Category Archives: paper piecing

Valentine’s Day project: foundation paper piecing for beginners with free heart pattern video tutorial

Video tutorial: foundation paper piecing for beginners - Heart free pattern

A new block today using one my favourite patchwork techniques: foundation paper piecing.

Finished block size: 7 1/4 inch square.

Free pattern

How to make the heart foundation paper piecing block

This is a short 4 minute video tutorial showing how you do foundation paper piecing:

Close up of heart block

Video tutorial: foundation paper piecing for beginners - Heart free pattern

You can make a mini quilt or a full quilt. Mix and match colours. Use your fabric scraps to make this heart block.

Video tutorial: foundation paper piecing for beginners - Heart free pattern

Possible quilt design

Video tutorial: foundation paper piecing for beginners - Heart free pattern

“Constructivist” envelope cushion cover

The finished cushion is 16 inch square.

Download Chevron block pattern (pdf). You will need to make 2 patterns (2 pieces per pattern). Print pattern on printer paper.

The block is a beginner paper pieced block. If you’ve never done paper piecing, this block is easy enough to learn the technique.

How to make the chevron block

Whatch  a short 3.45 minutes video that demonstrates how to make this pattern using foundation paper piecing.

Materials

Front of the cushion

Cut for each of the four pieces you need to complete two blocks:

  • Area 1: One 5 1/2 inch to 6 inch square cut in the diagonal into 2 triangles (yellow)
  • Area  2: Two 2 inch x 7 1/2 inch strip in charcoal
  • Area 3: Two 2 inch x 7 1/2 inch strip in beige
  • Area  4: One 5 1/2 inch to 6 inch square cut in the diagonal into 2 triangles (white)
  • One 5 1/4 inch x 16 1/2 inch rectangle in yellow and another one in white

Batting and backing

  • One 17 inch square piece of batting
  • One 17 inch square piece of fabric

Back of the cushion

Cut:

  • One 12 inch x 16 1/2 inch rectangle in yellow
  • One 10 x 16 1/2 inch rectangle in white

Making the cover

First make the pattern twice and lay the pieces in a chevron pattern as shown on the picture.

Stitch the 4 pieces together and remove the paper pattern.

Stitch a rectangle in yellow and a white one on each side of the chevron row  matching the colours (see photo below).

Press well.

The next step is optional but I prefer quilted cushions.

Now make a quilt sandwich by placing the fabric backing right side down, the piece of batting on top and the front of the cushion on top.

I quilted the piece along the chevron lines using my quilting foot to mandate the spacing between lines. The spacing is about 1/2 inch wide.

You don’t need to quilt the whole surface. I didn’t.

When finished, trim batting and backing to 16 1/2 inch square.

To make the back of the cushion, take the two rectangles for the back and make a 1/4 inch fold along the edge of each rectangle and press.

Stitch along using a zig zag stitch.

Place the front of the cushion side up, then place the yellow rectangle on top, right side down. The folded edge should face the middle of the cushion (see photo below).

Make sure the colour matches with the yellow on the front.

Place the white piece on top in the same way.

Pin well and stitch all around the square leaving 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Trim the corners to reduce bulk.

Turn inside out.

Voilà!

Video tutorial: foundation paper piecing for beginners

Since I started doing my Dear Jane quilt using foundation paper piecing, I have been saying how easy paper piecing is and how perfect blocks turn out.

It may be a bit tricky to understand at first, that is why this tutorial uses solid fabrics. This makes it even easier. Judge by yourself and let me know what you think.

The video lasts for 3.45 minutes. It is short and sweet.

If you want to try foundation paper piecing, download the Chevron block pattern (pdf) and print it on plain printer paper. The pattern has two pieces which are mirror of each other.

To help you with measurements, for the two sides of the block, I cut:

  • Area 1: One 5 1/2 inch to 6 inch square cut in the diagonal into 2 triangles (yellow)
  • Area  4: One 5 1/2 inch to 6 inch square cut in the diagonal into 2 triangles (white)
  • Area  2: Two 2 inch x 7 1/2 inch strip in charcoal
  • Area 3: Two 2 inch x 7 1/2 inch strip in beige

I made two full blocks with the intention of doing something with them though I still haven’t decided what I will make.

I haven’t decided on the placement either. Which one do you prefer?

Download Chevron block pattern (pdf)

Placement 1

Placement 2

Placement 3

Placement 4

Foundation piecing tutorial with lots of photos

This block has a step by step tutorial that demonstrates how to make the block above but before I go ahead, if you’re new to foundation piecing maybe you want to start with some other simpler blocks. If not, just scroll down until you find the tutorial for this block.

