Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 17

Fabric Friday – A Foundation Paper Pieced Sew-Along

Hello and welcome to another Fabric Friday. This week I thought that I would try something different and see if anyone would like to take part in a sort of a sew-along with me.

I recently purchased a jelly roll and thought that I would create a simple foundation paper piecing pattern that we can all have a go at – and hopefully I will be able to share my finished piece, along side yours in a future Fabric Friday post.

To get things started I created a very simple pattern that will be suitable for all to have a go at.

Here is the link for the Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern for you to download and print.

Ok, I should let you know the tools that I will be using in case you haven’t done this before. I’ll also let you know alternatives as we go.

  • Jelly Roll (you can alternatively cut 2.5 inch strips from a large 40 inch wide piece of fabric if you prefer).
  • Rotary Cutter.
  • Cutting Mat.
  • The Pattern.
  • Paper to print the pattern onto (lightweight copy paper, tracing paper or wash away foundation paper are all good).
  • Add-A-Quarter ruler.
  • A piece of card (a postcard is great for this).
  • A couple of flower head pins.
  • A finger pressing tool (bamboo or plastic are both equally good).

Here they are all assembled and ready for action.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 1

To start with, I printed the pattern four times onto tracing paper.

I then opened the jelly roll pack and admired the colours and patterns …

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 3

After snapping back from the dreaminess I began “organising” my strips. First into colour groups, then into tones.

Then back again.

Then into different patterns.

Then I lost the plot and tottered off for a cup of tea.

Refreshed, I did manage to decide on five colour combo groups (five because I need five for the pattern that I created).

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 4

I trimmed some strips and checked the order of colours against the pattern …

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 6

From each of the five strips I cut the following.

  • Two x 5 inch strips.
  • Two x 8 inch strips.
  • One x 10 inch strip.

From colour group 1 I took a 5 inch piece and put it over section 1 on the pattern, right side facing up and pinned it in place at the back.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 7

I then took the postcard and lay it’s edge against the line between sections 1 & 2; folded the paper back over the postcard (to reveal the raw edge of the fabric) and then put the Add-A-Quarter ruler against this folded edge and trimmed away the excess fabric.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 7.1

This ruler by the way is ace. I would highly recommend getting one if you intend to do this technique.

After trimming I folded the paper back and flipped the entire piece over.

Next I grabbed an 8 inch strip from colour group 2 and lay it over the last piece right facing down (onto the last piece and aligned with the edge that I have just trimmed) and secured both pieces with a pin.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 8

I flipped the whole thing over again and, using the diagonal line between sections 1 and 2 as a guide, stitched along it from end to end.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 9

After taking it out of the machine and trimming the thread ends I flipped the piece back over and unpinned it.

Finally I folded back the second piece of fabric and pressed the seam with the seam pressing tool.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 10

With the first two sections in place I repeated adding each strip in this way until the entire pattern was covered.

If you are having a go at this, don’t forget to trim the raw edge between each section – this not only means you are neatening the back as you work but it also gives you a perfect alignment guide for your next strip.

Here is what mine looked like from the right and wrong side.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 11 Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 12

You can probably see that I also chose to tack down the raw edges by running a straight stitch around the outer edge within the seam allowance.

Finally, using a quilters rule and rotary cutter, I trimmed away the excess paper and fabric using the solid outer edge as the cutting line.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 14 Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 15

I then made three more of these but chose to “cycle” the colour groups so,

  • For block 2 – Start with colour 2 and work through 3, 4, 5 and finish with 1.
  • For block 3 – Start with colour 3 and work through 4, 5, 1 and finish with 2.
  • For Block 4 – Start with colour 4 and work through 5, 1, 2 and finished with 3

Once I have finished making these I then pieced the top two together using a quarter inch seam allowance (the dotted line); then the bottom two together and finally joined the top pair to the bottom pair and ended up with this …

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 17

Although I liked the random style it did “worry” me that, because, I only made four blocks and have five strips, this doesn’t exactly make even usage of the strips so I then chose to make the next blocks with a repeating pattern/colour selection.

