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Foundation Paper Piecing

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This tutorial will show you how to piece a traditional 4’’ Economy block using FPP, but of course, any other FPP block is pieced using just the same technique.

Before you get started:

- Print the Foundation Paper Piecing templates (link here) at “actual size”. Regardless of your computer set up, there will be a setting in the print menu to allow you to print at “actual size”. This part is crucial, as you want your templates to be just the right size, check by measuring the 1’’ test square.

- Shorten your stitch length to 1.5 (or about 20 stitches per inch) throughout the piecing and make sure you secure all your seams by backstitching at the beginning and end of every seam.

- Use your open toe sewing foot, if you have one.

- As soon as you feel more confident using FPP, it’s a great technique for precise fabric placement (also known as fussy cutting). As a beginner though, you might want to avoid directional or very graphic prints.

MATERIAL:

- Quilt pins with flower head (028 520)
- Prym Love Dressmaking scissors (610 541)
- Aqua glue marker (987 185)
- Prym Love Rotary cutter (610 473)
- Prym Love Rotating cutting mat (611 469)
- Patchwork ruler 60° triangle Multi (611 656)
- Universial ruler (611 317)
- Steam iron Mini (611 916)

- Print a couple templates and trim them roughly into approx. 6’’ squares (see picture above).
- Get your fabric ready (again, as soon as you are more confident you can also re-use your smaller scraps for piecing):
- 3’’ square (1x), 2’’ x 3’’ rectangle (4x) and 3’’ x 4.5’’ rectangle (4x)

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Piecing a 4’’ Economy block:

Take one of your paper templates and place it front of you, with the writing facing down. Now, take your 3’’ square and place it in the middle of your block right side facing up, so that section 1 is fully covered by fabric plus at least a 1/4’’ all around section 1. Make sure your fabric stays in place by adding a tiny dab of glue to the wrong side of the fabric and gently press it down.

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Now take a 2’’ x 3” rectangle and place it on top of your square, with the right side facing down. Both the right side of the square and the right side of the rectangle are now facing one another. Place the rectangle so that one of the 3’’ sides is overlapping the seam line between section 1 and 2 by about 1/4’’ and pin in place with a needle, just as shown in picture 2.

Tip: As soon as you become more comfortable with this technique, you can work without using needles and instead hold the pieces in place using only your fingers.

1-Foundation-Paper-Piecing-a-4-Economy-block5c9a046f570bc

Ensure the stitch length of your machine is shortened to 1.5 (or about 20 stitches per inch) and if you happen to have an open toe foot, this is a great opportunity to use it as it gives you a clear view over the lines you're about to sew on.

Flip your paper template with the square and rectangle over, so that the printed side of the template is facing up. Now sew exactly on top of the line that separates section 1 and 2, starting a couple stitches before and ending a couple stitches after the end of the line.

3-Flipping-the-Foundation-Paper-Piecing-template

Fold back section 2 of the template along the seam line (later always fold back the newest section that was just added). Place the template on your cutting mat, with the folded section 2 on top, as shown in picture 5. Now, trim back the seam allowance to 1/4’’ and discard the scraps. 

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Fold back section 2 of the template along the seam line (later always fold back the newest section that was just added). Place the template on your cutting mat, with the folded section 2 on top, as shown in picture 5. Now, trim back the seam allowance to 1/4’’ and discard the scraps. 

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Fold over the rectangle and press well. Do not use steam though, as your paper template might crinkle or even dissolve. Sections 1 and 2 are now finished.

6-Ironing-the-Foundation-Paper-Piecing-template

Take your second 2’’ x 3’’ rectangle and place it on top, right side facing down as shown in picture 7. Repeat steps 2-5 to piece section 3. 

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Repeat until all sections are pieced. Trim your block along the dotted line and you're done. 

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Tip: Don’t remove your paper just yet as the templates will also help as a guide to piece all the blocks together. When you're finished piecing your quilt top or cushion you can now remove the paper with the help of tweezers.

Laura Cunningham created this foundation paper-tutorial. If you are looking for more quilting inspiration check out her Instagram account!

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FPP-Template

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  • Thank you for sharing this tutorial. It looks really fun! I can't seem to get the link to work. Can you check it and let me know if there's something I need to do different to get it to download? Thank you.

  • Where can we find the template? It says (link here) but there's nothing linked. Thanks!

  • The link to the PDF pattern is not there where it is supposed to be linked.

  • Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial. I am having one issue though - the link to the templates doesn't seem to be there. This could be me having an issue. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks again.

  • The link to the PDF pattern is not there where it is supposed to be linked.