I am working on the Batik project and I thought it might be a good time to talk about foundation piecing.
Paper foundation piecing is very popular these days but it is nothing new. This vintage top used Montgomery Ward catalog pages as the paper foundation
Older quilts often used Muslin as the foundation…this partially finished quilt used muslin foundation.
Here is the back of one of the pieces.
When using fabric as the foundation it is left on….paper is removed
These vintage string star blocks were paper foundation pieced but the paper was removed after they were made.
I am using paper and I remove the paper when the block is finished. Some people will leave the paper on until the entire top is done.
Today I am working on the borders
here is the plan that I designed on the computer
you can see that the border has a lot of long narrow points. the advantage of foundation piecing is that the foundation prevents the fabric from stretching and becoming distorted as it is sewn. This makes for much greater accuracy. In my vintage and antique quilts I really don’t worry too much about accuracy, but for this quilt I thought I would try to be as accurate as I can.
I start by printing the pattern. Computers make quilting so much easier! In the past the patterns would need to be traced onto the paper.
I hate to waste fabric and one of the drawbacks of foundation paper piecing is that there is a lot of waste from all the bits that are trimmed of. Since all the pieces in the border blocks are the same size I was able to pr-cut the pieces. I had to do some figuring to get the size right and it worked out that if I cut 2.5 inch strips and then cut them in half on the diagonal I have the pieces the right size with very little waste.
next I arrange the pieces in the order I plan to sew them
I pin the pieces to the paper before I sew. I line up the piece 1/4 inch beyond the line (1/4 inch seam allowance) and pin in place
The fabric goes on the back of the paper so that it fits into A1 The next piece is pinned on so that after it is sewn on and pressed it will cover the next area (A2)
sew on the line then press open….this is how it looks on the finished side
Now I trim the piece in A2 so that there is 1/4 inch seam allowance on the long side by folding the paper up to the line and trimming the overhang…and then pin the next piece in place
sew that one down and press it open
and then fold the paper back to the line
and trim to 1/4 inch
fold the paper back to flat and add the next piece
sew and press
fold back and trim
keep adding new pieces
until they are all added
Looks like a bit of a mess until it is trimmed. It is important in the block that I did not sew beyond the line at the top (where the large purple piece will be added)
I fold back the paper at that line
and trim that overhanging fabric to 1/4 inch and then fold back the paper
Now I can add that big piece…make sure it fits
pin in place
sew and press open
now flip it over
trim all the edges
and it is done. here are a few of them finished in place
I partially made one block before I realized I was doing it wrong. I had reversed the order of the pieces….see how it doesn’t fit with the others
the points go the wrong direction. It can be easy to get it wrong because the sewing is all done from the back of the paper.
I should also mention that I turn the stitch length to almost as short as I can for this. The smaller stitch length gives the paper more holes so it is easier to rip the paper off…it breaks easily along the stitch lines with all those little holes.