Learn to Foundation Paper Piece

If you’ve heard of Foundation Paper Piecing and want to know what the fuss is all about, or if you’ve never heard of Foundation Paper Piecing and now you’re curious, I can’t wait to tell you all about this really cool quilting technique! And, I created a free quilt block – the North Star Quilt Block – that you can download to practice your Foundation Paper Piecing skills. You can watch the video below where I show you how it all works.

North Star Quilt Block - Free Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern

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What is Foundation Paper Piecing?

Foundation Paper Piecing is a quilting technique. You print or draw a pattern onto paper, which becomes the foundation for your block. You then add fabric, using the lines on your paper as the guide. When you’re done, you remove the paper, and leave just the fabric and stitching.

When do you use Foundation Paper Piecing?

Foundation paper piecing can be used for many different kinds of blocks. Almost any pattern can be converted to foundation paper piecing – though some are better suited for it than others. Blocks that have points on them (such as an American Beauty Quilt Block) are often done with Foundation Paper Piecing. Also, quilt blocks with odd-shaped pieces are great for Foundation Paper piecing.

What is the difference between Foundation Piecing and English Paper Piecing?

Foundation Paper Piecing (also known as “paper piecing” or “foundation piecing”) is a much different technique than English Paper Piecing (also known as EPP). Foundation Piecing uses a pattern printed onto the back of lightweight papers, which are then stitched using a sewing machine. And it is great for irregular patchwork. EPP is hand sewing that is basted to heavy cardstock paper. Pieces are often very regular (hexagons and diamonds are the most common), although irregular shapes can be used with EPP.

What paper is best for Foundation Paper Piecing?

Foundation paper piecing can be done with regular copy paper, though it is not recommended. When foundation paper piecing, you reduce your stitch length to help perforate the paper more, and to provide more stability when you rip out the papers after finishing your piecing. Regular copy paper is more robust than what is preferred for paper piecing. There are several different types of papers specifically designed for foundation piecing. I like the Thermoweb Stitch n Sew papers. The June Tailor Perfect Piecing papers are very similar. The Carol Doak foundation papers are also very popular – they are a little harder to see through, but are the easiest to tear away when finished.

What supplies do I need for Foundation Paper Piecing?

For foundation piecing, the most important supply is the paper that you print the pattern on. You can see my recommendations above. All of these papers will print on your home printer. You’ll also need regular quilting supplies such as your sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat. I also recommend the add-a-quarter ruler, and a good quality iron.

How does Foundation Paper Piecing Work?

I filmed a video where I show you step-by-step how to foundation paper piece. Below you’ll find instructions to download the free North Star Quilt Block pattern. This is the pattern I show in the video.

To get your North Star Quilt Block pattern (both the 6″ and 12″ versions of the block), fill out the form below. I’ll send you a link to download the pattern. If you don’t see the email in your inbox within 5 minutes, please check your spam and junk folders. If you’re still having issues, you can email me at carolina@carolinamoore.com. I’m not on my email constantly, but when I see your message, I’ll make sure the pattern gets sent to you.

 

Free Pattern!

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I hope you enjoy learning how to foundation paper piece. This is a fabulous technique to have in your quilty toolbox. While foundation piecing isn’t the best approach for every quilt block, it is an essential skill for some of the more advanced quilt blocks.

How to Sew a Pin Cushion

These pin cushions make perfect gifts for friends and family who like to sew. They are quick and easy to make, inexpensive, and can be personalized for each recipient with specific fabrics and buttons!

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The pattern for these pin cushions can be downloaded here for free:

 

Free Pin Cushion Pattern!

Sign up below to get the free Pin Cushion Pattern. You’ll also be added to my weekly e-mail list of awesomeness. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Yay! The link to your download is on its way to your inbox! If you have any problems, please email carolina@carolinamoore.com.

Watch this video to see step-by-step how to make your pin cushion. Make sure that you download the pattern by signing up for my newsletter above. This will provide you with the supply list and basic cutting instructions.

Two very specific supplies that you’ll need when making the pin cushions are buttons and crushed walnut shells. You likely have a button collection (or a friend or family member with a button stash you can raid). But you may want specific buttons for these pin cushions. I purchased these sewing themed buttons from the Annie’s Catalog.

Another important supply in pin cushion making is the filling. Crushed Walnut Shells are excellent pincushion filler. You can find Crushed Walnut shells at the pet store (they are often used in reptile habitats), quilt shops also may carry crushed walnut shells for pin cushion filling. If you’re planning to make a stack of pin cushions as gifts, I found this 15lb bag of crushed walnut shells that will fill 40-45 of these pincushions.

