Saturday, April 30, 2011
Foundation piecing tips
I finished piecing Hokule'a this afternoon. Here it is on the background fabric. It is 24" x 24". Doesn't it look like it is out there in the Milky Way somewhere? I have decided on a fabric for the center, but haven't cut it yet. I really learned a lot about paper piecing with this one, so I would like to share some tips with you. This is not a tutorial, just some things I thought I would pass on.
I really enjoy working with foundation piecing, but I find some of it a bit difficult. I have found a few things that really help me make this very fun. Finding foundation pieceing patterns is pretty easy. Unfortunately, they don't all come in the sizes I want. That was true for this piece. I had some general ideas about how many sections I needed for each point, so I started sketching. Once I drew out the sections, I remembered to add a 1/4 inch seam allowance all around the perimeter. That is very important.
The hardest part for me is putting on the first two pieces. I have no easy tips about how to do that. Some people pin the first piece, some don't. The most important thing is to remember to put that first piece, right side out, on the non-lined side of the foundation. The second piece needs to be right side toward the first piece. See my tips below for how I measure and cut the fabrics to fill the spaces. Beyond that, I have nothing magical to offer.
Another important thing to remember is to finger press or iron each piece into place as you go. This prevents problems such as the wrong piece of fabric being cut or sewn into the wrong place.
This is the thing I discovered that has helped me the most in getting my pieces lined up correctly. I am about to add piece #7 on this unit. I have folded back the paper along the line for #7 and set my ruler 1/4" away. Then I cut all the extra fabric away. When you are getting ready to cut, make sure you are not cutting any of the fabric covering the areas they are supposed to be covering.
That leaves me a very lovely 1/4" guideline to place my next piece of fabric.
I hope these little tips make some sense to you. Following these guidelines, I was able to put together this mariner's compass without ripping out more than two seams, and those happened at the beginning of the process. I believe each seam ripped out is a learning experience. It was certainly true in this case.
Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear from you about your experience or interesting in foundation piecing.
Joyful quilting, everyone.