I encourage everyone to try paper-piecing, but don't start with this block! lol It's not a true paper-pieced block, because near the end of construction there are four inset seams that have to be "dealt with".
One of the reasons I enjoy paper-piecing now is that I no longer try to use the absolute smallest bits of fabric that will cover the pattern. Nothing is more frustrating than sewing a line, then having the fabric not cover like it is supposed to. Also, a little prep-work makes the whole process go smoothly.
To prepare, I measure the widest part of each shape, then add .5" for both seam allowances and another .5" for slop. If the piece is on the outer edge, it gets another .25" for block "shrinkage". I describe how I cut the fabric here.
To save time, I chain stitch units whenever possible. For these tiny blocks I don't bother with using starch. And since my fabric is plenty big, I don't mess with pins either; actually, I think pins just distort blocks this small.
These blocks are ready to be trimmed. I like to do them factory style. It's all too easy to forget to trim, and after you've sewn the next seam, well, then it's just too late.
Here they are, all trimmed. There is a small amount of waste from using slightly over-sized pieces of fabric, but it makes life so much easier!
These squares don't look like they need much trimming at all.
This Dear Jane block had lots of very tiny units.
I think really good pressing is the most neglected step in quilting. I see it all the time, but I'm not the quilt police, so I don't say anything. On tiny blocks like these, though, you really have to make pressing a priority.
After "melding" the stitching, I finger press the seams. I use a small white press cloth to avoid getting the blocks grubby, and really spread those seams wide open.
The same cloth does double duty with my Clover iron. I've scorched muslin with the Clover on high, so I set it to medium and use a press cloth. So far, this has kept my blocks "scorch-free" despite heavy pressing.
Here are the center units, all firmly pressed and awaiting either a trim or their next attachment.
All the center unit sewing is done, now to join the inner units. With Dear Jane blocks, it's always good to have the original pattern nearby for consultation. These bits go together pretty easily, though dealing with units of one piece (and therefore, NO seams) is a bit tricky. Another good reason not to make this block your first paper-pieced project. lol
All that was left was to "log cabin" the outer white "logs," and trim it to size. Thirty-three pieces in a 5.5" square and it's not even the most complicated block in row A. That Jane Stickle had a real sense of humor.
Here it is, all done. This makes two very tricky blocks in a row. I'm glad A-12 is plain old simple paper-piecing.