Quilt Block Masks

Ever since I learned that it was not only going to be socially acceptable to put fabric on my face, it was actually going to be mandatory, I have been wanting to make some quilt block masks. Because if people can’t see my smiling face, then at least they can see some happy quilt blocks! Which isn’t quite the same, but for now we’ll just pretend that it is fine. Because that’s kind of what 2020 is all about … pretending that things are fine. And also wearing quilt blocks on our faces. I’m going to make that a thing.

Making a quilt block mask is pretty easy if you have some small-ish orphan blocks lying around (which I do). I grabbed a 3″ finished star that I made with the Strippy Stars Tool when I was working on the Patriot Ruler of the Month (I have a video on how the tool works if you click over to the Patriot Ruler of the Month quilt). I made the second mask using a pineapple block I had leftover from the Who Wore it Better Ruler of the Month. You can go check that one out as well for details on how to use the pineapple trim tool.

So, grab your orphan block (or make a block using the instructions linked above) and a Fat Quarter of fabric.

You’ll also need a mask pattern. This technique works with lots of different styles of masks, so if you already have a favorite pattern, you can use that one. If you don’t have a favorite mask pattern (those are words I never thought I’d be typing out and yet here we are…), I used the Craft Passion Mask for mine.

Add fabric to all four sides of the block to make sure it is big enough for the pattern. Add more than you think you’ll need. You won’t regret it.

Line up your pattern over the quilt block. You can make some choices – do you want the block more towards the front or the back? Remember you have a seam allowance on all sides.

Cut out the block according to your pattern.

Cut out the other side of the mask, then the lining pieces, and sew up as indicated on the pattern for the mask style that you chose. No other changes need to be made … and now you get to wear a quilt block on your face!!

As long as we’ll be wearing masks … they might as well be cute, right?

Summer Sew Camp!

I am so excited to announce a project I’ve been working on for weeks and weeks… Summer Sew Camp! This is a week-long set of projects designed specifically for teaching kids how to sew.

Summer Sew Camp

First of all – YES! Adults can play along as well (of course!) But I have designed this with kids in mind. Before we get down to things, let me answer a couple of questions I know you’re going to ask:

How much does Summer Sew Camp cost?

It is free. The instruction pages are free. The videos are free. And they will stay free. It is my pleasure to pass on my love of sewing to the next generation.

How old do kids need to be to participate?

That is up to you. With 100% support from an adult, I think a child as young as 6 would have fun “helping” to make these projects. And older kids will be able to make them with little or no help. If children can operate a sewing machine, wield a hot iron, and are comfortable with scissors and pins, then they can make all of these projects.

What about rotary cutters?

No rotary cutters. I made all of these project instructions and videos without using a rotary cutter. Yes, really.

When does it start?

It is all live right now. You can scroll down to watch all the videos in the playlist. Or, if you prefer, you can subscribe below to get daily emails for a week with all the links you need!

I’m sure you have more questions … I answer lots of them in this video:

If you’d like to get started, you can download the introduction and get a detailed supply list by clicking hereyou’ll also find the full instruction packet here.

I also made a quick video just for kids … so if you’d like to show your child this video (it is less than 3 minutes long) to find out if Summer Sew Camp sounds like fun to them, check it out here:

You absolutely don’t have to subscribe to access Summer Sew Camp. You can head to the link above to download the files, and head to my YouTube Channel to watch all the videos.

However, if you’re like me, your email inbox helps you organize your life. If you sign up below, I’ll send you an email with links to the supply list and intro details, and starting on Monday, you’ll get an email each day with the two lessons for that day. When the week is up, you won’t get any more emails from me unless you subscribe to my main mailing list.

 

Summer Sew Camp!

Sign up below to get notified about all things Summer Sew Camp. You will NOT be added to our main email list.

Welcome!