For this I re-sorted the strips so that I had eight “collections”, of five strips; each starting with a black running through three other colours and ending in a grey. This was intended to give me some interesting effects when the blocks are sewn together – let’s see if it turns out that way! Lol.

Anyway, from these I cut the following.

  • From colour strip 1 – I cut four 5 inch strips.
  • From colour strip 2 – I cut four 8 inch strips.
  • From colour strip 3 – I cut four 10 inch strips.
  • From colour strip 4 – I cut four 8 inch strips.
  • From colour strip 5 – I cut four 5 inch strips.


This meant that from a set of five strips I could achieve four of the single blocks or one group of four (as seen above).

This meant that from 40 strips I would have enough little pieces to make 32 single blocks or 8 groups of 4 blocks (like the one above). I might be able to get away with having nine if I reused the first one as a centre block. I’ll have to see when I’ve got the blocks made up.

Maths over – phew, eh?!

Anyway, here is the first batch of strips all ready to sew up.

Fabric Friday - Foundation Paper Piecing Sew Along - 5

But sadly I am going to have to break off here as I have to get the dinner ready (bacon sarnies!) and also sort the ironing out – booooo!

I’ll be stitching these blocks on Sunday so may do an update then if I can.

Anyway, are you going to give this a go? If so, what fabrics are you going to use for your version?

Thanks for visiting and ready – it’s always appreciated.

Take care, see you next time.

J :)




13 thoughts on “Fabric Friday – A Foundation Paper Pieced Sew-Along

  1. Hello John
    Just thought I would say that I am missing your Fabric Friday posts :)

    I know, I know! Not enough hours in the day, let alone the week or month! nd, it is good to live in hope, which this wait for your next post is doing for me in spades!

    Fingers and toes crossed for a pre-Christmas Fabric Friday, if you have time ad inspiration…

    Take care
    Toni x


  2. Well, thank you! You have somewhat debunked Jelly Rolls for me!
    I recall, in days gone by, sitting at the dining table with envelopes full of those 1″ square samples doing exactly what you did with the Jelly Roll ~ sitting, arranging, re~arranging lost in hours of extremely non~productive day dreaming!


  3. Thanks this is a great idea. Haven’t got any jelly rolls, but do have some scraps. So going to get sorting and cuting into the strips. Or might just have to buy a jelly roll ( tell tmy other half its a need to buy thing)!!


  4. Hi John,

    This looks like fun. ‘All’ of my fabric is spoken for at the minute bar some leftover FQ’s from the first ever bag I made. I could slice that and simply go as far as what I have will take me. It’d be a great way of using up fabric that isn’t my cuppa at all and make something nice for my niece. It’d be great ‘sewing in a straight line’ practice too! -I started an online sewing / tailoring course and my sewing seriously needs some neatness before I go much further! :-)

    I shall download on the computer- on phone at the minute, and give it a go. Thanks John, you are so kind to share with us,

    Crafty hugs,

    T x


  5. Once again John inspirational. Thank you and will eagerly await the next instalment. Cant wait just finished a bit of Jennie rayments fiddling and twiddling. Your both so addictive…lol wouldn’t have you any other way though. keep up the good work.


  6. love the project, printed the pattern and will sort out fabric from stash, stumbling block, not got add a quarter ruler. but will only be able to start in October, going away on Tuesday for 16 days, will have to catch up when back thank you x


  7. Another fabulous post, John! Would love to have a go. However I’m about to start my fifth English Crazy Patchwork square (totally addicted!!). Also I bought some lovely fat quarters today and need to give myself a few days/weeks before I stop stroking and drooling over them and pluck up the courage to actually cut into them *deep breaths*! But I’m definitely going to print off the pattern and obvious buy some jelly rolls!


  8. Love the sew-a-long idea but sadly (er no, happily for me really!) I have two days of tuition booked. Saturday the first day of learning a new (to me) technique – Atarashii. Sunday a day learning the ins & outs of my first overlocker.

    Love your blocks, love foundation piecing too! Looking forward to seeing the next installment when I yet home Sunday night… :)


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