An Update and Foundation Paper Piecing

Well…. so much has happen since we last spoke, hasn’t it?

This whole pandemic thing has really changed some of our lives hasn’t it? I hope that you’re OK and haven’t been too badly effected.

It’s certainly strange times and boy! aren’t we glad we have our crafting, to help keep us calm and take our mind off things.

Many of us have put our sewing skills to good use, making scrubs and masks – I made some scrubs bags (my dress-making skills are not that good). For many people life has carried on as ‘normal’ – medical staff, care-worker, supermarket staff, delivery drivers and utility workers, all for whom I’m so grateful. I was furloughed for 14 weeks but am now back at work, which feels a little strange at times – it’s feels quite unusual to try to chat to customers with a face covering on and I have even more admiration for medical staff who have to have full PPE on for up to thirteen hours at a time!

I have been working with Natasha on her show Natasha Makes and have been doing some designing and demonstrating – this week I demonstrated the Star Tile wall hanging/mini quilt and used the Creative Grids Kitty Cornered ruler to create the unit to make the ‘Star ‘ block, but I also gave the templates to make the units using template plastic or foundation paper piecing.

Star Tile Quilt
Star Block
Star Quarter Unit

I only gave basic instructions in my pattern for Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP), so I thought I would share some more detailed instructions for those who have never tried FPP before.

Foundation Paper Piecing can be a little daunting when seeing it for the first time, as it’s a different way of doing patchwork, working on a foundation , usually paper, but you can use fabric or light-weight interfacing.

You will usually need to print or trace the pattern onto paper and the instructions will tell you how many – use the thinnest/ cheapest paper you can – you can buy foundation paper, but economy printer paper works just as well.

Trim your pattern around the edge leaving a gap around the line for the seam allowance

Foundation Paper Piecing Template

Following the numbers on the pattern starting with one, cut a piece of fabric that will cover the shape with a generous seam allowance

fabric covering area 1

Turn the paper over and pin the shape to the paper so that it covers that area – hold the paper up to the light so that you can check you’ve got it in the right place – remember you need to have fabric going past the shape lines for seam allowance

pin the fabric to the reverse side of the pattern

Flip the paper back over and cut the piece of fabric to cover shape 2

Turn the paper over and cut a piece of fabric to cover area 2

Turn the paper over and place the second piece of fabric right-side together on top of fabric one, so that the edge of fabric one and two are together ready to seam and hold together with your fingers, turn the paper back to the printed side and place a pin along the line between area 1 & 2 (this will be the seam line), pinning through the two fabrics.

pin along the line
pin the fabrics together

Turn fabric 2 back to make sure that it still covers area two and covers the seam allowance around the the area, flip it back down and turn the paper over and pin the fabric down with pins adjacent to the line, ready to sew

pin ready to sew

Sew along the solid line between area 1 & 2, using a smaller stitch length than normal (on my machine I use 22) and starting and finishing in the seam allowance area

sew along the line

Turn the paper over and check again that the fabric covers area two and into the seam allowance. Fold the paper back from the fabric, so that the seam allowance is exposed

fold the paper away

Place the 1/4 inch mark of your ruler along the seam line and trim any excess fabric away

trim the seam allowance

Fold the paper back down and turn over to the un-printed side and fold fabric two back and flat against the paper, you might want to press it down to get it nice and flat, pin the fabric to the paper, to prevent it flopping about

fold the paper back
pin fabric 2 down

cut a piece of fabric to cover area 3, making sure it cover at least a 1/4 inch over fabric 1 and into the seam allowance

cut fabric to cover area 3 and seam allowances

Turn the paper over and place fabric 3 right-sides together over fabric 1 and hold in place and turn the paper back to the printed side and pin along the solid line, through the two fabrics

pale fabric right-sides together over fabric 1 lining up edges
pin along the solid line

Flip the paper over and fold the fabric back to check that it still covers area 3 and the seam allowance, fold it back again ready to sew. Turn the paper back to the printed side and pin through the paper and fabrics adjacent to the solid line between area 1 and area 3.

check that the fabric covers area 3 and seam allowance.

Sew along the solid line between area 1 and 3, starting and finishing in the seam allowance.

sew along the seam line between A1 and A3

Fold the paper away from the fabric and trim a 1/4 inch seam.