I always recommend buying supplies at a local quilt shop, whenever possible. Local quilt shops have experts right behind the counter who can help you with just about any project. Every place we have lived, finding my LQS (Local Quilt Shop) has been as essential as finding the grocery store and a new dentist! However, if you need a quick link to a couple of the supplies I mention in the video, you can use these affiliate links:

Pins at the Fat Quarter Shop
Fabric Scissors at The Fat Quarter Shop or Fabric Scissors on Amazon
Fabric Marking Pen at The Fat Quarter Shop or Fabric Marking Pen on Amazon
Rectangle Quilting Ruler at The Fat Quarter Shop or Rectangle Quilting Ruler on Amazon
Square Quilting Ruler at The Fat Quarter Shop or Square Quilting Ruler on Amazon
Sticky Back Velcro for Fabrics on Amazon
Sew-in Magnetic Snap on Amazon
Heavy Weight Interfacing on Amazon
Fusible Fleece at The Fat Quarter Shop or Fusible Fleece on Amazon
Polyfil Stuffing on Amazon

If you’d like to watch the whole series, it is all in this playlist. There are 13 videos and it is over 250 minutes that teaches over a dozen projects. I don’t recommend you binge it all in one day!

Or you can head to my YouTube Channel and Subscribe there.

How to Calculate Quilt Sizes

When designing a quilt, one of the most important elements is understanding how to calculate quilt sizes. How a quilt will be used is significantly impacted by its size. A small quilt that is less than 18″ square will likely be a wall hanging or table topper for a small table, whereas a quilt that is 108″ x 108″ is best suited to cover a large bed. 

This means, when calculating quilt sizes, you need to keep two things in mind. You need to know what size your quilt blocks will be, and what the purpose of the quilt will be. The size of the blocks will determine if the size of your designs meets up with the purpose of your new quilt.

To calculate quilt sizes, start with your quilt design. A quilt design is most commonly made up of a grid of quilt blocks. For example, your grid may be 4 blocks wide by 5 blocks tall. There are alternate-grid quilt layouts and on-point quilt layouts, but for now we’ll just focus on a standard grid.

Determine what size your blocks will be in the quilt. Don’t worry about seam allowances, we are just thinking about the “finished size” which is the size that the block will be when the quilt is finished. Common quilt block sizes are whole inches, often a multiple of 2 or 3, but you can choose any size you want. For our example, we’ll choose 12 inch blocks in this example.

Multiply how many blocks across (4) by the size of the blocks (12″), and the math will tell you that your quilt design is 48″ wide. Repeat this process for the height (5 blocks) and you’ll calculate a height of 60″. A 45″ x 60″ quilt is a good throw quilt, but not big enough for a bed quilt. If you’d like your quilt to be big enough for a queen sized bed, you’ll need to either increase the size of your blocks or increase the number of blocks in your quilt design – or a combination of these two. Another option would be to add borders to increase the size of your quilt.

If you’d like a worksheet outlining how to simply calculate the size of your quilt, along with general sizes for making bed-sized quilts, sign up for our newsletter. We’re offering a free printable that takes you step-by-step through calculating quilt sizes. You’ll find the sign-up form below.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get a free download of our “What size is my Quilt?” Worksheet!

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Introducing QuiltMath!

I invented QuiltMath – an easy way to calculate yardage requirements for quilts… that doesn’t actually require any math! Use the simple QuiltMath Pages to easily see how much yardage you need to create your quilt designs.

I have been quilting over half my life. And while I do love a good pattern, I also love creating my own designs. Sometimes, pulling out the graph paper and colored pencils is just the best way to get creative. But then having to calculate the yardage requirements is the worst. And when I want to make the project with my stash, having to re-calculate and re-calculate to figure out how to make it work with the fabric I have on hand is enough to make me give up!

That’s why I created QuiltMath. A simple way to figure fabric yardages without using a calculator.

You can watch this quick video that shows you how it works:

Or, if you’re not into watching a video, here are the basics:

First, draw your design. As you create your design, figure out the scale of your quilt – how large will each block be.

Once you have your quilt sketched out, count how many squares and half-square triangles there are of each color.

Using the chart, find the finished size of each block along the top, and the number needed along the left. Using your fingers, follow where that column and row meet up. Here you will find the yardage needed for that color.

Repeat for each color in your quilt, and then you’re ready to buy your fabric!

If you’re working from stash fabrics, and discover that you don’t have enough of one of the fabrics, you can easily re-color some of your units to use another fabric, or you can change the scale of your quilt – making the blocks smaller will use less fabric.

It is important to note that the yardage requirements are exact. This means that if you’re purchasing yardage at a quilt shop, you’ll want to buy at least 1/4 yard extra to make sure that you have enough fabric for squaring up. If you tend to mis-cut, you may want to buy a little more. After all, having too much fabric is never a problem – it is running out of fabric that is the issue!

You can get your QuiltMath sheets at QuiltMath.com, or scroll down!

