Patchwork & Quilting – Foundation Paper Piecing

I’ve been trying to puzzle out how quilters make tiny, intricate quilts so precisely since one of my daughters was given a sweatshirt with this heart on it many years ago:

Quilted heart from sweatshirt I loved it so much, I kept it in my sewing box always intending to put it on another sweatshirt for her.  One of these days I’ll get around to it.

Many things came together to bring me to Foundation Paper Piecing.  1) We went to a lecture by Linda Seward at Lady Sew and Sew in Henley where I bought her excellent new book.  Having seen Linda’s quilts, I was inspired to try something new. 2) I had a bag of fabric scraps that were too good to throw away but too small to use for regular patchwork pieces. 3) I found this wonderful video by Karen Johnson of Connecting Threads that explains the whole process of Foundation Paper Piecing and gave me the confidence to give it a go.

There seem to be many different versions of Foundation Piecing some using calico but I followed Karen’s instructions using tracing paper which worked for me.  She also uses an ‘Add-A-Quarter’ ruler that makes the whole process very easy.

Add a quarter rulerAfter gathering all the supplies together, the next step was to find a pattern.  I used one by Carol Doak that looked easy enough for a beginner and chose my fabric.

foundation paper piecingAt this point I started Karen’s youtube video and paused it after every step.

folding paperThe secret to this method of Foundation Paper Piecing is to keep the fabric on the wrong side of the tracing paper and sew with the paper uppermost in the machine. Place the first piece of fabric under the tracing paper so you can see the wrong side through the paper. Then add each subsequent piece of fabric right sides together.

Paper uppermost in machineKaren’s instructions are so easy to follow, I don’t have anything else to add except that I added a backing by putting right sides together and stitching around 3 and a half sides. Turn right way out and press.  The gap left for turning can be used to stuff with lavender and adding a ribbon.

adding backingfoundation pieced lavender bag

Handy Market Bag

Just finished this bag as a sample for our sewing group

It is made from furnishing fabric samples.

You can find out how to make it here.






Pincushion for the Sewing Machine


I’ve been meaning to make one of these for a few years and have finally got around to it.  It is one of the handiest things I’ve ever made as it is exactly where I need it when I’m removing pins from whatever I’m sewing. Here is how I made it Continue reading

Cute Envelope Needle Case

Here is a simple needle case I made to go with the sewing kit that I made last week.




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Captain Barnacles Hat


We have a 2, soon to be 3 year old Octonauts fan in our family.  He will be having an Octonauts party so I thought he might like a Captain Barnacles hat.  Here is how I made it –

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