Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing
I love foundation paper piecing! I think it is the easiest way to get perfect quilt blocks every time. Unfortunately, the technique is not as straight forward as patchwork and requires us to think a little backward!
Let’s take the mystery out of the foundation paper piecing technique by showing what you need to get started. Soon enough you will be wanting to make everything using this technique!
Note: This looks scary, but I promise it’s easier than it appears. If you can make this block, you’ll graduate to being a Foundation Paper Piecer Extraordinare!
FPP vs. EPP?
Before going any further, I believe people get confused by the difference between Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) and English Paper Piecing (EPP).
Both use some sort of paper to stabilize the designs but there is one huge difference.
Foundation Paper Piecing is sewn on a machine and English Paper Piecing is done by hand.
FPP allows you to make blocks that appear complicated, but in reality are very simple. You just need to understand a few steps.
Before you start
FPP is a technique that requires a little patience and a bit of a mind shift about how to construct a quilt block. But, I promise, if you’re willing to take the time to learn, you’ll get amazing results every time.
Learning FPP is also a way to unlock your creative side by allowing you to create unique designs for your quilts.
With that in mind, I recommend this wonderful online class on BluPrint, by Elizabeth Dackson. (affiliate) The course covers everything you need to know to get started with Foundation Paper Piecing and the instructor is an excellent teacher. You’ll understand the process completely. Elizabeth is an industry expert on Foundation Paper Piecing and her class is a great investment. You’ll love it!
How to watch for FREE!
You can watch for free with a 7-day trial. There are practice lessons and lots of help to get you going. There are even a few patterns included with the video. Sign up for the free trial (don’t forget to set a cancel date on your calendar), and dig in.
I promise, this class is gold and worth every minute. You’ll be so confident with Foundation Paper Piecing that this tutorial will be a mere blip on your quilting map.
Assuming that you’ve taken the time to watch these videos or have some experience with FPP, I have selected a versatile and practically free pattern to get you started. (I felt it was better to use a purchased pattern from an FPP expert so you will end up with a truly accurate design.)
Supplies to Make the Quilt Block
There are two products that I highly recommend. Foundation Paper and and Add-A-Quarter Ruler (see links below). Both of these items are fairly inexpensive, will make the learning process much easier, and make you feel like a pro!
- Foundation Paper Pieced Pattern (affiliate) Note: To make this exact block requires that you purchase an inexpensive design, but I promise you it’s worth it!
- Robert Kaufman Kona Solid Fabric
- Light Blue (Cadet #1058)
- Dark Blue (Windsor #1389)
- Red (Rich Red #1551)
- Grey (Ash #1007)
- White (White #1387)
- Aurifil 50 wt Thread
- Foundation Paper
- Add-A-Quarter Ruler
- Rotary Cutting Mat
- Rotary Cutter with sharp blade
- Seam Roller
Use the blank mini-template to sample different color combinations with colored pencils or crayons. When you decide on the colors you would like to use, write your colors on the first pattern piece and then make more copies of the pattern with the colors written on them.
If you want to make one EXACTLY like the one in this post, here are the color to number guide:
- Light Blue
- Dark Blue
This looks harder than it really is!
It’s actually only four FPP blocks! How fun is that!
Simplifying the Process
This pattern (affiliate) is very versatile. There are many options, such as size and pattern direction. The pattern has both a 12″ finished and 6″ finished block options. You can also decide upon a left spinning or right spinning design. You can even incorporate all three options for added interest. Note: I recommend newbies make the 12″ block because the pieces are larger.
Did you know that this pattern went together quickly? Part of the reason is due to using Carol Doak’s foundation paper for the pattern. It makes ripping out the paper SOOOOOOO much easier!
The second thing that made this go together fast is the Add-A-Quarter ruler which makes the trimming so much faster. It has a lip on it that nests nicely on the seam of your project so you can achieve the perfect quarter inch trim each time.
I also like using a seam roller instead of a hot iron to press down the seams. Once the block is complete, then you can press all of the seams flat.
Putting it all Together
Once you have all four sections of the individual quilt pattern finished, join the four sections to complete your mini-quilt top.
Be very intentional about the fabric placement in order to create a nice contrast between any print and solid fabric pieces.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration with this fun and easy quilt block. Did you know you can make little 6″ coasters, a table runner, and even a quilt using this pattern!
I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!
Nicole Moore is the founder and creative spunk behind the website, www.sewmuchmoore.com. Nicole loves quilting and sewing so much that she shares her projects and inspiration on her website, Youtube Channel, and all over social media. Be sure to sign up for her weekly Newsletter so you won’t miss a thing!