An Illustrated Guide to Foundation Paper Piecing

foundation paper pieceing tutorial

Many Ships & Violins patterns feature foundation paper pieced (FPP) elements. The technique is widely used by quilt pattern designers to create intricate and unique designs.

I've compiled an illustrated guide for you if you're looking to try FPP for your first time or if you need a simple refresher. Either way, I hope that it gives you the confidence to tackle that FPP pattern that you've had your eye on!

Note: The  guide features template 1A from The Drop quilt. The same method can be applied to any FPP template, however the reference to the fabric pieces will change. 

Let's begin...

Step 1: With Template 1A print side facing up, place a CG rectangle, right side facing down, beneath section CG1 of the template as shown in the figure below. The number 1 in CG1 means that the fabric piece CG will be the first sewn to the template; the first piece is always placed right sides facing down. Ensure the rectangle lies beyond the entire perimeter of the section. Pin in place. 


How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting


Step 2: The number 2 in AA2 means that the fabric piece AA will be the second sewn to the template. Fold the template toward you along the line between sections CG1 and AA2. Trim the CG rectangle to 0.25in above the fold as shown below.

 

How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting

 

Step 3: Place a AA rectangle, right side facing up, along the trimmed edge as shown in Fig 11. Ensure the rectangle lies beyond the left and right edges of section AA2. Unfold the template, and pin in place.

How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting

 

Step 4: Shorten your stitch length. Begin to sew within the seam allowance along the line between sections CG1 and AA2. Backstitch to secure. Continue sewing along the line, and backstitch to finish. 

Step 5: Fold the template along the stitch line and confirm the seam allowance has remained approximately 0.25in. Press the AA rectangle open. Ensure that the strip covers the entirety of section AA2 as shown below. Re-sew if required.

 

How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting

 

Step 6: With the template print side facing up, fold along the line between sections AA2 and CF3/ Trim fabric to 0.25in above the fold as shown below.

How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting

 

Step 7: Place a CF rectangle, right side facing up, along the trimmed edge. Ensure the rectangle lies beyond the entire perimeter of the section CF3 as shown below. Unfold the template. Pin in place.

How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting

 

Step 8: Sew along the line between sections AA2 and CF3. Backstitching at the start and end.

Step 9: Fold the template along the stitch line and confirm the seam allowance has remained approximately 0.25in. Press the CG rectangle open.

Step 10: Trim each template by removing the largest scraps first as shown below. Keep scraps for later. Mark the wrong side of your solid fabrics.

 

How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting

 

Step 11: Remove paper before assembling, if preferred. Label pieces if required.

 

How to Foundation Paper Piece in Quilting

Illustrations by Cristina De Miranda.


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