As a quilter, you are likely accustomed to working on quilt patterns with a list of cutting instructions (a critical step in traditional patchwork). So, it can seem a bit overwhelming when you begin on a foundation paper pieced pattern without any cutting instructions at all. Deciding where and how to begin can be the most daunting step.
But there's good news! When piecing FPP patterns you don't have to cut as accurately as you usually do (phew!), but you DO need to know how to cut fabric for some unusual shapes.
In this tutorial, I'll be demonstrating how to complete templates B and C of The Square of Pegasus pattern using a technique known as cutting-as-you-go.
The two examples below are particularly interesting because they feature long angled sections that can seem tricky at first, but I've got some tips that'll make em' a breeze to complete.
Let's get to it!
(If you are looking for a more in-depth and general tutorial on how to foundation paper piece, you can find it here.)
Example 1: Template C of The Square of Pegasus
Step 1: Prepare Your Template
Learn how to prepare your foundation paper piecing templates here.
For templates with long, angled sections, use a ruler to draw an extension of the sewline (solid line) through the seam allowance. This will guide you when stitching along the sewline in later steps.
Step 2: Cutting the First Fabric Piece
The first section of template C is labelled as AC1, which requires a fabric A piece. We'll forego the cutting instructions in the pattern and rough cut a piece instead. To do this:
- Place the template, right side up, onto fabric A yardage. (If you're using patterned fabrics, the fabric should be right side down for this step only.)
- Rough cut a piece of yardage larger than section AC1. In this case, I rough cut a large rectangle. There must be a minimum of 1/4" around section 1. Pin the template to fabric A.
- Fold the template along sewline 1 (the solid line between sections 1 and 2), and prepare your 1/4" seam allowance above the fold. Learn how to prepare a seam allowance here. (I prefer to fold my templates toward me, which is why the template is upside down.)
Step 3: Cutting the Second Fabric Piece
The second section of template C is labelled as CB2, which requires a fabric C piece.
- With the template still folded, place it on top of fabric C yardage by matching the raw edge of the prepared seam allowance with a raw edge of the fabric B yardage. (If you're using patterned fabric, the fabric should be right side up for all remaining steps.)
- Rough cut a piece that is larger than the folded section 2. Move the template if needed.
- Below you can see what the fabric C piece looks like after rough cutting.
- Pin the template and fabrics together. Ensure the raw edges are aligned, and that there is fabric beneath each corner of section 2.
Step 4: Stitch Along Sewline 1
Adjust the stitch length on your sewing machine to 1.5 mm. Sew along the first sewline, including the drawn line in the seam allowance. Take a couple of stitches passed the second sewline into section 3.
Step 5: Press the Fabrics Open
Press the fabrics open, and confirm that sections 1 and 2 are covered by the fabrics.
Step 6: Prepare Your Next Seam Allowance
Fold the template along sewline 2, and prepare your 1/4" seam allowance.
Step 7: Auditioning Scrap Fabric
I often like to audition scrap pieces of fabric to determine whether they will work to complete a section of the template. Let's see how we might approach completing section 3 of template C using this method.
- Choose a fabric A scrap that, at first glance, appears to be big enough to cover section 3.
- With the template folded along sewline 2, place the scrap piece on top of the folded section by matching the raw edges of the prepared seam allowance with a raw edge of the scrap piece. Does it cover the folded portion of the template? In this case, it does, which means it will be sufficient to cover the section.
- Transfer the fabric piece behind the template and fabrics. Confirm that there is fabric beneath each corner of section 3.
Step 8: Test Your Placement
To confirm that the scrap is the correct size and that it's placed correctly, test your placement. Learn how to test your fabric placement here. Once you're happy with the placement, pin the fabric piece in place.
Step 9: Stitch Along Sewline 2
Step 10: Press the Fabrics Open and Trim
Press the fabrics open, and confirm that section 3 is covered. Trim the template to finish (learn how to trim your template here).
Example 2: Template B of The Square of Pegasus
I've completed all sections of template B except for section 9. Let's see how we can complete section 9 using the cutting-as-you-go method.
Step 1: Prepare Your Seam Allowance
Step 2: Cut Your Fabric
The ninth section of template B is labelled as AC9, which requires a fabric A piece. We'll forego the cutting instructions in the pattern and rough cut a piece instead.
- With the template folded along sewline 8, place it on top of fabric A yardage by matching the raw edge of the prepared seam allowance with a raw edge of the fabric A yardage. (If you're using patterned fabrics, the fabric should be right side up because this is not the first fabric piece sewn to the template).
- Check that each corner of the folded section has fabric beneath it before rough cutting. Move the template if needed.
- Unfold the template, and pin the template and fabric together.
Step 3: Stitch Along Sewline 8
Sew along the eighth (and final) sewline, including the seam allowances.
Step 4: Press Fabric Open and Trim
Press the fabric open, and confirm that section 9 is covered. Trim your template. Use any scraps to complete smaller sections of subsequent templates.
Repetition is the best teacher, so continue to practice the technique above until you become more confident with what to look for. Keep the following key steps in mind:
- The template should be folded along the appropriate sewline when rough cutting fabric for all sections 2 and up.
- Always match the raw edge of your yardage or scrap piece with the raw edge of your prepared seam allowance.
- Confirm that the folded section you are trying to complete has fabric beneath each of its corners before rough cutting.
- Test your fabric placement before stitching.
And finally, if you have any doubts whether your rough cut will be big enough - just go bigger!
Did you find this tutorial helpful? Let us know in the comments below.