Category Archives: sewing

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.

Step by step foundation piecing tutorial

The block, by six two seven handworks, is called Global Concepts (pdf) and it’s free. Wombat quilts also has a selection of free foundation piecing blocks you can use instead of this one. 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.  

Easter crafty projects

Easter bunny basket

Do you have a lot of fabric scraps? This is your project then. I recommend using stronger interfacing for the ears, something you’d use for a handbag, to keep them up longer.

Funny bunny softie

I made this softie a long time ago but it’s still cute. It is easy enough as your first softie.

 

Spring chicken

This is a very funny chicken softie. The pieces a very large so it’s very easy and quick to make. It makes a great gift all year round too.

Romantic floral lap quilt free pattern: easy pattern for beginners

This quilt is as easy as it gets. The blocks are easy four patch. To make it even easier use pre cut charm squares.

For tips on how to sew accurately this block if you’re a beginner quilter, check out Quilt basics article. There is a section called Matching Intersecting Seams half way down the article that shows how to make the perfect 4 patch block.

Quilt finished size: 41 3/4 in x 53 1/4 in.

Materials

  • 2 charm packs (usually each pack contains 42 x 5 in squares) or 80 x 5 inch fabric squares
  • 1 yard of cream fabric for sashing
  • 45 in x 55 in backing fabric
  • 45 in x 55 in quilt batting
  • half yard for binding. You will need a long strip 2 in x 192 in

Instructions

This quilt has 20 four patch blocks.

Arrange the charm squares to your liking ensuring there’s enough contrast in the chosen fabrics.

You will be making 20 blocks like this one:

Stitch left and right squares together in two rows. Then stitch both rows together.

Once you have all 20 four patch blocks stitched, it’s time to add the sashing.

Cut and add the sashing

For the sashing you’ll need to cut

  • three 3 in x 53 1/4 in strips and
  • sixteen 3 in x 9 in strips.

Now let’s add the sashing.

Before you start, arrange the placement of the blocks on a flat surface.

Now take one block and  stitch a short strip to the bottom of the block.

Add the next block, and another short strip.

Do this 5 times until you have stitched 5 blocks in a column. Ensure that there is no sashing at the top and bottom of each column.

Do the steps above for make 3 more columns.

Now stitch the 4 columns using the long strips as per picture.

 

You’re almost done.

You just need to cut the batting and the backing fabric and quilt the three pieces together.

Machine binding

I have been machine binding my quilts lately. It takes a small fraction of time as compared to slip stitching them at the back.

To machine bind a quilt, you need to place the binding on the back of the quilt, aligned to the edge of the quilt, as opposed to stitching it to the front first.

For small lap quilts I don’t use binding cut on the bias but just cut straight from across the grain of the fabric.

To start, cut a strip about 225 in x 2 1/2 in. You’ll need to cut several strips and piece them together to obtain this length.

Fold the strip in half and iron well.

Take the quilt on the back and place the raw edge of the strip aligned with the quilt edge.

Mitered corners

Stitch all the way to the corner stopping at 1/4 in from the edge.

Now fold the strip up in a 45 degree angle as per picture.

Then fold the strip back aligning the fold with the top edge as per picture. Pin.

Now stitch all the way to the end again, stopping at 1/4 from the corner and do the same again for the next corner.

Once you have done the stitching your top will look like this.

Now fold the strip back over the top of the quilt. The binding will cover the raw edge all the way to covering the stitching line.

When you reach a corner, with your finger fold the mitred corner as per picture.  First fold in a 90 degree angle the binding at the corner.

And then fold back again as per picture making sure you align both corners.

Pin the whole quilt binding this way.

And now top stitch as close to the edge as possible.

The binding is done.

 

The quilt is finished!