Monday, June 10, 2013

Kaleidoscope Block and Free Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern

The weekend in stitches and pictures.

Kaleidoscope Patchwork Block
I stumbled upon pictures of Kerri's Kaleidoscope Pillow late last week and was immediately inspired to create my own Kaleidoscope patchwork pillow.   Having previously worked with a Kaleidoscope block I was able to quickly draft my own foundation paper-piecing pattern (using EQ7) for a 4 inch finished block.*
A and B Foundation Papers for a 4 inch Kaleidoscope Block
*my pattern is slightly different to Kerri's Kaleidoscope Pillow pattern - with the darker (corner wedges) being just a little wider.  If you'd prefer to hand-draw your foundation papers you can find a tutorial here (it is for Kerri's version of the Kaleidoscope block). 

I have made the Foundation Papers for this block available as a PDF file (ready to download and print) from my Online Pattern Store.  The pattern costs $2.00. The download is ONLY for the 4 Inch Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern and does NOT including any paper piecing or assembly instructions. 

However these basic instructions will assist you in successfully completing this project:
  • Each Kaleidoscope block is made using an A Foundation Paper and a B Foundation Paper.
  • The Kaleidoscope effect is created by alternating a dark and light (white background) fabric.  Start both the A and the B Foundation papers with a dark fabric and at number 1.
  • Cut fabric pieces larger than required.  I cut each of my fabric pieces 2.5 inches x 4 inches.
  • Reduce the length of your stitches.  This will make removal of the foundation paper a breeze and keeps your seams intact after the paper has been removed.  I go as short as 1.0 on my Bernina sewing machine.
  • Don't stitch into the seam allowances that run around the edge of the foundation paper.  
  • Don't remove your papers until after you have joined segment A and B together.

Once you have paper pieced both an A and a B segment you can sew the two segments together to make a Kaleidoscope block.  If you have not sewn into your seam allowances the seams that come together in the center will slide and lock together.  As you can see from the back of my block if you have started both the A and B  foundation papers at number 1 and have not sewn into your foundation paper your center seam will fold open and sit flat against the fabric. 

Kaleidoscope Block Patchwork - the back showing seam allowances.
I may have mentioned this before (several times) but I absolutely love paper piecing and there is no other method - that comes to mind - that is as accurate and easy for intricate patchwork piecing. If you need help mastering the Foundation Paper Piecing technique there's an online Craftsy Class that I can recommend by Carol Doak:

Don't be intimated by this technique, it really is very easy - sometimes you just need to actually see a technique in action rather than try and visualize it from words and a limited number of images.  We all learn differently.  Once you get that light-bulb moment you'll wonder why you waited so long ...

The Foundation Papers for the 4 Inch Kaleidoscope Block (pdf file) is available for purchase and ready to download from Store: Red Pepper Quilts Pattern Store.

Please note:
The foundation pattern does NOT come with paper piecing instructions but the above basic instructions will help in completing this project successfully.
Please print ACTUAL SIZE.  Do not reduce or scale to fit.
I printed my foundation papers on standard A4 copy paper without any difficulty removing the papers.

Happy Stitching!


  1. I love following your blog, thank you for sharing your talents with the world! I've noticed several bloggers advise against extending stitching lines into the outer seam you back stitch as you approach the outter seam allowance instead? I always stitch it to secure that stitch line...

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      If you extend your stitching line into the seam allowance you can't lock those center seams together and open up the center seam as pictured (it then becomes bulky). Also because the stitches are tiny the seam is unlikely to come apart. I have had to unpick a seam (because I messed up fabric placement)and wasn't able to so because the stitches were so tiny - instead having to start over with a new foundation paper. I hope that makes sense?

      Always stitch and do as you're comfortable with though. Rita

    2. Understood ;-) thank you again!!

  2. Might be tempted to try this one day. Appreciate your instructions and making available the papers. Thanks.

  3. Can i just say the backside view of your quilt is the most impessive back ive ever seen. So perfect and clean. I just cant get over it. Haha! Thanks for the pdfs!