If you want to get your QuiltMath sheets, you can click the “add to cart” button below:

Custom Fabric Letterboard

Have you ever wanted a letterboard that fit your decor perfectly? One that wasn’t just made from plain felt? Do you have a favorite fabric that would make a perfect letterboard but no idea how to make it happen? Well, here you go! Step-by-step on how to make your a custom fabric letterboard out of your favorite fabric!

I do want to mention that it is the texture of the felt that helps keeps plastic letters in place. Using a quilting cotton like I have here makes them more likely to slip out if the board is hanging up. But it is still perfect for flat-lay photos.

To make your custom fabric letterboard, you’ll need:

1/2 yard of main fabric
1/2 yard of fusible fleece
1/4 yard of border fabric
Cheap or old letterboard
Hot glue and hot glue gun
Rotary cutter and ruler
Marking tool
Plastic cards such as gift cards or hotel key cards

Start by taking apart the old/cheap felt board. Usually they are just glued together, so it is pretty simple to do.

Once you have removed the frame and felt, you’ll have a wooden board with grooves on it. If you have access to a woodshop (or access to someone who has access to a woodshop) they could probably make one of these base boards for you. But, for most of us, just buying a cheap letterboard and taking it apart is easier.

Cut your chosen fabric 1-2″ wider than your board. You want to give yourself a little room. Keep the length of the fabric, don’t trim this down. You can trim it down at the end.

Then back the fabric with fusible fleece.

Then, start tucking the fabric into the grooves. I found this was easiest to do with a plastic card – you could use a gift card or a hotel key card or a store loyalty card. Just something sturdy that will help press the fabric down into the crease.

Keep going, inserting the fabric into each crease. I found that holding the previous crease in place with one card while pushing in the next crease was most successful.

Keep going, inserting the fabric into all the creases.

You may find, if you always start from one side, that the fabric starts to “creep” in that direction. To prevent the creeping, alternate the directions in which you make the creases. Crease one from right to left, and the next from left to right.

When you’re done, trim off the excess around all four sides.

Glue down the edges with hot glue.

Use a fabric marking tool to mark a border around the letterboard. I went with a 1/2″ border, but you can choose what feels right for you.

Measure from this border line all the way to the back, with a 1/2″ overlap. Then double your measurement. This is the width you need to cut for your border strips. Cut a strip this width. Fold the strip in half so that it is just as long, but half as wide (as you would for quilt binding).

Cut a length of this strip as long as the side. Glue this strip to one side of the felt board, with the fabric fold right on the line you drew marking the edge of the border.

Wait for the glue to set, then wrap the strip around to the back. Glue in place. You’ll need to glue down both layers. You can trim the corners on the back to reduce the bulk.

Repeat for the other side. Then repeat for the top and bottom. If you like, you can fold the edges of the top and bottom in to create more finished corners.

That’s it! Your custom fabric letterboard is complete!

Make a custom fabric letterboard in whichever fabrics suit your mood! Once you know how to make it for yourself, it will be hard to make just one!

Double Zipper Pouch

If you’re looking for a fun twist on the basic zipper pouch, this is it! This double zipper pouch really doesn’t take much more time to make than a regular zippered pouch, and it gives you the perfect place to stash extra stuff! The smaller pocket makes a great coin pouch, or place to stash some cash or lipstick. And the larger pouch is big enough to hold a cell phone or notebook. You’ll find so many reasons to make (and gift) this great zippered pouch!

This project is part of the Little Gifts series that Underground Crafter put together. Every other week, she or one of the other participants is sharing a fun project you can stitch up with a few fat quarters of fabric. Each of these projects is small enough to fit in a stocking. So, if you follow along, you’ll have over two dozen stocking stuffers ready by Christmas time!

To make this double zipper pouch, you’ll need:

2-3 Fat quarters of fabric
2 zippers (8″ or longer)
1/4 yard of medium or lightweight interfacing
ribbon (optional)

Cut the fat quarters as follows:
Outer fabric: 2 – 8″ x 6.5″
Lining fabric: 2 – 8″ x 6.5″
Outer pocket: 2 – 8″ x 4.5″
Interfacing: 2 – 8″ x 6.5″, 1 – 8″ x 4.5″

Fuse the interfacing to the back of the two outer fabric pieces, and the back of one of the outer pocket pieces.

Grab your two outer pocket pieces, and the outer pocket zipper. Place the two fabric pieces right sides together. Put the zipper between the two, with the zipper flush with the long edge, and the zipper top facing the fabric that has the interfacing fused to it.

