Foundation Paper Piecing
Hello! My name is Tamara and I am excited to share tips with you about Foundation Paper Piecing today! I am the pattern designer of Sewing Queen Quilts. Currently, I reside in Minnesota with my hubby and two dogs. Recently, I graduated from Elizabeth’s Pattern Writing Course and Craft to Career Course. I’m thrilled to be the guest blogger this month.
How I Became Interested In The Sewing World
When I was 7 years old, my journey into the sewing world began. My mom, who was a seamstress, taught me how to sew. In my early years, she made most of my sister’s and my clothes. When I got to the age where I was interested in sewing my own clothes, she taught me the basics and I joined 4-H. If you’re not familiar with 4-H, it’s a youth club that allows participants to choose different projects that interest them and then study them intently. Sewing was the one subject that I did every year, all year long. Through my mom and 4-H, I learned how to create garments using patterns and eventually learned how to design my own patterns and clothes. Once I reached junior high I made a lot of my own clothes. In college I worked in the theater department making costumes for various productions.
My Quilting JOurney
However, my journey into quilting didn’t begin until I had children. My husband’s grandma was a lifelong quilter and she made baby quilts for my children. I was fascinated with the process and how she created such beautiful quilts. When I started, I did simple block quilts for my kids’ beds. I also got a set of books to teach me how to do more complicated quilts. There wasn’t YouTube back then, so I spent a lot of time researching pattern books. Over the years I have continued to do both garment sewing
Foundation Paper Piecing
Let’s get started! I will share with you how you can use foundation paper for your quilting projects.
The Perfect Block
Sometimes when we are in our sewing room, the perfect block seems impossible. There are even times when we spend more time with our seam ripper than the sewing machine. It can be a frustrating part of the process when we are working on our quilts. While I believe you can’t achieve perfection every time, there is a way to get close. It’s with foundation paper! I use this method to give me the perfection I crave, without causing me to go crazy to get there. Let me show you how you can use this in your sewing room.
What is foundation paper?
Foundation paper piecing or FPP, is used to create pieced units or blocks that are all the same size and have perfectly matched intersections. Some of you may be familiar with English paper piecing or EPP. There is a difference between the two. FPP is done with a sewing machine and the paper cannot be reused. EPP is done by hand and you can reuse the templates. FPP can come in pads or rolls and you use the paper as a guide while you are sewing your block together. Foundation paper is thin paper that can be easily ripped when you are done with your piece or block. There are different brands on the market. I use the foundation paper created by Fat Quarter Shop. It is a well made product that is easy to use. Below are some examples of what I have in my sewing room.
How to Use Them
When I’m starting my project, I look over the pattern directions and see where I might be able to add paper to make construction easier. In the blocks below I used triangles on a roll and flying geese paper. Both types come in different sizes. When I look at my pattern I determine what the unfinished size is of the HST or flying geese. I pick a paper that is slightly bigger than that unfinished size so that I can trim it to the correct size. Once I determine the paper I want to use, I follow the directions given on the paper to cut my fabric. After the fabric is cut for that piece of the block, I make sure to either mark off my pattern that I cut the fabric already for that piece, or mark the paper along with the fabric with a letter corresponding with that piece(s). Once I have my fabric cut for the paper, I cut the rest of the fabric for my block. Finally, once your fabric is all cut you can continue with your construction of your block. Note that when you are sewing your pieces together you will use a short stitch length. I use a 1.6 stitch length when using PPF. Using the shorter stitch length will allow for easier removal of the paper.
This is an example of what the pieces look like before you take off the paper and after the paper is off. The lines on the paper are your stitching lines. Once you have stitched on all the lines you take off the paper and you have a finished piece for your block!
Foundation Paper Blocks
There are also foundation papers for a whole block. Most of what is available is traditional blocks, log cabin, economy block, etc. You can make a whole quilt with one type of block or mix them up. The process to use them is the same as above. Below is a quilt I made by mixing them together to create a star.
HST’s, flying geese, and traditional blocks are just a small part of the FPP world. There are many books that teach you how to make various shapes with FPP. There are even some designers that show you how to make animals and people with FPP. I encourage you to checkthem out, they are gorgeous quilts
Now it’s your turn to try FPP. I have created a quilt pattern where you can use triangles on a roll paper. It’s an easy and quick pattern to learn on and give you the confidence to try on other patterns you have purchased.
You can find it on my website at sewingqueenquilts.com.
It’s called Sunset Stroll. The size triangle paper you will need is 2 ½” or larger. If you want to trim for a more precise HST, I would recommend using 3” paper. However, if you don’t like a lot of waste then stick with 2 ½”.
I’m offering an exclusive discount to all of you until the end of July. Type in
QUILTERSCANDYBLOG, at check out and you will receive 15% off the Sunset Stroll pattern.
I hope you give FPP a try in your sewing room. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to make fun, beautiful quilts.
If you’re interested in following me on my quilting journey, you can find me on
Or on my website: sewingqueenquilts.com
Michele Stephanie Ehlert-Peckham