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National Sewing Month 2012: Foundation Paper Pieceing Tutorial

There are only a few more days left in our special National Sewing Month blog series. Today’s post is awesome because you’ll learn a new technique and be walked through each step along the way! If you’re interested in winning our mystery grand prize, all you have to do is leave a comment under any of the posts that include National Sewing Month 2012 in the headline. That’s it! We’re choosing a winner this Saturday and trust us, you want it to be you so comment away.


To learn more about Jennifer and to find her entire project list, visit her designer profile.



Hi! I’m Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane Quilts, and I’m excited to be guest blogging at Fave Crafts Blog today! Since it’s National Sewing Month, I’m  sharing one of my all-time favorite techniques with you today.

Yep, that’s right- foundation paper piecing. Come on, you can DO it!
It is super easy and once you give it a try, you’ll totally agree.
Why paper piecing? Well, it is easy, fun and helps you create complex blocks with ease.

Ready to give it a shot? Let’s get started!

For this block you will need to print a copy of the pattern. You can find the pattern here.
Supplies needed: 
  • pattern
  • rotary cutter
  • cutting mat
  • fabric
  • ruler (I love the Add-A-Quarter ruler but a regular quilting ruler will be fine.)
  • fabric glue stick such as Lapel Stick
This pattern creates a 4″ finished block.I print my patterns on cheapo copy paper. If you use a 1.5 stitch length then you won’t have any trouble tearing away your paper after you finish.
The biggest thing to remember when paper piecing is that your fabric needs to be bigger than the pattern on all sides.  The fabric needs to have at least a quarter inch seam allowance of overhang on all sides.
When foundation paper piecing, you sew right through the paper along the solid lines.
Fabric selection: For your center fabric, choose something fun, something you can fussy cut.
1. Hold your pattern to the light or window with your center fabric behind the pattern. Center your fabric as desired and dab a bit of glue stick on the back of the pattern (wrong side) on top of the #1. Place your fabric wrong sides together with the pattern.
Placing your fabric face down on the mat, line up your ruler and trim the corner off your fabric leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Lay your pink rectangle fabric underneath the center fabric, lining it up with the corner seam allowance. You are going to sew the pieces together through the paper and flip the pink fabric over the corner of the pattern. You must make sure your fabric covers the pattern with enough overhang to have a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Tip: It is always better to use bigger pieces of fabric. You don’t want to come up short!
Place your pattern, print side up and fabric underneath, on your machine, unfold the corner and sew through the solid straight line between sections 1 & 2.
Be sure to decrease your stitch length to 1.5!
Start just inside the seam allowance and sew along the solid line. Do not backstitch!


Press your fabric. (Don’t iron back and forth. Just press.)
This is what you should have now.
Now, fold the pattern again, this time along the line between sections 1 & 3.
Trim the corner, again leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Line up your pink fabric and center fabric and sew through the top of the pattern, along the solid line.
This is the back. You are sewing on the printed side of the pattern. Your fabric is beneath the paper.
Repeat the process for corners 3 & 4.  This is what you should have now!
Trim your pattern and fabric, along the dashed lines.
Carefully tear away the paper, holding steady to your stitches as you pull the paper off.
Once you’ve made this simple block, you can easily make the spinning star block below. (6″ Pattern here)
You could make this too! All the blocks in this quilt were paper pieced.
Now that you have your 4″ block, you can create more to make a mini quilt or turn that one block into a mug rug as I did.
There are lots of options with foundation paper piecing. I hope you’ll give it a try!
I’d love for you to check out my blog and my other tutorials too. Happy Sewing!