Friday, September 17, 2021

Sewing a wonky foundation pieced pattern

I made some wonky foundation pieced strips for the second African fabric quilt.  This post is to show you how to do that piecing.  Warning:  it is complicated!

1.  Draw the pattern onto freezer paper.  The finished size of the strip was 6" W x 18" L.  So the pattern was drawn to these dimensions.  (Hint:  I find that adding the seam allowance makes it much harder to tear away the freezer paper.  This means that you must remember to add the allowance around the edges.)   Draw a line 3/8" in from both of the long edges.  This will be where the points will end up, and not on the edge.  (I like this look a lot better than precision pieced points.)  Draw in the triangles, making sure to alter their angle and width to get that wonky look.

2.  Cut the strips of dark and light fabric 1" wider than the width of the strip and WOF.

3.  Lay the first color underneath the pattern and cut out the shape generously.  I like to leave about 1/2" around all the edges to make sure that I don't have to tear out the seams and try again.  Pin it in place with the right side down and the paper on the top.

4.  Place the second color underneath the pattern; lining up the top and bottom of the strip horizontally.  Eying where the fabric is supposed to cover it's shape, cut out the shape generously.  (Hint: fold back the pattern and trim the seam to be sewn even with the shape of the pattern, but leaving 1/2" allowance.  Fold back the pattern on the other side, and trim even with the shape of the pattern and also leaving 1/2" allowance.)  Remove this piece and set it just to the right.

5.  Using a thin ruler or long post card, place this on the seam to be sewn.  Fold back the paper, and trim the first fabric 1/4" away from the edge.  A ruler that adds 1/4" is very helpful.  This picture shows the thin ruler underneath and the 1/4" ruler on top.

6.  Flip and place the second piece underneath and line up the seam allowance, making sure that the left side seam is  the side being lined up.  Also, make sure that the wide side is opposite of the previous strip (Hint: if the wide side is down on the previous piece, the next piece should have the wide side at the top).  There is a bit of flipping and turning using this method, so I apologize in advance for how confusing this is to write up.  The main thing to remember is that the seam allowance is trimmed on the first piece before the next piece is sewn on.  And that the second piece has a seam allowance that matches the first piece, but is flipped right sides together with the first piece and underneath the paper. Pin it in place.  The stack should be (1) paper with the lines visible, (2) the first fabric face down, and (3) the second fabric face up.

7.  Flip back the paper , leaving the two fabrics right sides together and only the seam allowances to the right side underneath the paper pattern, and sew right on the seam line with the paper on top and the fabric underneath, using a 1.8 mm to 1.9 mm stitch length.  Start and stop 1/4" outside of the top and bottom.  It works best if you place the second piece to favor the wide side, meaning that the point can be placed at the top of the paper and the wide side hangs over the bottom.

8.  Press the piece in place.  The freezer paper's waxy side will hold these pieces in place.

9.  Pick up the strip of the first fabric again and follow the above steps until the strip is complete.  Make sure to alternate the light and dark fabrics.  I used batik fabric, so both sides were the same.  If you are using a fabric that has a right side and a wrong side, you need to pay attention so that the right side of the fabric is facing down when you cut the piece, and right sides facing up when you sew the piece.

10.  Trim the piece 1/4" outside the edges of the paper.  The piece will be 6-1/2" W x 18-1/2" L.

11.  Sew the entire quilt top and then remove the freezer paper.

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