Sketch-Based Design of Foundation Paper Pieceable Quilts

✱ MIT CSAIL, ✧ UC Berkeley, ✻ Stanford University

Abstract: Foundation paper piecing is a widely used quilt-making technique in which fabric pieces are sewn onto a paper guide to facilitate construction. But, designing paper pieceable quilt patterns is challenging because the sewing process imposes constraints on both the geometry and sewing order of the fabric pieces. Based on a formative study with expert quilt designers, we develop a novel sketch-based tool for designing such quilt patterns. Our tool lets designers sketch a partial design as a set of edges, which may intersect but do not have to form closed polygons, and our tool automatically completes it into a fully paper pieceable pattern. We contribute a new sketch-completion algorithm that extends the input sketched edges into a planar mesh composed of closed polygonal faces representing fabric pieces, determines a paper pieceable sewing order for the faces, and breaks complicated sketches into independently paper pieceable sections when necessary. A partial input design often admits multiple visually different completions. Thus, our tool lets designers specify completion heuristics, which are based on current quilt design practices, to control the appearance of the completed quilt. Initial user evaluations with novice and expert quilt designers suggest that our tool fits within current design workflows and greatly facilitates designing foundation paper pieceable quilts by allowing users to focus on the visual design rather than tedious constraint checks.

Sketching overview:
Fig. 1: Our quilt design tool fits the iterative workflow of quilt designers. A designer sketches a partial design as a set of edges representing outlines and details of the foreground shapes (a-e left images). Our completion algorithm converts the sketch into a foundation paper pieceable pattern (a-e right images), extending the edges and breaking the design into independently paper pieceable sections as necessary. A blue section edge for this design is marked in iterations (d) and (e).