First I say, yes you can. You all can. But okay, just to break the ice, you can try it like this. Take a picture of whatever it is you want to piece.
I actually found a beautiful teapot pic on Kathie's new-to-me blog Threadlines. [Very fun blog, go check it out. I love love love her Christmas teapot - it's a hoot. She's been doing some fun improv mile-a-minute blocks lately that are wonderful.] I printed a copy of the picture and drew lines on it using my trusty Sharpie.
I then proceeded as I did before. There's an extra boo-boo line in the handle - ignore it.
I'm afraid I made this overly complicated. I would have to piece parts together first, which would then get pieced together. Yick. More complicated than I like to work. So I think I'd have to draw this out again before I actually worked from it.
Now I advise using these drawings as guides. But it is actually possible to cut them apart and use the pieces as templates. Lay the paper down on top of your fabric and cut with an overly generous quarter inch around. Then piece together, knowing it's NOT going to look exact.
I hope I've shown you that you can do this too. Whatever you want to make, you CAN make. Please try it. If you get in a jam just give me a shout - I'd be happy to help. I'd consider it a challenge.
If you're not happy with how the first block turns out, then make more. Lots of times you just need a bit of practise (oh that word again) to get comfortable and loose.