Sunday, February 22, 2015

Foundation/Paper Pieced Quilt Squares

       I think that I am just one of those people who likes having a project going. If you have looked around my blog any you have seen that some of my favorite projects involve wood working, but here in the north it is not as enjoyable working out in the garage with the power tools when it is freezing outside. So when the weather turns cold outside I start up some of my inside projects which mostly include needle work in some form or another.
      I have also admired quilt making but have never had any luck with traditional quilting. Last winter I discovered foundation, or paper pieced, quilting and quickly fell in love with it. I find it super easy to do.  If you can sew in a straight line you can do it, and the patterns are so cute. Let me show you how it is done.
      Step 1 is to go to your computer and print off a copy of the pattern you would like to made in the size that you want. I have found a number of wonderful pattern books that are accompanied with a CD filled with patterns. I am doing 8 inch squares and they fit nicely onto one piece of paper. I use normal printer paper for my projects and it works well.
    Next I get out the crayons and color code the pattern. Some patterns print out with the squares colored already but this one does not. I find it important to color code because once the pieces are cut apart it is hard to picture the full square and they look like a lots of odd shapes. After coloring time is done cut out the pattern separating the pieces along the bold lines. Each piece should have one letter on it with many numbered shapes.
    Now it is time piece the fabric together. Start with shape #1 and keep building from there. In the 3rd picture above you can see I have done number 1-5. To place shape 6 I fold the paper along the line that separates 6 from the lower numbers. The paper is folded so the printed sides are touching.
    Next step is to trim the exposed fabric to about 1/4 inch along the folded side of the pattern. Now find a piece of fabric in the correct color for your pattern that is big enough to cover shape 6 with at least a 1/4 inch border around the edge. Do not worry about which way the pattern on the fabric is facing. You should be able to see the shape though the paper and compare you fabric patch to this.
    Place the fabric  behind the existing fabric making sure to align the fabric at the top and have right sides of the fabric facing each other.
     Now for the easy part. Open up the paper making sure the fabric doesn't move underneath and then straight stitch along the line separating 6 from the lesser numbers. Stitch through the paper and the fabric. Use a tight/small stitch so that later the paper will tear away easier when you are done.
     Take the  pattern over to the ironing board and press open the piece you just added. Then turn over the patter and fold it along the #7 line and repeat the previous steps. 
     Here are some tips that I have learned along the way. 1. When doing shape #1 put some glue on the back of the paper where shape 1 is and place on the wrong side of the fabric so that it stays in place. 2. When finding  fabric to cover a shape, the fabric should cover the shape when it is folded over. Some shapes are odd shaped and come off at different angles.
      One you have all the numbers completed turn the pattern over and trim the fabric to leave a 1/4 inch border.
        Once all the pieces of the pattern are complete is it is time to assemble them. The rule of thumb is to sew them together in the alphabetical order. Often there will be grouping of letters to be sewn together and then a long seam will connect them all. Pay attention to how you cut them apart and how they would best go back together.  You want to sew along the paper edge and then press the pieces open as you go.
      After it is all assembled turn it over and tear off the paper pieces and you now have a finished beautiful quilt square.
      I have made a number of squares and find each one fun and beautiful. I would recommend starting with and easy one like the tree above, this was my first square. As you can see I have also added embroidery to my squares and am going to make them into a memory quilt for my children and godchildren when they graduate from high school. I like giving presents with meaning and think this can be a keepsake they can have for a long time.
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These are two books that I have found and are my favorites. I have linked them to Amazon. They both come with CD's containing patterns have lots of fun squares. Have fun stitching.

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