One of the benefits of Foundation Piecing is that you don't have to be very precise about cutting the patches. I find it helpful if the seam allowance is at least 1/4 inch. The more you have, the more forgiving the process is. It's also easier to accurately align your patches if the angles are approximately correct.
First I print out the pattern and make 80+ copies. Measure to make sure your printer and copier are calibrated enough to print these out as perfect 8 inch by 8 inch squares.
You need 80 blocks for the quilt, but print extras. I found that when I make errors, it's sometimes impossible to undo the mistake without ripping the paper beyond usability.
I've tried this with the special foundation paper available at fabric stores, as well as standard copy paper. It didn't notice a significant difference, so I wouldn't endorse the special paper.
Step by step:
1. Crease the paper along the next seam you'll be sewing.
2. Trim to 1/4 inch.
3. Place next patch onto the block right sides together, lining up the just trimmed edge.
4. Carefully move block to machine and sew along seam. Reduce the stitch length for this; it will make it easier to remove the paper later.
5. Press open. The moment of truth - hold this up to a light to make sure that the new patch adequately covers the area it needs to. This is the most common (and frustrating) error. It's difficult to remove and redo this without tearing the paper beyond usability. With repetition, you develop a knack for this and this error doesn't occur as often.
First thing you'll notice is that these steps don't work for the first two patches since there's no base to add the new patch to. This can be tricky at first, but if you can afford to use generously cut patches, you can minimize the fussiness of attaching these patches. Everything gets a little easier after these first patches are secured to the paper.
I take one of the spare printed paper foundations and cut out the patches 1, 2, and 6 and use them as templates for cutting patches 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9 (patches 3 and 9 are mirrors of 1 and 6 respectively).
I make sure to give at least 1/2 in seam allowance.
For the corner patch (13), I make half triangles from squares that are at least 4 inches.
For the rest of the patches, I just cut strips that are as wide as the patch's longest side. Then I sew the strip on the block and cut to spec after it's sewed on. The leftover strip can be used on the next block.
I like to piece the four blocks of each compass star at a time.
When all the patches are added, trim the block.
Finally, sew the four blocks together to complete the compass star. Use the 4 corner trick to minimize the bulging in the middle.
I found it helpful to not remove the paper until the entire top is complete.
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