How to Foundation Paper Piece the Easy Way

How to Foundation Paper Piece the Easy Way

  • "It's too hard."
  • "I tried it once but it just didn't click for me."
  • "I prefer fast and easy."

When you think of Foundation Paper Piecing, do any of these thoughts come to mind? 

If so, you're missing out on one of my favorite techniques for making quilts! Once you have a few basic tools and know the steps, we can make some really fun designs together.

To help you get excited about learning (or maybe re-learning) Foundation Paper Piecing, I've created a step-by-step video tutorial.

 

Ready to try it? Get my WORK OF HEART pattern free.

What is Foundation Paper Piecing?

When we Foundation Paper Piece (FPP), we sew onto a paper pattern. When the block is finished, we tear the paper off. 

Why I love Foundation Paper Piecing:

  • Very accurate
  • Create unusual shapes and angles
  • No need for templates or specialty rulers

Because of these, Foundation Paper Pieced blocks can be playful and expressive. Which is why I love it!

How to Foundation Paper Piece

Printing

When you print or copy your FPP block patterns, print onto a foundation paper. This paper is thin and light so it will tear away easily.

If you're printing from a digital file, make sure your printer is set NOT TO SCALE (or scale 100%).

Machine Set-up

Shorten your stitch length to 1/7-1.85 mm.

Piece 1

  1. Lay your fabric for Piece 1 on the back of the paper pattern, with the wrong side of the fabric facing the back side of the paper.
  2. Make sure it entirely covers the area for Piece 1 plus seam allowance.
  3. Pin the fabric to the paper.

Piece 2

  1. Find the line between Piece 1 and Piece 2. This is the seam you’ll be sewing.
  2. Lay the fabric for Piece 2 on the back of the paper to fully cover the Piece 2 area.
  3. Flip the Piece 2 fabric over this line so fabrics 1 and 2 are right-sides together. Make sure there’s enough fabric across the line for seam allowance.
  4. Pin the fabrics to the paper.
  5. Turn the paper over and sew on the pattern line between Piece 1 and Piece 2. Don’t backstitch.
  6. Fold the Piece 2 fabric back over the seam you just sewed. Make sure the fabric covers the entire space for Piece 2, plus seam allowance.
  7. Trim away any excess fabric along the seam, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.
  8. Press the seam with an iron or pressing tool.

Piece 3

  1. Lay the fabric for Piece 3 on the back of the paper to fully cover the Piece 3 area.
  2. Flip the fabric over the line that connects Piece 3 to your other fabrics. Make sure your fabrics are right-sides together. Pin in place.
  3. Turn your paper over and sew along the pattern line.
  4. Trim away any excess fabric along the seam, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.
  5. Press the seam.

Finishing the Block

  1. Repeat the Piece 3 steps to sew each Piece onto the block, one at a time, in numerical order.
  2. With a rotary cutter, trim the block along the outside dashed lines.
  3. Carefully remove the paper from the block and press.

 That's it! Ready to try it yourself?

Free Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern

Download my free WORK OF HEART mini quilt pattern and give it a try today!

Free Foundation Paper Piece Pattern

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