Pin in place.

With the zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch right up against the raised part of the zipper. Your stitches should be at least 1/16″ away from the raised part of the zipper.

Press both fabrics away from the zipper, so the right side of the fabric is now facing out. Top stitch along the top of the fabric to secure in place, and give your zipper a nice finished look.

These are the basic steps for adding a zipper. We’re going to do these steps two more times, but first we’re going to stitch the zippered pocket we just made to the front of the zippered pouch.

Lay a piece of the outer fabric on your cutting mat, right-side-up. Place the pocket on top. Then move it so that the ends of the zipper line up with one of the lines on the cutting mat (see where I’m indicating with my finger).

Then flip up the pocket so that the bottom of the zipper now lines up with these lines. Pin, and stitch in place.

You’ve now added the front pocket. Pin it down on the edges to keep it secure for now.

Place the second zipper on top, right side down, and then a piece of lining fabric on top, right side down.

Pin. Then stitch using the zipper foot. Just as before, press the fabric away from the zipper, and then top stitch.

Repeat for the other side of the zipper. This time you’ll have the lining fabric right side up, then the zipper (which has one side of the pouch stitched to it already), and then the other outer piece of fabric.

Pin. Stitch using the zipper foot. Press fabric away from zipper. Top stitch.

Your double zipper pouch is nearly complete! Before you move on to stitching it all together, open the second zipper halfway. This is super important and what makes it possible to turn the pouch right side out later. Make sure not to skip this step!

With the zipper in the middle, move the fabrics so that the the two outer fabrics are right-sides-together, and the two lining fabrics are right-sides-together. Pin all the way around.

Starting on the bottom edge of the lining, stitch all the way around. End a couple inches before where you started, leaving a 2-3″ hole along the bottom for turning.

Clip off the extra zipper ends and clip the corners.

Turn right side out through the hole.

Find the hole in the lining.

Stitch closed.

Tuck the lining inside the zippered pouch. Your double-zippered pouch is complete!

If you like, add some ribbon to the zippered pulls.

Check out all the other fun projects in this Little Gifts series!



Pizza Pillow

If you’re looking for some fun and whimsical decor, whip up this fun pizza pillow! It is super fun to make, and super comfortable to lay on!

These steps will give you the basics of how this pizza pillow comes together, but you’ll need some basic sewing skills (or a friend with some basic sewing skills).

You’ll also need a giant circle pillow, fabric for your crust, cheese, and pepperonis, matching thread, some plain white fabric, and fusible web.

Use a water soluble pen to draw a slice on your pillow.

Cut into the pillow. Once you’ve cut the lines on the top, you can remove the stuffing and cut the bottom layer to match.

Use the wedge and remainder of the circle as templates to cut the crust pieces.

Measure the edges of the wedge to determine how large your strips need to be. Cut two from the white and two from the crust. These create the depth on your wedge and circle pieces.

Re-create the casing piece for your wedge. Make it 1/2″ larger than the original wedge. This makes up for the seam allowance that will get used up on both the wedge and the main pie.

You can use a can lid to curve the edges to prevent sharp corners.

Put fusible web on the back of the pepperoni colored fabric. Draw circles, and cut out.

Cut the cheese the same size as the top crust, then measure in and trim off the extra.

Fuse the cheese to the crust.

Fuse on the pepperoni, Make sure to fuse them onto the slice as well.

Overlap the slice (which is a 1/2″ larger to make up for the lost seam allowance, and place the pepperonis accordingly.

Applique stitch on the cheese and pepperoni.

Now add the strips to create the depth for the wedge and main pie.

Finish up the casing as well. Fill the casing. The outer layer you can either stitch up by hand or add a zipper to make it easy to remove and wash.

Cricut Embroidery Hoop

When I first started playing with my Cricut Maker, I was super excited that I could use it to cut fabric. But then I learned that when they added the rotary blade, they also added another tool to the Cricut arsenal – the water-soluble pen! This pen can be used with any of the Cricut machines with a pen adapter (so the Explore and Explore Air certainly qualify), and is perfect for drawing lines to make your own embroidery designs!

I used this Jen Goode Butterfly design that I thought would be perfect, but you can use whatever line-art style art you like.

Use the water soluble marker to have the Cricut machine draw on your fabric.

Then you can stitch on your design.

When you’re done, just rinse of the ink under the sink and let the fabric dry.

Super simple, and super cute!