Foundation Paper Piecing Basics

If you’re a quilter, you are probably familiar with foundation paper piecing.  If not, you’ve likely seen the technique used, you just didn’t know how it was done.  It makes the most intimidating designs with tiny pieces manageable.  Basically, foundation paper piecing is sewing fabric onto a paper pattern in a specific order to create a picture or design.  This wall hanging from Quiltmaker is a good example (all of the blocks can be downloaded on their site).

Seasons and Celebrations from Quiltmaker

For me, paper piecing is like driving a stick shift.  I know how to do it, but so much time passes in between that I have to refresh my memory every time before I get started.  If you’ve never tried paper piecing, or need a reminder like me, this video from Crafty Gemini is one of the best I’ve seen.  It’s simple, but all of the important points are there.  There is also a good video from Connecting Threads.  If you’d rather read that watch, check out the aptly named series from The Littlest Thistle – Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified

Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified from The Littest Thistle

The reason I’m bringing up foundation paper piecing today is that I’ll be sharing a project on Wednesday that uses the technique.  I’ve give you a hint…it’s Coffee Sleeve of the Month time again!

I wanted to try out a small project before I tackled my coffee sleeve, so I decided to make a Confetti Star Block from During Quiet Time on Craftsy.  It’s piecing in sections, then the sections are joined, which is similar to my pattern.  I’ll tell you right now, some people are really good at cutting their pieces with a minimum amount of waste, but I am not those people.  My pieces are big and sloppy.

Foundation Paper Piecing - Crafty Staci 1

I followed the directions that came with the pattern, which involved building each of the four sections.  One thing I re-learned on my first row of stitching is that you have to make sure each piece is going to cover it’s intended area, which may involve some planning, such as turning this one so it would be oriented correctly when it’s flipped back.

Foundation Paper Piecing - Crafty Staci 2

I assembled each section, which gave me this.

Foundation Paper Piecing - Crafty Staci 3

I left the paper attached to sew the sections together, but I think I would remove it next time.  It was a little tricky getting some of it out of the seams.  Also, when the instructions tell you to shorten your stitch length, don’t forget to do it.  It makes removing the paper MUCH easier.

Foundation Paper Piecing - Crafty Staci 4

After I removed all of the paper and gave it a good, final press, I was pretty happy with the result.

Foundation Paper Piecing - Crafty Staci 5

A closer view reveals that some of my corners didn’t match up perfectly, but I still think it’s cute enough to use somewhere.

Foundation Paper Piecing - Crafty Staci 6

Are you ready to try a foundation paper pieced coffee cup sleeve?  Great…I’ll see you on Wednesday!