Quilting techniques 101: Foundation piecing

Dear Jane quilt bottom left
Dear Jane quilt bottom left

This article is not about make-up, but about quilting, because that is what I know. In this post, I’ll tell you more about the foundation piecing technique with the help of blocks I finished from my Dear Jane sampler quilt you see on top. To read more about that project check this link:

What is foundation piecing?

Foundation piecing means that you sew pieces of fabric on a foundation of a lightweight fabric or some other kind of material. In my case, I used nappy liners used in cotton diapers. I talk about that more in the rose quilt post below. The main reasons I use nappy liners is because they are see-through so you can transfer the design easily, washable and easy to sew through by hand. Also, they are cheaper than the stuff quilt shops sell.

In the picture below you see how you draw the pattern on the foundation material. The pieces of fabric are sewn on the foundation after which the separated pieces are joined.

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When to use foundation piecing

You can use it always because it makes accuracy easier. However, here are some specific uses of the technique:

  1. It makes sewing small pieces easier.
  2. Hiding seams between the foundation material and the front. This is useful when a block has an abundance of seams. You can see how the seams are hidden in the picture below.
  3. When sewing with dark fabrics the marked line to sew will be on the foundation and not on the dark fabric which makes it easier to see.
  4. Stretchy or fraying fabric can be pinned on the foundation, which makes it easier to handle.
  5. It is the easiest techniques to start with because you already see the shape the block is going to be in the end.

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And now I’ll show you some of the theory in practice with Dear Jane quilt blocks.

Dear Jane quilt block C-4: Tic tac toe

Above you saw the back of this block. Here is the front:

Dear Jane quilt block C-4: Tic tac toe
Dear Jane quilt block C-4: Tic tac toe

I really like the pattern of this block. The combination of the square shapes in the middle and the octagon works very well. Sewing the outer pieces of the octagon was tricky though. I think here taking into account the bias, how a fabric is woven, is important and I did not do that. The photo of the back shows that you can use foundation piecing for a part of your block, as well as for the complete block.

Dear Jane quilt block L-3: Reflections abound

This is the finished block of the picture where I showed how to draw your pieces. Sewing this block is very straightforward. The only thing you have to take into account is the order you sew the pieces onto the foundation. I advise you to mark the order of the pieces on the foundation fabric itself.

Dear Jane quilt block L-3: Reflections abound
Dear Jane quilt block L-3: Reflections abound

Dear Jane quilt block B-4: Chris’s soccer field

I made this block with foundation piecing because the dark blue fabric frays like mad. This is another nice straightforward block. The lines in this block are also much straighter because of foundation piecing. Lastly, the blue fabric is dark, so the lines on the foundation material helped.

Dear Jane quilt block B-4: Chris's soccer field
Dear Jane quilt block B-4: Chris’s soccer field

The end of today’s quilting lesson

I have some questions for you to end this post. Feel free to leave a comment with your answers.

  • What technique would you like to know more about?
  • Do you like or dislike foundation piecing, if so why?
  • What is your favourite quilt technique?

Would you like to know more?

 


See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.

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