  4. Thank you for sharing this. It looks lovely. I wouldn't have attempted making this block so small but your foundation method makes it seem do-able :)

  5. Your quilt is so beautiful! I'm going to make a pillow out of the kaleidoscope block before I attempt a quilt :)

  6. The back showing all the seam allowances is beautiful!! Am I weird?

  7. Your blocks are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your template, I hope to try it soon and also try your suggestion of not sewing into the seam allowance to see if I can get such neat seam intersections as well.

  8. Your kaleidoscope blocks are beautiful! Thankyou so much for sharing the template.

  9. This is so pretty! I always love the colors that you use AND all the patters too. Thanks so much for sharing, I can't wait to do this one :)
    Rachel @ Little Bits of Everything

  10. Love this design, thank you for the pattern. Do you think it would be possible to enlarge the block size, ie. just to enlarge the foundation paper on a photocopier? I don't see why not? (famous last words!)

  11. oh, das ist ein tolles muster für alle scraps, nur leider kann ich das muster nicht herunterladen, klappt einfach nicht, vielleicht können sie mir helfen, danke schon im vorhinein.
    lg elfriede

  12. Thanks so much for this! It's beautiful.

  13. Rosemary b here:
    Yes, I like this one a lot!
    I wanna make this asap. So... I guess I better finish up the other 450 things on my list, or perhaps I can move this up to #1.
    Thank you for sharing dear Rita!

  14. Fantastic! I'll try this for sure. Thank you!

  15. Thanks for being so generous Rita! Love this block, and especially your version.

  16. Thank you for the pattern! It looks so fun :)

  17. For some reason when I printed the pdf, the seam allowances aren't printing (although they show up fine on my computer). Any ideas why that would be? Thanks for making this template available!

  18. That looks like hard work but it also looks like it pays off at the end. Beautiful work from

  19. Absolutely stunning! I was admiring Kerry's as well, and went so far as to read through the tutorial but haven't started yet... maybe this will be the next hashtag sewalong on instagram as a lot of people appear to be quite inspired! Thanks for the templates!

  20. So paper piecing can actually be done using normal A4 paper? Like you dont need the fancy foundation paper (which, along with freezer paper are nowhere to be found where I live T.T)? Btw I love your recent Briar Rose quilt! It's like everything you made looks good! Haha:D

  21. I also love foundation-paper piecing.
    Here's a tip to save ink on your printer when you are repeating lots of identical blocks. I print about a tenth of the blocks I need (i.e. if I need 100, I print 10). I then staple about ten sheets from a bank-paper notepad to the back of each copy. (These notepads are lightweight paper, easily bought at newsagents.) The staples go where the final block is not and stay about an inch away from the design. Using an old sewing machine needle, not too small a stitch length and no thread in your machine, 'sew' along the lines. When you cut them out, cutting off the stapled bits, you will have perforated foundation papers that should peel away from each other. Ta da! The lightweight paper and perforations also make them really easy to tear away after you have sewn on your fabric.

  22. Thank you for sharing the pattern - now stored in my library
    Look forward to having a go

  23. This is stunning, as usual, and I just downloaded the pattern. You are so kind to share, and I can't wait to use this to bust through some scraps!!

  24. Thank you! You make it look so easy and I have been intimidated by this kind of piecing. Will give it a go!

  25. Thanks for linking to my tutorial, Rita! It was fun to see traffic coming to my blog from yours considering your FMF kaleidoscope quilt was the inspiration for my pillow and tutorial in the first place!

    Thanks, again!

  26. lovely quilt! a friend sent me a link to here, I have a smart plate ruler for making kaleidoscope blocks from HSTs and it makes me want to bust it out and do some!

  27. Thak you for the pdf ! I might have to let go and have some fun today :)

  28. I'm new to paper piecing (and all things quilty), but I decided to give this pattern a try. I'm amazed at how beautifully it's coming together! Thank you so much for making this template available :)


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