I enjoy Foundation Paper Piecing and have over the years made several projects using this technique, including the Spot On Quilt way back in 2006, and more recently the Geese Around the World Doll Quilt. Paper Piecing involves the use of a foundation upon which fabric pieces are sewn in a particular order; it is a great technique for accurate seams and sharp points.
I do find Foundation Paper Piecing confusing, and each time I attempt this technique it seems that I need to re-learn the basic steps. Once I have re-acquainted myself with these steps it again becomes quite procedural and structured.
It does not come without the occasional error : Oops no seam allowances! - Unfortunately doing is still the best way to learn (as does reading the instructions before trimming the units).
This block is called the Colorado Star and it is from the book titled 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars by Carol Doak. It's a book I have had in my quilt book library for quite some time and have photocopied foundation papers for numerous blocks, but until now have not sat down to piece any star blocks.
The book includes a detailed step by step tutorial with photographs, as well as a presentation by Carol Doak demonstrating her paper-piecing technique on CD-ROM.
Some of my own foundation paper piecing tips:
- Cheap A4 paper is perfect for this task. I used 70 gsm paper weight.
- Cut fabric patches larger than necessary to assist with easy placement.
- Use a 90/14 Needle and shorten stitch length to 18 to 20 stitches per inch.
- Use a dry iron to press.
- Don't remove foundation paper prior to sewing units into a block.
Quilter's Cache - Practice Paper Piecing (great for beginners). Also the current Fat Quarterly (Issue 8 - Paper) has a detailed how-to, taking you step by step through the process of foundation paper piecing. Fat Quarterly Magazine is available from Fat Quarter Shop as an instant download.
Paper piecing is a little fiddly, time consuming, and so very messy, but well worth this end result. Crisp lines and matching seams make for happy stitching!