Learning foundation piecing

Start with easy and simple blocks like this one:

Scrappy heart potholder tutorial: this was my first encounter with this technique. Easy but confusing. Then build a bit more of complexity into it but not too much. Keep it simple.

Foundation piecing teapot potholder pattern: this was my second foundation piecing work. Gradually select more challenging blocks like this one:

Foundation piecing step by step: this is when I started to get serious about properly learning foundation piecing.

So I also made the Caldonia pattern (pdf).

And the Icky Thump pattern (pdf). If you want more of a challenge by now, just use small blocks.

The challenge in these two blocks is in their size, particularly the orange one: Tiny foundation piecing pincushions with free template.

After these exercises, I embarked into a far more challenging paper foundation piecing: a Dear Jane quilt.

How to do foundation paper piecing

You can learn the principles of foundation piecing on this 2 minute video. These principles can be applied to any foundation piecing blocks no matter how complex they are.

Step by step foundation piecing tutorial

The block, by six two seven handworks, is called Global Concepts (pdf) and it’s free.

Print the template. You will need to print the pdf 4 times. Cut roughly the pieces like below. I  don’t cut all the way down to the line because I like to trim the paper and fabric together at the end. I coloured in the pieces beforehand so I wouldn’t not make any mistakes. Also you can also experiment with colour placement. For instance I decided to highlight the star in the centre giving it a 3D look whereas on the pdf pattern the focus is not so much on the centre star but the surrounding pieces. If you’re not quite sure about colours, a safe bet is using complementary colours. In brief, in a colour wheel complementary colours are opposites.

Now cut your fabric. To cut the fabric measure the widest part of the area to cover and the height, including seam allowances. Add 1/4 in for good measure. I came up with the following:

  • Piece 1 – 3in  x 6 1/2 in – cut 4 pieces in colour 1 and 4 pieces in colour 2. This is for the star in the centre.
  • Piece 2 – 2in x 5 1/4 in – cut 8 pieces
  • Piece 3 – 2 x 5 1/4 in – cut 8 pieces
  • Piece 4 – 2  x 5 3/4 in – cut 8 pieces
  • Piece 5 – 2 1/4 x 7 in – cut 8 pieces (if you’re careful placing this piece you may be able to use one piece to cover 2 triangles)

Now fold along each line as per picture below.

The easiest way to do this is to use a thin piece of cardboard as your guide. The fold will help you to trim off excess fabric at each step.

So let’s start. Three things to remember:

  • all pieces are placed at the back of the paper
  • all pieces are stitched from the front of the paper
  • the first piece of fabric you place goes right side up and all the others go wrong side up

First piece Place the piece on the back of the paper, right side of the fabric up, making sure the whole surface of piece 1 is covered including the seam allowance. Pin so the piece doesn’t move.

Turn around.

Now fold the paper along fold 1. This is what the folds are for! You could do this as you go but it’s a lot easier to do all the folds before you start. So we’re going to trim off excess fabric.

Place your ruler as per picture leaving 1/4 in seam allowance.
Cut excess fabric and unfold. Turn over.
Piece number 2 Now, take the next rectangle and place it on top of piece number 1 as per picture with right sides of the fabric facing together. Make sure the edges are aligned and that when turned over the piece will cover all of area 2 including seam allowances. Pin.
Turn piece over and stitch along the line between 1 and 2.
First two pieces are stitched together.

Turn over and voilà!

Now piece number 2 needs trimming. Turn piece over.

And fold the paper back on fold 2.

Again, place the ruler leaving 1/4 in seam allowance as per picture.

Trim off excess fabric.

And piece 2 is done! Piece number 3 Place the piece on top of piece 2 right sides facing together and pin.

Turn over and stitch along the line.

Turn over and fold paper back.

Trim off excess fabric.

Piece number 4 Let’s do it again. Place piece 4 aligned with piece 3, wrong side of fabric 3 up. Pin.

Stitch along the line.

Turn piece over and fold paper back.

Trim off excess fabric.

Piece number 5 You can see with piece number 5 the fabric is placed with wrong side up.

Stitch along the line.

Trim off fabric around the three edges on the dashed line.

First piece out of 8 is done.

Stitch all pieces together to make this 12 1/4 in block.

I’ll be making this block into a pot holder. It makes a very nice gift for any occasion.