FPP: Foundation Paper Piecing
July 31, 2014 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Many types of quilt blocks can be built by stitching together simple geometric shapes. Then there’s paper (sometimes called foundation) piecing.

Paper piecing is an old technique (wikipedia suggests very old) that’s been steadily developing over the past few decades along with the modern quilting movement.

It was originally developed as a way to improve precision and speed for traditional blocks, but paper piecing also allows for tiny, intricate scraps of fabric, precise intersections, and acute angles by sewing against a fixed background (either permanent muslin fabirc or temporary paper) rather than pre-cutting and sewing triangle A to triangle B.

The general technique involves working outward from a starting patch, and is somewhat easier than it sounds.

Once you have the technique down you can get much more complex than that, whether you favor
traditional, modern, or really modern styles. For a peek behind the masterpieces, here’s Statler and Statler.
posted by heyforfour (13 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
This is great. It's not like I need another crafting hobby (*glances at closet full of yarn stash*), but I've been thinking about getting into quilting anyway, and this is definitely my jam. Thanks for the post.
posted by dorque at 2:52 PM on July 31, 2014

I love crafty things, I love modern things; clearly what I need to do is take up modern quilting. Holy wonderful.
posted by pril at 3:38 PM on July 31, 2014

I just saw a friend do a little of this and make a really cute book bag. I love it!
posted by stoneandstar at 3:39 PM on July 31, 2014

I like the video tutorial that starts with "First, forget everything you know about traditional quilting" because that part took me about 3 picoseconds. This bodes well for the following steps.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 4:03 PM on July 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

Paper piecing is the perfectionist's ideal quilting method. I have a quilt I'm working on that I'm paper piecing. My only complaint is that it uses up so much paper, but darn it I love how exact every block is.
posted by E3 at 4:15 PM on July 31, 2014

This is neat, thanks for posting.
posted by janell at 5:02 PM on July 31, 2014

Neat! The quilt on my bed was made with foundation paper piecing, one summer when I was unemployed (doubt if I would have had the time or patience for it otherwise).

This makes me miss MetaQuilter.
posted by medeine at 7:32 PM on July 31, 2014

Jimmy McBride has pieced some awesome and epic intergalactic quilts. I recommend checking out his quilt tag as well as this stop-motion animation of a section of quilt coming together.

Personally, I would rage-quit just cutting the pieces out, so his stuff seems like some sort of beautiful but impossible magic to me.
posted by stefanie at 8:58 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm still wrapping my head around this. Thanks for sharing!
posted by korej at 9:25 PM on July 31, 2014

We did some paper piecing in the metaquilter group last year and I loved it. It was much easier than I had expected, and very satisfying to rip the paper off and have a finished piece.
posted by lollusc at 12:07 AM on August 1, 2014

This reminds me that I should get back to my hexagon quilt. Thanks for sharing!
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:18 AM on August 1, 2014

I don't need to look at these links! I already have two unfinished MetaQuilts to work on and another one started. I don't need to get any new ideas to add to the unfinished quilt heap.
posted by artychoke at 9:10 AM on August 1, 2014

Oh, THAT'S what I did at school, and why. I'm really happy to know this (even and especially because I never finished that quilt, hated sewing at school, and only properly learnt afterwards when there was no-one around to make me feel like a complete failure with the machinery).
posted by lokta at 7:55 PM on August 10, 2014

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