Fold the paper back & trim the seam allowance

Fold the paper flat again and turn it over to the fabric side, fold and press the fabric back to cover area 3 and pin in place.

fold and press the fabric back and pin the loose edge

Turn the paper over to the printed side. Lengthen the stitch on your machine to the largest you can (it’s only tacking, so needs to be easy to remove) and sew around the square in the seam allowance quite close to the edge.

sew around the square in the seam allowance

Trim the square on the fine line which is the edge of the seam allowance.

Trim the excess paper & fabric along the edge of the seam allowance line.

This is one quarter of your star unit, you will need to have four to make the block. Sew two quarters together and the sew the two halves together, you can use the sold line as a stitching guide.

one quarter unit of the Star Block

Once you have made your block, you can then remove the paper, taking care not to pull the seams – I use a dampened cotton bud to run over the line of stitching on the paper side, this softens the paper and makes it easier to remove.

I hope that you will give this method of patchworking a try, you can create some really intricate designs. I’d recommend looking at Jo Carter’s Two Owls Design and Victoria Peate’s Little Black Duck for some fun and quirky FPP patterns to try.

Until next time,

Stay safe and happy stitching

Jane xx

Flying Geese and a muddled mess…

Isn’t life funny? You amble along quite nicely thank you then BAM! something happens and knocks you for six!
It’s not the end of the world and nobody died but my life has suddenly lost its thread…I felt pretty safe and thought I knew what & where I was going and had a pretty good idea what was going to be happening.
However, I’m a positive person, my glass is usually half full (if not over-flowing most days!) and I’m a great believer in thing happening for a reason.

You might be wondering what on earth I’m blithering about and if you don’t know me – let me bring you up to date…..
I used to own a fabric shop The Corner Patch, selling fabric mainly for patchwork & quilting, teaching and hosting classes & workshops and occasionally demonstrated patchwork on a TV shopping channel, Sewing Quarter. In November last year, Sewing Quarter asked if I’d like to become a permanent member of the Sewing Quarter team and I agreed. I was able to sell my shop in May and thought this was going to be the next adventure. However, TV retail is very different from a little fabric shop in a rural town, it’s fast paced and hectic and I decided it wasn’t for me and resigned my position in September. Sewing Quarter kindly agreed to keep me on as a guest designer.
However, Immediate Media who own Sewing Quarter decided to come out of Television Sales and sold Sewing Quarter’s sister channel Jewellery Maker to Gemporia and Sewing Quarter is looking for a buyer and in November, informed all the guest designers they would no longer be having demonstrations.

I am in the middle of doing a Block of the Month series and wanted to carry it on for all the customers who had supported the idea and bought block kits for the first five parts. I’ve set up a website and a new facebook page and decided to do a Facebook live to demonstrate the block, but Sewing Quarter got in touch to ask me not to….. it’s a slightly grey area…Sewing Quarter own all the designs that I did for them whilst an employee and have exclusive rights for 12months for designs I created as a guest designer. The blocks are very traditional and not an exclusive design of mine, so patterns are widely ‘out there’.

Block 6 is a Saw-Tooth Star with a pinwheel block in the centre square.

dav

It is what is known as a ‘stretched nine patch’ – made up of nine units, the middle units are bigger than the top and bottom units. It is made up of a centre square, four smaller corner squares and four ‘Flying Geese’ units.

So, I’d like to share with you how to make ‘Flying Geese’ units – there are several different methods of making Flying Geese and I’d like to show you the ‘Five Squares – No Waste’ method.

To create 3” x 6” units you will need:
1 x 7 ¼” square in cream
4 x 3 7/8” squares in your chosen colour (I’ve used red)

Mark a line across the diagonal from corner to corner on all the small squares.

Place two of the squares, right sides together, on top of the large square, in opposite corners, ensuring that the marked lines run from corner to corner. They will over-lap in the middle, don’t worry.dav

Sew a ¼” seam each side of the marked line.dav

Cut the square in half, along the marked line.dav

Press the two small triangles, up and away from the cream triangle.dav

Place a small square, right sides together, on top of the large cream triangle, lining up the edges and ensuring that the marked line runs up towards the gap between the two small triangles. Again it will be a bit bigger than the triangle.dav

Sew a ¼” seam each side of the marked line.dav

Cut the triangle in half along the marked line and press the triangle up and away from the large triangle. You will have created two Flying Geese units.dav
Repeat again, with the remaining small square and the other large triangle/two small triangle piece.

You will have four Flying Geese Units.

Next time I’ll show you how to create the centre pinwheel square.

Look after yourselves and stay warm.

Until next time,
Happy Stitching,
Jane x

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