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This foundation pieced block has been designed by Kerry Green of VeryKerryBerry and author of '500 Quilt Blocks'.


Foundation Pieced Block - Freshly Squeezed

Foundation pieced blocks


Foundation paper piecing is a useful way to achieve precise piecing in your quilt blocks. A paper pattern or ‘foundation’ is used and the seams are sewn through the paper and the fabric. You can find my beginner’s Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial
here. To take the technique a little further I’ve designed two picture blocks with a ‘drinks’ theme. ‘Freshly Squeezed’ is a beginner-friendly block and using only one pattern piece. You can make the block at 6” square (finished) with the pattern pieces printed at 100%, or scaled down to a finished coaster size block of 4” square by printing the pattern at 67%.


Equipment

You don’t need special equipment to foundation paper piece but there are a few basic items that can make life easier.  A water-based glue stick like Sewline or even Pritt stick is helpful for positioning the first piece of fabric on the reverse of the paper, although you can also pin it. An Add-a-quarter ruler is an easy and safe way to trim your seams accurately as you sew. This ruler has a 1/4" lipped edge that sits over the edge of the paper pattern. You can also use a standard quilt ruler.  A window, light source, white work surface, or even white paper also helps you to see what is happening beneath the paper as each piece of fabric is added. A Hera marker can be used to pre-crease the seam lines on the paper pattern before you sew. This makes it easier to flip the paper back and forth. You could also use a blunt non-serrated butter knife.

 

Making the Block

Freshly Squeezed block


 This block is sewn using a single pattern piece. Start with piece one and work through the pieces in number order to complete the block. 

Finished block size, 6” square. Finished size does not include the seam allowance so the unfinished size is 6½” square. Seam allowance is 1/4” throughout.

 

You will need...

  • Fabric: Background fabric - 10” square, scraps for glass and juice. Dimensions for each piece are in the cutting instructions    
  • Print the pattern on to A4 printer paper.  Lightweight paper is easiest to use, e.g. 70gsm weight. The solid line square should measure 6”
  • Water based glue stick e.g. Sewline glue stick (optional)

Cut out paper pattern adding ½” around the outer edge for extra wiggle room!

Fabric Piece 1, Juice: 3 1/4" x 4 1/2"

Piece 2, Glass: 1 1/4" x 2 5/8”

Pieces 3 & 4, Glass: 1 1/4" x 4 1/4" (cut 2)

Pieces 5 & 6, Glass: 1 1/4" x 2 1/2" (cut 2)

Piece 7, Glass: 1 5/8” x 4”

Pieces 8 & 9, Background: 2" square, cut across diagonal to make 2 half-square triangles

Pieces 10 & 11, Bkg: 1 3/4" x 4” (cut 2)

Pieces 12 & 13, Bkg: 2 1/2" x 7” (cut 2)


1. Prepare your pattern by pre-creasing all the seam lines using a Hera marker or non-serrated blunt butter knife and a quilt ruler. These are the solid black lines on the pattern. 


 2. With the right side of the pattern facing you, hold the paper to a light source e.g. a window, place fabric piece 1 so the wrong side of the fabric is against the wrong side of the paper: the fabric needs to extend over the seam lines that surround piece 1 by at least 1/4". Use a swipe of glue stick (or a pin) to hold it in temporarily in place. 


Freshly Squeezed paper piecing


3. With the paper side upwards, place the block on a cutting mat.  Fold the paper area marked 2 towards the block centre along the pre-creased line; this reveals the excess fabric (wrong side up), which forms the seam allowance of the next seam.  Place a quilt ruler or an Add-a-quarter ruler over the folded paper so it hangs over the edge of the paper and the excess fabric by 1/4" to create the seam allowance to join the next piece.  Use a rotary cutter to trim off the excess fabric.


Sewing a foundation pieced block


With the fabric side upwards, place fabric piece 2 so it aligns with the newly created seam allowance.  This fabric rectangle is going to be covering piece 2 of your paper pattern so ensure that it is evenly placed.  Hold in place with your fingers or a pin and check that when piece 2 opens out, it covers the area on the pattern. Turn the block over so the paper side is upwards ready to sew and carry to the sewing machine.


 4. Using a small stitch, 1.5mm or less and with the paper side upwards, sew along the black seam line between pieces 1 and 2 on the pattern. Start the seam just before the seam line and stop at the end securing the seam at each end. You can start and end the seam at the very edge of the paper if you prefer but this will make the paper a little harder to fold back for step 8 and you might need to tear it a little at the edges.


Stitching a foundation pieced block

 

 5. On the fabric side, press the seam, then open out piece 2 and press away from the centre of the block. You could use a seam roller for this stage instead of an iron.


 6. Prepare the edge of the fabric which covers piece 1 for adding piece 3 as in step 3. Add pieces 3 and 4 following steps 3-6.


Make edges of foundation block


 7. Continue adding pieces 5, 6 and 7 in the same way. When pieces 8 and 9 are added, take care to line up the corner on the pattern with the corner on the fabric piece. The triangles will seem like very big pieces for a small area but diagonals often need extra fabric when foundation paper piecing.


Sewing a FPP block

 

 8. Continue adding the remaining fabric pieces in numerical order following steps 3-6 until the block is complete.


 9. If you’d like to make a smaller block, print the pattern at a reduced percentage - 67% will produce a finished block of 4” square. To work out the fabric size required for each piece, place your quilt ruler over the piece to be covered and add 3/8” to each edge, e.g. for fabric piece 2, you’ll need to cut a 1” x 2 7/8” piece.


Sewing foundation blocks

 

 An alternative to pre-cutting each piece is to add larger fabric scraps and trim as needed (see the two methods side by side in the photo below). This is quicker but you can get caught out with fabric pieces that are too small when flipped over.

 

Foundation paper piecing

 

For other quilt block tutorials see here

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