I love foundation paper piecing!
When I first learned about it when I was making my learner’s sampler quilt I thought it was intimidating and difficult – news flash – it isn’t!
It’s actually a super easy way of sewing precisely and a great way to use up fabric scraps too!
What is Foundation Paper Piecing
Foundation Paper Piecing (not the same thing as English Paper Piecing!) is when you sew your fabric directly on to a ‘foundation’ that has a guide printed on it that shows you were to sew.
A foundation can also be another fabric if a pattern is printed on it but traditionally foundation paper piecing involves – you guessed it – paper.
This can be freezer paper, purpose made foundation paper, or even just regular printer paper (which is what I used in the video below).
Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) involves sewing patches on to the foundation in a specific order so that you are always sewing along a straight line. When the patches are all together they can make anything from an animal to a start to mini flying geese!
The possibilities are endless as long as the block can be divided into straight lines for sewing along.
So FPP Patterns can be super simple – like the flying geese below – or super complex involving multiple sections and loads of little pieces.
How I use Foundation Paper Piecing
I use foundation paper piecing in a few ways:
- I make full quilts made with FPP blocks
- I keep a stash of mini FPP patterns beside my sewing table to use up scraps and then use those mini blocks in quilts, pouches and keychains.
- I make stand alone projects like a room sign for my nephew where each letter was a different FPP block (see image above).
- I make single quilt blocks as part of larger sampler quilts or as an easier way of making traditional quilt blocks.
- I have made single FPP Blocks and then pieced fabric remnants around it to make a quilt (I’ll post about this soon and link to it here).
Materials Needed – Mini Flying Geese Foundation Paper Piecing
- Download and print the PDF pattern below at 100% scale to make a set of 4 flying geese with a finished block size of 1.5″ x 3″.
- Triangle shaped fabric scraps (mine were offcuts from a quilt pattern I was working on and they measured 1.75″ on the two short sides and 2.5″ on the longest side.
- Either regular printer paper, FPP Paper or Vellum Tracing Paper
- Glue Stick (optional)
- Rotary cutter and straight edge ruler
- Sewing machine & thread
Free Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern – Mini Flying Geese
Below you can download a free foundation paper piecing template for 1.5″ x 3″ four in a block flying geese. There is also a free video tutorial below.
You need four triangle patches for the central flying geese in this pattern, and 8 background patches.
I choose to go with patterned fabric for the central geese and various white patches for the background.
I made this FPP pattern the size that it is in order to use it on a huge heap of triangle shaped off cuts from the current quilt pattern I am working on. Those offcuts were all roughly 1.75″ on the two shortest sides by 2.5″ on the longest sides.
Tips for Foundation Paper Piecing
- Have a light source nearby so you can hold your pattern up to the light to check that your patch is large enough.
- Lower your stitch length to 1.5 so that the needle perforates the paper and makes it easier to remove later on.
- Trim your excess seams after sewing on each patch (see video below)
- Flip & Check often to make sure your patches are in the right place before you sew.
Video Tutorial – Mini Flying Geese FPP
Follow the instructional video here to see how to use it and learn how you can size this pattern up or down to fit with fabric scraps you are trying to use up or just to make some flying geese in the size you want!
Sizing your Flying Geese Pattern Up or Down
The free pattern you can download above is for a 1.5″ x 3″ mini block and it includes a 1/4″ seam allowance.
If you are happy with that size just print at 100% scale on your computer.
If you want to make it twice as big print at 200% or if you want it slightly smaller print at 75% or 80% for example.
What you need to remember is that if you scale this up or down the 1/4″ seam allowance will not stay at a constant 1/4″.
So if you are scaling this pattern be sure to measure your 1/4″ seam for joining from the inner border on the pattern.
If you get your 1/4″ seam correct around the edges of your block you should have no problem joining these mini blocks to make a bigger block, a quilt border or, if you make enough of them, a whole quilt!
When joining blocks I remove the paper form the 1/4″ seam area after sewing right sides together and before pressing seams open (see video above for more on this).
Be sure to flip and check that your points are joining up before you sew!
See image above and spot the one in the block that wasn’t lined up correctly and lost his point!
Here are some other posts you might like:
- Quilt-as-You-Go Learner’s Quilt: Part 1
- Learning to Quilt: ‘Learner’s Quilt’ Sampler Part 2
- 7 Quilt as You Go Methods (No Hand-sewing!)
- Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along – 1930s Sampler Quilt
- Scrappy Disappearing 9 Patch Quilt
- A Scrappy Quilt with Scrappy Binding (& even Scrappy Quilting!)!
- Scrappy Improv Quilt Squares