Free Quilting Tips

Paula's Pointers for Painless Paper Foundation Piecing

1. Use a new, size 75 or 80 sewing machine needle.

2. Shorten the stitch length on your machine to 15 stitches/inch. Make sure that your seam ripper can fit in a stitch in case you need to unstitch. The shorter stitch length prevents the stitches from coming undone easily and helps perforate the paper for easier removal.

3. SET, PRESS, TRIM, PLACE and SEW.

4. When stitching seams within the block, start and stop a healthy 1/8" past the printed line. If the seam is a short 1/8", apply a small drop of Fray-Check to the seam allowance to prevent it from unraveling.

5. When the seam finishes at the blockís border, continue stitching all the way into the 1/4" seam allowance of the block.

6. Press each seam after stitching.

7. Seams can be safely trimmed to 1/8" but no less than that as they will unravel.

8. To prevent shadowing with seams having a lighter fabric on top and a darker fabric underneath, angle your scissors (i.e., grade seam allowance) when trimming the seam allowance.

9. When your block is completed, lightly spray the fabric side with Spray Starch. Let the starch settle into the fabric, then press. This stabilizes the block and makes trimming the excess fabric off more accurate. Keep the paper foundation pattern attached to the back of the block until the entire quilt top is finished. This prevents stretching of seams and helps with accuracy.

10. If the black ink of a foundation pattern gets on your fabric after ironing, gently wipe the area with a baby wipe.

11. Most paper foundation patterns can be restitched up to four times (if mistakes are made) before the paper gives out. Even then a small piece of scotch tape will solve the problem. Remember to wipe your needle off in case some of the adhesive adheres to it.

12. Remember that there are five and only five mistakes that can be made with paper foundation piecing:

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