Blocks | Quilt Making | Quilting

Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing

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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

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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.

If you’ve never tried foundation paper piecing I have another tutorial that walks you step-by-step through the process. You may want to try it first, before tackling this project.

>>>How to Foundation Paper Piece

Remove paper

Assuming that you’ve taken the time to walk through the tutorial above 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 the 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!

Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Materials List:

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This pattern requires that your purchase an inexpensive pattern from a trusted Etsy shop. Click the red button below to purchase the pattern.


Pro Tip!

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.

Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

If you want to make one EXACTLY like the one in this post, here is the color-to-number guide:

  1. White
  2. Light Blue
  3. Red
  4. Grey
  5. White
  6. Red
  7. White
  8. Dark Blue
  9. White
  10. Red
  11. Grey
  12. Red

Follow the pattern directions

The pattern comes with directions that take you step-by-step through the entire process. This looks harder than it really is!

Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

It’s actually only four FPP blocks! How fun is that!

Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Simplifying the Process

This pattern is very versatile. There are many options, such as size and pattern direction. It 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.

Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Ready for more FPP?

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!

If you’re ready to stretch your foundation paper piecing wings I have a simple FPP mini quilt project that is super easy. Click the button below to learn more.

>>>FPP Mini Quilt Project

I can’t wait to see what you’ve made! Be sure to tag me @theseasonedhomemaker on Instagram.

Happy Quilting!


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