Hi quilty friends! Are you ready to do some foundation paper piecing (FPP)? Today is the start of a fun (maybe new) adventure!
This is Adoration; block #4 in the Nothing but Love Quilt Along. When you complete this block you will be 1/4 of the way through with your quilt!
This is one of five blocks that uses paper-piecing and I'm SO excited to do this with you! Foundation paper piecing opens up a whole variety of block possibilities because you can make round shapes without sewing curves, very precise points, awkward shapes, and very complicated blocks with precision. These blocks can also be sewn by hand or machine, so you can make these while doing something else (like at doctor offices or sports games or watching tv).
I know this technique may seem scary at first, but I hope to help you understand how this method can help you make really awesome blocks!
What makes Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) different?
First of all supplies - you will need a printer, some printer paper, and an open toe foot, universal foot, or walking foot. You may also want a seam roller.
I call FPP “sewing “by number” – the pieces are numbered in the order you sew them together, and you sew ON the paper. It is very methodical and easy to do once you understand the process.
The paper is used as your guide or map for sewing your seam lines instead of relying on your 1/4" measurement. Because of this your block, my block, and your neighbor's block should be identical in construction and final size.
The main difference (and the one that confuses people) is the paper. Normally you are told put the right sides of your fabric together, lining up the edge, and sewing 1/4" from that edge. With this method instead of being able to look at the front and back of your fabric almost simultaneously there is going to be paper in your way. You are sewing your fabric to the paper and using the paper for your seam line instead of the edge of the fabric, but everything else is basically the same.
An FPP Four Patch
This block is made with four of the same smaller blocks (or patches). For a fun twist in the original red and white version, I reversed the color scheme on two of the patches, but in my current spring version I kept the background color the same for all four patches. If you are using very few fabrics (like 3) your heart patches will basically be striped. If you don't like that design, I suggest using at least 4 different prints within the heart so that the same fabric doesn't touch itself.
On the pattern, the cutting instructions are given for one heart patch. My tip is to stack your heart fabrics and cut the strips for all 4 at the same time, and then separate them out for each heart. In this way you can pre-plan your layout a little bit. If you look carefully at the block below, you will notice none of the blocks are exactly the same because the fabrics are in different places.
Because this is a new technique, I have lots of things to say, but I suggest you print the pattern and templates out first so you can continue to read the blog and look at the pattern together to aid in understanding. If you would like to print my posts you can right-click on your screen and select "print" or you can "select all" and paste in a blank word document, so you can edit and conserve paper.
Below is the downloadable pattern for Block 4 -Adoration and the FPP heart patch templates (print 4):
When you print the templates make sure your printer is set on "Actual Size" or 100%.
If you have any questions or issues with downloading please ask here or on the contact page.
More FPP DOs and DON'Ts
After roughly cutting out your heart patch template, DO write the following on the paper: on the blank side write "fabric on this side" and on the printed side write "sew on this side"
DO have good lighting so you can see through your template like in the photo above. This will help you place fabrics along with the creasing technique.
DON'T worry that the template is a mirror image of the final block. This does not matter for this block.
DON'T worry about the letter A on this template. Only the numbers matter for making this block.
DON'T remove the paper until you have sewn the four patches together. It will help your seams line up. (If you noticed my center doesn't match exactly on the peach block that's because I got overexcited and removed the paper from 2 patches before sewing them together)
DO reduce your stitch length, so you get 12-14 stitches per inch this helps when removing the paper.
DO reverse-stitch at all starts and stops to "lock" your stitches.
DO trim your seams to 1/4" after sewing each piece on and before you press and pin.
Basic FPP Process
Just like the stitch and flip technique we have been using, the pieces for FPP are oversized and will be trimmed after sewing and flipping into place. For each piece you will do the following:
Crease/mark the sewing line
Place your fabric
Flip and sew on the line
Trim and then press fabric (or use seam roller)
Pin to hold fabric in place for the next round
This may seem tedious at first but trust the process and you will get in the rhythm.
Making the Adoration Block
Cut out the pieces and then lay them out on your template. Play with your fabrics until you like the design.
Then follow the pattern to place your fabrics and stitch the first seam. Here is a short video to help see the process in action. (Ignore the letter)
After the first two pieces, you change to the alternating side to add piece 3. Make sure you cover the edges of both prior pieces and you're good to go! Continue adding pieces until you finish the patch. Give it a final press on both sides and then trim with your ruler and rotary cutter on the dotted line of the template.
Repeat the process to make all four patches. Then you sew them together like any four-patch. Let me show you my two favorite layout options...you can rotate the patches how you like best, but I prefer the center diamond.
When you sew your patches together you can put a pin at the center to match the points if you wish. You don't really have to because the paper piecing makes the patches so precise they usually match up very nicely with just your finger holding them in place.
After you make your rows, press the seams (with the paper) OPEN. Then sew your rows together, press your seam, and then remove all the paper.
I put my finger on the stitches and gently tear the paper away like a perforated ticket. Once you pull of the outside edge, the inner edges pops up when you wrinkle the fabric a little bit. Don't forget the pieces in the seam allowance. When you are done, press the block one more time and then make your quilt sandwich.
Quilt Along Details
There are link buttons to my Instagram and Facebook on my website.
You can also sign up and join my community here on Wix (or the Wix Spaces app). I am currently working to fix that up for you guys!
**Next week the quilting design I will be discussing and demonstrating is LOOPS.
Here is the quilt along schedule (with links for you to catch up anytime):
Nothing but Love Schedule
December 20, 2021 - Quilt Along Intro & Details
January 10, 2022 – Get Ready: Prep the Fabrics & Batting
January 17 – Affection
January 31 – Refuge
February 14 – Joyful
February 28 – Adoration
March 14 – Devotion
March 28 – Inspiration
April 11 – Besotted
April 25 – Admiration
May 9 – Infatuation
May 23 – Faithful
June 6 – Smitten
June 20 – Cherish
July 4 – Patience
July 18 – Comfort
August 1 – Grateful
August 15 –Hopeful
August 29 – Enamored
September 12 - Sashing It All Together & Finishing Details
**Each “between block” Monday there will be a post for quilting the blocks:
January 24, February 7 & 21, March 7 & 21, April 4 & 18, May 2 & 16 & 30, June 13 & 27, July 11 & 25, August 8 & 22, September 5
Have fun making your blocks - I can't wait to see!
Have a wonderful week!
Be blessed my friends,