Saturday, April 30, 2011

Experimenting with a different technique . . .

Many of you know I love foundation piecing, with a twist . . .

Instead of sewing fabric to paper, which gets torn out when the block is completed, I used slightly-starched muslin that I've stamped my design on.  Call me lazy, but what's the point of going to all the trouble of teaing out all that paper??

I love foundation piecing because of the accuracy and consistency of the blocks.  I sometime enlist my dad's help in constructing quilt blocks.  With foundation piecing, it doesn't matter who constructs the blocks; they'll all come out the same.

Of course, I have a fair bit of prep work upfront to make up for the paper tearing at the end:  I must pre-shrink the muslin; cut the muslin into strips; soak the strips in a starch/water solution; press the strips before cutting them into squares; and then print my design with a rubber stamp.  WHEW!!

I found a product that I blogged about previously that let me run foundation sheets through my printer:  June Tailor's "Perfect Piecing."  It is non-woven, and feels like a slightly stiff paper; it can be either left in the project or torn out.  Well, I left it in the project, but it leaves the projected sorta stiff and it has the sound of paper crinkling . . . ERK!!

Back to the muslin . . . If I could just find a method that didn't have so many steps . . .

Years ago, I tried something I mentioned on my "Simply Quilts" appearance.  Instead of pinning fabric to the right side of the muslin foundation and sewing along the printed lines on the back, I tried sewing the fabric from the front.  It should be possible to use the sewing foot as guide.  I decided to give this another try.

Unfortunately, I have half-inch seam allowances built into my templates.  To remedy this, I attached a quilting guide at the half-inch mark, as shown below.

Then, I pinned my fabric to the muslin foundation and sewed it, using the quilting guide as guide for my half-inch seam allowance.
The jury is still out on the results:  the fabric pieces go together well enough, but the trimming of the finished square leaves something to be desired. The squares are exactly seven inches square, and I'm using a half-inch seam allowance to assemble them, but the accuracy is off; my points just don't seem to meet as perfectly as before.

I may go back to rubber-stamping my muslin, and sewing from the back . . .


  1. Have you tried freezer paper piecing? Instead of sewing through the 'foundation' you fold it back the sew next to the fold. Then iron the fabric open and re-iron the freezer paper, and fold for the next piece. The freezer paper goes through printers, but you can re-use the papers about 10 times so not so many 'foundations' are needed.

  2. Thank you for the tip, Paula . . . I did a search, and came up with several variations using freezer paper: one method involved "folding" as you mentioned; the other method called for individual pieces of freezer paper affixed to the wrong side of fabric pieces.

    I think there's a third reason I love muslin foundation piecing that I didn't mention in my post: Neatness. All of the seam allowances are automatically covered by the muslin foundation. When I assemble finished blocks and press the seams open, the fabric caught in the seam allowances is the only fabric seen on the back.