Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paper Foundation Piecing a Hot Pad

I am almost finished with the large order for place mats and napkins.  So yesterday,  I decided for a bonus to the customer to add a couple hot pads to match her set.  I am going to walk you through my process for paper foundation piecing.  There are numerous ways to do this, but I find this works best for me.

First I assembly my materials.  Cutting mat, rotary cutter, fabric glue, add a quarter inch ruler and a post card.  I have chosen a pine tree pattern.  This pattern is two part.  I would suggest for your first attempt you choose a one piece pattern.

First cut the pattern into the two sections between the dotted lines.
Begin with one section, doesn't matter which one you choose.

The pattern will be numbered consecutively from 1 to ---.  I start by cutting a piece of fabric to totally cover the number 1 spot.  Make sure it is large enough.  I look through the pattern to see if it will be generous enough as you still need to allow for the 1/4 inch seam all around.  I dab a small amount of fabric glue on the back side of spot number 1.  The side without the lines.  This holds the fabric in place until you sew the next piece of fabric.  You only use the glue in the number one spot.  You will be sewing on the piece with the lines facing up.  Place this piece of fabric wrong side to the paper.


Now I am going to cover spot number 2.  Take the postcard and place it on the solid line between spots number 1 and 2.  Fold the paper back over the postcard.  Now take the add a quarter ruler and place it along the edge of the postcard. This ruler has a lip and will sit nicely right along the edge.  Now with your rotary cutter trim away the excess fabric.


This gives me a nice straight edge to match the next piece.  Remove the ruler and postcard.

Now choose the piece of fabric you are going to use for spot number 2, again making sure it large enough to cover the entire spot with excess.  Place the the next piece rights side together with the piece in spot number one.  Fold the paper out.  You will begin sewing a little before the end of the line.  Drop your stitch length down to about 1.5 as this aids in removing the paper later.  Sew right down the line between 1 and 2 spaces and go a little past the next horizontal line.  Cut your thread and you have your first two pieces sewn together. Fold out the number 2 piece and press seam lightly.  You can just use your finger if you like.


On to number 3 space. Same procedure.  Place your postcard on the line between 1 and 3 spaces.  Fold the paper back over the postcard and place your ruler along the edge.  Trim away any excess fabric.  Take your piece of fabric that will cover spot number 3 and put it right side together with piece number 1.  Fold the paper out and begin sewing on the solid line between 1 and 3 spots again extending a little on both ends of the line as this will lock the stitches when you sew the block into an arrangement later. 
Fold your fabric out and this is my first three spots covered.  I usually hit this with an iron to make it nice and flat for the next piece.

Another note to remember.  When you are piecing the fabrics that lie on the outside of the pattern make sure you have enough fabric to cover to the outside dotted line.  This is the extra for the quarter inch seam allowance.

On to number 4.  Same procedure as before.  Place the postcard on the solid line between the section you just covered and number 4.

Fold the paper over the postcard and lay the ruler along the edge and trim the excess fabric.  Place the fabrics right sides together and fold the paper out.  Sew on the solid line.  Fold the fabric out and this will cover spot number 4.






Continue in this manner till the whole pattern has been covered.  Once that is accomplished you will trim away the excess material along the dotted outside line.  The area between the solid line and dotted line is your seam allowance.

Your piece should look like this.  Do the same to the other section of the pattern.  Before piecing them together I removed the paper.  If I am doing an intricate pattern I may leave the paper on for piecing the sections to help with reference points. 

Place the sections right sides together just like you normally would. and sew the 1/4 inch seam.  And you will have your block.


My camera died before I could take a pic of the finished block but you will see it in the finished product.

I placed a 3 inch border around my block and layered it with heat resistance batting and one layer of cotton batting.  Then I quilted it and finished with the same green fabric as the trees.  And here it is!!


Another little tip I can give you is this.  If you find you have sewn on a piece that turns out the be too small, and believe me you will as I have many times, you can place a piece of scotch tape over the line on the paper side.  Then take your seam ripper like you normally would carefully separate the last two pieces.  The paper should not tear and you can redo your last piece.

I have a computer program so I can print out paper foundation patterns.  I buy cheap writing paper, like you used in first grade.  I buy a tablet and just tear out the amount of sheets I need. This works great as it is very thin and tears away easily when your block is finished.  If I have a book with patterns, I put it on my light box and trace onto this same paper.

Foundation paper piecing seems to be a love or hate relationship.  Some people love doing it, others hate it.  I love it.  I can get such sharp points and precise piecing.  I have made whole quilts this way!

Hope you enjoyed this lesson on paper foundation and will give it a try.  Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment: