Block Chain Quilt Along Week 5 – Free Motion Quilting

This part of the quilt along is always my favorite!! I’m excited to share how I free-motion quilted my Block Chain Quilt with a fast, fun and forgiving modern design I call “Geometric Chains.”

Click here to get the optional Block Chain quilt kit, while supplies last.

The basic idea is to quilt an allover design, one line at a time across the entire quilt. Below is the basic motif diagram shown in the Block Chain quilt pattern.

To get a feel for how this design is stitched, draw a series of geometric lines, similar to those shown below on a blank piece of paper. Start with a straight-ish line, then sketch a series of geometric shape such as circles, triangles, squares, spirals, hearts, etc. The sky’s the limit when it comes to ideas!!

To get around each shape and make the next one, you can backtrack (stitch over a previous part of the design), or you can echo part of the design. There’s no wrong way to do it! To avoid marking, make the shapes roughly the size of a pieced block unit. Notice how the middle spiral chain above is roughly the width of the center of the block.

Once you’ve sketched out a few shapes you like, stitch them out on some practice scraps before quilting them on your actual quilt. Be sure to test out thread colors so you are happy with the results.

In the closeup image below, you can see I used a colorful thread from my Aurifil Variegated thread collection. Because the quilt has such a high contrast, I didn’t want to have to change threads as I quilted – so I made the colorful quilting a part of the final design!

When it comes to quilting the quilt, I use my “divide and conquer” method. I start on the right side of my quilt and begin stitching at the top of the quilt, in the batting sticking out around the edges. Then I quilt one “anchor” line of quilting through each block. This will hold each pieced row together so it won’t shift after basting. Then I go back and fill in all of the quilting in each row of blocks.

Click the play button below to watch a short, 2 1/2 minute video of me quilting a couple of the “chains” in this quilt. I’m only showing the closeups, but I’m just quilting one section at a time, and taking my time. I’m able to quilt an entire chain from top to bottom without having to tie off threads at either end.

Click here, or above to view my Block Chain quilting on YouTube. (Be sure to subscribe!)

The image below is a cross section details of the quilt. Notice how all that quilting adds a somewhat whimsical texture to the quilt. Click the image below to enlarge for detail.

Alternate Quilting Ideas

You can definitely apply the Geometric Chains quilting motif to any quilt, and there are several ways you can change it up, too! How about using ONE geometric design across the entire quilt? Or mix up each “chain” of quilting so it looks like a geometric sampler.

Instead of quilting straight lines with each shape, try wiggly lines, or do an allover meander with the shapes instead. No matter how you quilt it, I’d love to see your variations! Be sure to share them in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group. Or tag me on instagram @christaquilts and use #blockchainquilt so I can see your progress.

Next week it’s time to bind this quilt and then it will be complete! Be sure to check out my Quilt Along landing page for past quilt alongs and new ones coming in the future!

For MOre INfo ABOUT THIS QAL

Pattern Clearance $4.95 Each While They Last! (Plus some eye candy machine quilting!)

I’m making way for some new patterns coming this summer (to go along with some new fabric) so it’s time to clear out some of my older paper patterns. The following 4 printed patterns are on sale now until they are sold out – first come first serve!

Charming Chevrons

Click here to get Charming Chevrons for $4.95 with Free US Shipping

Charming Chevrons Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

This was my very first pattern I ever released and the good news is I will actually be releasing a newer updated version with upcoming fabric. But in the meantime, you can get the original version of Charming Chevrons for a killer price!

Here’s another version I made when I was on a solids kick:

It was so fun to quilt this one!!

Positive Direction

Click here to get Positive Direction for $4.95 with Free US Shipping

Positive Direction Pattern Cover by Christa Quilts

This was one of my earlier patterns from before I started designing fabric. It’s perfect for using up scraps or leftover strips!

Here are some beauty shots of the quilt + quilting. I combined simple straight lines with pebbles, alternating the quilting design to emphasize the colorful blocks.

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern

Positive Direction Quilt Pattern by Christa Quilts

Modern X

Click here to get Modern X for $4.95 with Free US Shipping

Modern X Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson of Christa Quilts

This has been one of my all time most popular modern designs. It’s simple yet eye catching and one of these days I will remake it using my own fabric prints in similar colors.

Irregular straight line quilting brings a wow factor to this modern minimalist quilt. I was thrilled when it won a ribbon at my local quilt guild’s show several years ago.

Modern X quilt

Improv Squares

Click here to get Improv Squares for $4.95 with Free US Shipping

Improv Squares by Christa Watson for Christa Quilts

This quilt pattern is a fun way to ease into improv piecing and it’s made from one layer cake + background fabric. I only have a couple of these left, so grab it before they are gone!

Improv Squares Quilt Pattern using Modern Marks Fabric

Click here for all printed patterns on clearance.

PDF Patterns on Sale

Once the paper versions above are gone, that’s it! I need the shelf space for new stuff to come!
However, if you prefer instant download patterns, many of my current line of my PDF patterns are on sale in my Etsy shop for 15% off the regular price.

Click here for my entire line of PDF patterns on Etsy.

ChristaQuilts Patterns

Happy Sewing, Friends!

Block Chain QAL Week 1 – Cutting the Fabric

Welcome to the Block Chain quilt along! This week we will be cutting all the fabric needed to make this quilt. It will be super easy because the center of each block features precut squares which are already cut for you (one of the reasons I love working with precuts)!

Gridwork Charmpack

My version uses 36 out of the 42 squares included in the Gridwork Charm Pack.

Sorting the Charm Squares

You will need one charm square for each block in your quilt. Because the throw size consists of 36 blocks and my  Gridwork charm pack includes 42 squares, I pulled out 6 squares of the black and gray prints. I like the random coloring below with just two of the black/white squares included for interest. Refer to the Block Chain pattern for the number of squares you’ll need for the smaller or larger sizes.

The important thing to remember is that as long as there is contrast between the squares and the surrounding frames (black in my quilt), it will still look good. Here’s another tip: if one of your squares is the same color as your background, it will look like there’s a hole in your block, so avoid that if possible.

Block Chain by Christa WatsonClick here to get the Block Chain quilt kit wile supplies last.

Cutting the Black and gray Fabrics

Refer to the Gridwork quilt pattern on page 3 to cut out your accent, background, and binding strips. Here are closeup images of the fabrics that I used:

The black is called Square Grid. I included this one in the Gridwork line specifically for this quilt!!

Square Grid Black

There are several great grays in Gridwork but I really like the look of the gray Hourglass print for the background. It gives the quilt just the right amount of interest and texture!

gridwork Hourglass gray

I especially love using fun geometric bindings for my quilts, so I picked the black Circle Grid print to finish off the edges of the quilt.

Here’s a tip to save for the end: if you want a super narrow binding thats finishes exactly 1/4″ evenly on front and back, cut your strips 2″ and sew the binding on with 1/4″ seam allowance.

Circle Grid Black

Click here to stock up on yardage and bundles of your favorite Gridwork prints.

Looking ahead to next Week:

Next week we will start sewing all of our cut units into blocks. Just remember, you can work at your own pace, faster or slower as you wish. I’m here to cheer you on each step of the way!

Blockchain quilt blocks

Where Can I Find MORE Info about this qal?

Pieced Primrose Quit Along Week 7 – Machine Quilting

Can you believe we are almost to the end of our Paper Pieced Primrose Quilt Along? If you are just now hearing about it, scroll to the end for links to all of the other QAL posts. I’ll leave them up indefinitely so that you can make this quilt on your own time and schedule.

Paper Pieced Primrose

Click here to get the Pieced Primrose Quilt Kit made from Abstract Garden.

Quilting on Busy Quilts

The first thing to think about when quilting a busy quilt such as my versions shown above, is that the quilting won’t be a focal part of the quilt. It’s more about the interplay of the fabric colors and the geometry of the pieced design. So a busy quilt is a great place to practice a new quilting design, or one that you want to get better quilting.

machine quilt from Pieced Primrose

In the Pieced Primrose quilt pattern, I give machine quilting suggestions (just like I do in ALL of my quilt patterns). Because I made two versions of the same quilt, I quilted them with two different allover edge to edge free-motion designs: round spirals and square spirals.

When quilting an edge to edge design – I start on one side of the quilt and work my way across the quilt in a methodical fashion, block by block.

Variegated collection by Christa Watson

I used my Aurifil Variegated Thread Collection in blue and pink for each of the respective colorways. They blend into all of the fabrics and added a little bit of sparkle to the quilts. Here are a few detail shots below:

Abstract Garden Warm – click images to enlarge

Free Motion Swirls

Free Motion Swirls

Abstract Garden Cool – click images to enlarge

free motion boxes

free motion boxes

My favorite thing about quilting an allover edge to edge design is that it adds yummy texture to the quilt and is sooo forgiving! Your motifs don’t have to be perfect because you won’t see the individual stitches. And the best way to hide imperfect quilting is to surround it with MORE imperfect quilting!!

See Me qulting on Video!

I recently quilted 3 different versions of another quilt – Terrace Tiles using 3 different free-motion designs in the same way. I stitched Swirls and Boxes (similar to Square Spirals) on two of them and other fun design – Jagged Stipple – on the third.

Click play below to see  me quilting 3 different free-motion designs on Terrace Tiles:

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make Pieced Primrose

Next week we will bind our quilts to finish!

Pieced Primrose Warm
Pieced Primrose Abstract Garden Warm
Pieced Primrose CoolPieced Primose Quilt Abstract Garden Cool

Terrace Tiles Quilts: Ta Da! They are Finished!

This is the final part of my “making of” series for Terrace Tiles. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey and are inspired to make your own version! See below for info about these quilts and the previous progress posts.

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

Terrace Tiles Finished Quilt Stats

  • Finished sizes: Amethyst and Citron 38″ x 57″; Breeze 57″ x 76″
  • Designed using Electric Quilt 8 software
  • Pieced and quilted by Christa Watson on my Bernina 770QE
  • Fabric collection: Gridwork by Christa Watson for Benartex
  • Pattern: Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson
  • Batting used: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton/polyester
  • Thread used: Aurifil 50 weight cotton from The Variegated Collection by Christa Watson
  • Quilting designs: edge to edge swirls, boxes and jagged stipple
  • Completed: October of 2019

Terrace Tiles Amethyst

Terrace Tiles Amethyst

Terrace Tiles Amethyst

Terrace tiles Breeze

Terrace Tiles Breeze 1500

Terrace Tiles Breeze

Terrace Tiles Citron

Terrace Tiles Citron

Terrace Tiles Citron

Kits and Patterns Available

MakinG of Terrace Tiles

Terrace Tiles pattern front cover

Terrace Tiles pattern back cover

Win It Wednesday From Benartex – Your Chance to Win my Fabric and Patterns!

This week, Benartex is promoting my new Gridwork fabric on their social media channels. Along with that, they run a weekly Win-it Wednesday promotion. Today is your chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Gridwork + 2 of my quilt patterns made from it.

Gridwork by Christa WatsonClick here to get fat quarter bundles or yardage of Gridwork.

3 lucky winners will each win one of the color ways: Amethyst, Breeze, or Citron along with my Block Chain and Terrace Tiles quilt patterns.

Christa Quilts Patterns

Click here to get my quilt patterns – printed paper version.
Click here tog et my quilt patterns – PDF download version.

To enter, head over to @benartex_fabrics on instagram and leave a comment there. You must follow both Benartex and me @christaquilts on instagram to win. Contest is open until Tuesday, February 18th at 11:59 pm EST. Three winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 19th on the Benartex social media account.

Good luck and happy sewing!

Making of Terrace Tiles Part 4: Machine Quilting & Binding

Today I’m excited to share some machine quilting tips and videos for all 3 versions of my Terrace Tiles quilts. My thought is why make one quilt when you can make 3 in almost the same amount of time, right?? LOL!!

Choosing Thread colors

Aurifil Variegated Thread by Christa Watson

The variegated thread color above is actually a combo of red, white and blue but it looks pink and purple when quilted on the Amethyst quilt!

Because these quilts are so bright and colorful, I decided to quilt them using 3 different colors from my Aurifil Variegated Thread Collection. I’ve really been enjoying quilting with them because they add a bit of whimsy and sparkle to my busy quilts! Whenever I pick colors, I audition the thread by placing the spool on top of the fabrics to see how it will blend in.

Aurifil Variegated Thread by Christa Watson

Variegated thread on the Breeze colorway in progress!

It’s often surprising how well a thread will blend in even if the colors aren’t an exact match to the fabric. I normally use the same color it top and bobbin and don’t worry about whether or not the same colors will line up perfectly – that’s an impossible task. But with the variegated colors, any imperfections are hard to see and that makes for stress free quilting!

Aurifil Variegated Thread by Christa Watson

The black and white will add an extra dimension to this modern color palette!

Choosing the Quilting Designs

Because I was in a hurry to make these quilts for quilt market last fall, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to finish them. I pride myself on quilting my own quilts because (1) that’s my favorite part and (2) I’m a little bit of a control freak. So I knew I had to choose designs that would look great and wouldn’t take too much time.

free motion swirls

Swirls in progress on the Amethyst colorway. Don’t stress about the imperfections!

Also, I wanted these quilts to do double duty. Not only do they showcase my Gridwork fabric and Terrace Tiles quilt pattern, they also are examples of 3 different motifs I teach in my machine quilting workshops: Swirls on the Amethsyt colorway, Boxes on the Breeze colorway, and Jagged Stipple on the Citron colorway.

modern free motion

Boxes on the Breeze colorway is one of my favorite modern machine quilting designs.

The fastest and easiest way to finish a quilt with free motion is to choose one design and quilt it from edge to edge across the quilt regardless of the pieced quilt design. It’s also a forgiving way to hide wonky or irregular seams. Just focus on one block at a time, and before you know it, the whole thing is finished! Another way to speed up the process is to quilt the motifs on a larger scale, because that takes up more space in less time.

Jagged stipple by Christa Watson

Jagged stipple is my modern, angular version of it’s traditional cousin, smooth curving stipple.

Just to give you an idea of how fast these designs are to stitch out, it took me about 3 hours to quit swirls on the baby size Amethyst version, 5 hours to quilt boxes on the throw-sized Breeze version, and 2 hours to quilt jagged stipple on the baby sized Citron version. Although the Citron quilt is the same size as the Amethyst, jagged stipple is a much looser design than swirls, so it was a bit faster.

Scrunching and Smooshing the Quilt

Because I do everything on a sit down machine, it’s important to control the weight and bulk of the quilt. I still have yet to find the perfect quilting table, so this is what my hacked together set up looks like below:

Christa Quilts Studio

I got this table for a song 20+ years ago and sadly I don’t even remember the brand!

My sewing machine is flush with the bed of the table so it can hold most of the weight. It’s pushed against the wall so the quilt won’t fall off the back of the table. Most of the bulk is to my left, and I’ve placed a TV tray forming an L shape to hold more of the quilt as I scrunch and smoosh it through the machine. I also have a comfortable ergonomic chair that I can roll around easily.

Christa Quilts Studio

A larger throat space on my machine makes a huge difference when managing the bulk!

On a bright sunny day I like to look out the window which gives me lots of natural light while I’m sewing and quilting! When the quilt falls into my lap, I just scrunch and smoosh it out of the way as needed while I quilt.

I hope this helps you overcome your fear of free motion when choosing and allover textural design like this. The key is to fill in all the spaces, so your eye doesn’t notice any of the imperfections.

See it on Video!

Here’s a YouTube video I made showing me actually fee motion quilting each quilt. The video is just under 8 minutes and it’s packed with tips as I quilt each of the 3 quilts shown above. I’m stitching in real time with the volume on my machine so you can see and hear what it looks like “in real life.” Notice how much I stop and reposition my hands:

Scrappy Binding

gridwork fabric scrappy binding

Sew the leftovers together randomly for a fun, scrappy binding!

I love a scrappy binding, especially when making quilts from fat quarters. For Terrace Tiles, you just use up the leftovers and piece them together randomly to carry the colorful chaos all the way to the edges of the quilt.

scrappy binding gridwork fabric

You can join the ends on an angle or edge to edge!

I prefer to cut my binding strips 2″ wide so they finish nice and narrow and are even on both sides. I press each of the seams open to reduce bulk and make sure the binding  is long enough to go around the entire quilt with a few inches extra.

gridwork scrappy binding

Another great thing about scrappy binding  is you can always add more strips!

Although I prefer the look of hand binding, machine binding is a great way to finish fast! Here are my two favorite ways to bind, either by hand or machine:

Remember, if you make your own version of this quilt, please share. You can use #terracetilesquilt on instagram, or you can share your progress in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group. I’d love to see it!!

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

LINKS AT A GLANCE:

Click here for the making of Terrace Tiles, Part 3
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern – paper version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern  – PDF version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt kits + Gridwork by the yard
Click here to get my Aurifil thread collections: colors, neutrals, or variegated
Click here for my binding tutorial (on a previous quilt)

Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Week 5 – Quilt Top Assembly

How are your Pieced Primrose blocks coming along? Did you check out some of the optional layouts from last week’s post? This week will be pretty straightforward as we sew the blocks and add borders to complete the quilt top.

Pieced Primrose Quilt Pattern

Quilt Top Assembly

For my cool and warm versions of the quilt, I’m doing the standard layout as shown on the cover of the Pieced Primrose Quilt pattern above. It’s the same basic layout whether you are making the smaller wall size, or the larger throw size.

First I sewed all of the foundation pieced blocks into larger 4 block units. The trick is to rotate the blocks so they look like the image below and sew 2 rows of 2 blocks each . Because of the bias edges on the blocks, you want to hand them carefully and use pins to ensure the edges match correctly.

Although the block seams are pressed to the side during block assembly (due to the foundation paper piecing process), I press the larger block seams open so they will lie flat.

Large Primrose Block – Warm Colorway

Pieced Primrose Blocks Warm

Large Primrose Block – Cool Colorway

Primrose Block Cool Large

For the wall size quilt you will be making 4 of these larger blocks. For the throw size, you will be making 20 of them. Just remember that you can always change up the size of your quilt by adjusting the number of blocks that you sew.

Click here to get the Pieced Primrose kit in warm or cool, wall or throw size.

Pieced Primrose Throw Size Layout

Pieced Primrose Quilt

Adding the Borders

Although the pattern gives you the correct measurements to cut for the borders, I always recommend measuring your quilt top first. It can shrink or grow depending on how accurate your seam allowances are.

The best advice is to measure both sides and through the middle, then cut your side border strips to this length. After the side borders are sewn, measure again with the borders attached and cut the top and bottom borders to match.

Wall Size Finished Top – Warm
Pieced Primrose Warm
Wall Size Finished Top – Cool

Pieced Primrose Cool

Next week we will baste our quilts and get them ready for machine quilting. So if you are still sewing your blocks together, don’t worry – you still have plenty of time! Remember to share your progress on instagram #piecedprimrose quilt or in my ChristaQuilts Facebook group.

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make this quilt:

Making of Terrace Tiles Part 2 – Piecing Tips for Sewing the Blocks

Welcome back to part 2 of Terrace Tiles quilts from my Gridwork fabric line. I’m excited to let you know that I’m now offering kits to make all 3 colorways of this quilt in two different sizes each!

Terrace Tiles by Christa Watson

Click here to get Terrace Tiles kits in Amethyst, Breeze, and Citron

Click here to catch up on part 1 and think of this as a shortened version of my quilt alongs. You can bookmark this post and come back to it when you are ready to make YOUR version of Terrace Tiles.
Terrace Tiles Quilt Block from Gridwork by Christa Watson

Amethyst Colorway of Gridwork Fabric.
Click here to get it by the FQ, 1/2 Yard or Full Yard Bundles

The quilt blocks for Terrace Tiles sew up really fast! This is by far one of the quickest quilts you can make, which was good for me since I sewed all 3 of them in a hurry for quilt market last fall. I could have just made one version of the quilt, but I really wanted to showcase all 3 colorways of my Gridwork fabric line. So 3 quilts it is!!

Terrace Tiles Quilt Block from Gridwork by Christa Watson

Breeze Colorway of Gridwork Fabric
Click here to get it by the FQ, 1/2 Yard or Full Yard Bundles

For the making of this quilt I wanted to share piecing tips just as much as quilting tips. Because I make all of my own quits from start to finish, the piecing can really impact the quilting and I like to make things as easy as possible so I can enjoy the entire process from start to finish.

Terrace Tiles Quilt Block from Gridwork by Christa Watson

Citron Colorway of Gridwork Fabric
Click here to get it by the FQ, 1/2 Yard or Full Yard Bundles

Tip #1 Sew with a shorter stitch length

When you use a smaller stitch length it does two things: (1) It secures the seams so that there’s less of a chance that the edges will split apart while handling. (2) It also helps hide the thread so that you don’t see it poking through the seams. The default stitch length on my BERNINA is 2.5 so I turn the stitch length down to 2.0 whenever I’m piecing blocks for a quilt.

Gridwork Fabric

Pairing up fabrics in each block is half the fun!!

Tip #2 Sew with the Long Skinny Strip on Top

Any time you are working with pieces that are longer than a few inches, they have a chance to bow or warp out of shape as you stitch because of the action of your sewing machine and the feed dogs. So if you can sew each set of units in opposite directions, this will help compensate and ensure that your blocks stay nice and square.

An easy way to automatically switch sewing directions is to sew with the skinny center rectangle on top when you are making the Terrace Tiles blocks. It’s also easier to handle the cut pieces this way, too.

Gridwork fabric

Seams pressed open = flatter blocks!!

Tip #3 Press Seams Open

I press the seams open so that the blocks will lie as flat as possible. This is super important especially when quilting on a home sewing machine because it will help eliminate friction and drag on the quilt while shoving it through the machine.

The less bulky you make your seam joins, the easier time you’ll have when your machine easily glides over the block intersections. And contrary to popular myth, you CAN still stitch in the ditch. In fact, it’s much easier to actually stay in the ditch and see what you are doing when your seams are pressed open.

Gridwork

The more fun prints, the better!!

Tip #4 Sew Blocks into Larger Chunks

To keep things random, I like to sew all of the blocks together into pairs and chain piece as I go. The only rule is I try to make sure each pair has 4 different fabrics. I like to press my seams as I sew each pair, so there’s less to press later and everything stays nice, flat and square.

Block Pairs

Pairs of blocks from the Amethyst and Breeze colorways.

Once all the pairs are sewn, you can choose to sew them into rows, or sew together into sets of 4 and then into larger rows. Because this is supposed to be a scrappy looking quilt, I don’t overthink it. I try to not have the same fabrics touch each other, but there will usually be a repeat of the print in the larger 4 patch design and that’s ok with me.

Terrace Tiles Blocks

Citron Terrace Tiles Blocks

Tip #5 Pin and press for success!

I press every seam as I go, and pin generously whenever I’m sewing together two pieces of fabric. It helps prevent the pieces from stretching and I especially pin where the seams come together. I get better joins this way, and of course I remove the pins as I sew.

Below is how I pin: with the pins perpendicular to the fabric. I pin next to each intersection on both sides rather than right where it’s sewn (so it doesn’t split apart). This is also the orientation in which I feed the blocks under the machine:

Pinning

In the next post, I’ll show how I assembled these finished blocks into the quilt tops and prepped the quilts for machine quilting, so stay tuned! And honestly, it’s not much more work to make 3 quilts than it is to make 1 and I enjoy every step of it!

Terrace Tiles Blocks

Breeze Terrace Tiles Blocks

Links at a Glance:

Click here for the making of Terrace Tiles, Part 1
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern – paper version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt pattern  – PDF version
Click here to get the Terrace Tiles quilt kits + Gridwork by the yard

Terrace Tiles BlocksAmethyst Terrace Tiles Blocks

Pieced Primrose Quilt Along Week 3 – Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Are you ready to start sewing your blocks? Notice how there are 3 separate sections you’ll need to create for each Pieced Primrose block. Just follow my step-by-step tutorial below and you can adapt this process to any foundation paper pieced (FPP) design you can think of!

Paper Piecing with Christa Watson

Preparing the Paper Foundations

One of our quilt along participants, Michelle Hanus recommends folding all of the sewing lines (the dark lines on the pattern) before piecing. That will make it easier to rip off the papers later on. Thanks for that great tip, Michelle!

After photocopying the master template (one for each block you are making), roughly cut apart the two FPP sections (A and B), leaving a little bit of space around the dashed lines – those are your seam allowances for the outside edges of the blocks.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Above  is what the master template looks like. In the examples below, mine look slightly different because I was working from a draft before I finalized the pattern for printing.

I highly recommend making one test block out of scrap fabrics following the steps below. Then, once you understand the process, you can sew multiple blocks at the same time with your chosen fabrics. You can even chain piece the same sections if desired – just know that you’ll use a little bit more thread in the process, but that’s ok.

Fold, Trim, Sew and Press (FTSp)

This process might seem very awkward because it’s different then what you are used to with regular piecing. I’ve heard it described as dancing like Ginger Rogers – backwards and with high heels! But if you just follow the same “dance” steps each time, you’ll have no problems getting precise results every time!

Position the First Piece Into Place – A Units

To begin, line up the wrong side of your A1 fabric piece underneath the A1 section so that there is fabric sticking out on all sides of the A1 unit. To keep it from shifting, you can pin it or add a dab of glue from a glue stick to keep it in place.

A rectangle works much better than a long skinny triangle so that you can ensure coverage of the entire piece. You will be sewing on the paper side with the printed lines facing up, just like the image below:

FPP by Christa Watson

Step 1 – Fold

Position a piece of cardstock (such as the pattern cover, or an index card) on the first line that you will sew (the line between A1 and A2 above). A piece of thin, rigid plastic works, too!

Fold the paper template over the piece of cardstock, exposing the extra fabric underneath. Remember that the wrong side of the fabric will be touching the blank side of the paper each time.

Paper Pieced Primrose

Step 2 – Trim

Keeping the fabric, cardstock, and paper template in position, place the Add a Quarter ruler on top with the lip securing everything in place. This will add 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the fold line.

Trim the excess fabric with a rotary cutter.

Doing it this way ensures that the long skinny triangle is positioned at the correct angle for sewing.

Pieced Primrose Quilt

Step 3 – Sew

On the non printed paper side, line up the freshly trimmed edge of piece A1 with the edge of piece A2, with the fabric right sides together. Align the raw edges ensuring that the A2 piece is long enough to cover the entire A1/A2 line plus 1/4″ seam allowances on both ends.

FPP by Christa Watson

Lower your stitch length so that it will perforate the paper, making it easier to tear off later. My default is 2.5 so I turn it down to 2.0 or even 1.8. Use a brand new needle for best results.

Sew from 1/4″ before the A1/A2 line to 1/4″ after the printed solid line to ensure you have seam allowances on both sides of the marked line.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Here’s what my piece looks like after sewing the first seam. It’s ok to go slightly beyond 1/4″ if needed. I do this especially when chain piecing multiple blocks at the same time.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Step 4 – Press

Open up the A2 piece so that both fabrics are right side up. With a wooden seam roller, press the the seam from the front of the fabric. This is easier to do for each step than using an iron.

Foundation Paper Piecing

repeat The Dance over and over until the unit is complete
A3: Fold and Trim

Reposition the cardstock again along the next line. For this example, it’s the very short line between A2 and A3. Click the image below to enlarge if needed.

Fold the paper template over again. Use the Add a Quarter ruler to add the 1/4″ seam allowances and trim the excess with a rotary cutter.

Tip: if the paper is stuck to the fabric, you can lift it away (gently) from the seam as needed.
Foundation Paper Piecing

A3: Sew

Sew the next piece in the same manner as before. Align the A3 edge to be sewn with the freshly cut edge. In the example below, the small blue square does not need to take up the entire space of the trimmed A1- A2 edges.

Position the fabric square in the middle of the area to be sewn as shown below. Flip the whole unit over if needed and hold it up to the light to ensure that the fabric square will cover the full line between A2/A3 plus seam allowances.

Foundation Paper Piecing

Below is what my unit looks like after sewing the line between A2/A3. It’s ok if the sewn line is slightly longer than 1/4″ on both sides. If you are worried about the seam coming apart at the ends, you can backstitch at either end.

Foundation Paper Piecing

A3: Press
A4: Fold

Repeat the prior steps: open up the A3 piece and press from the front with the wooden seam roller. Then fold over the next line (A2/A4) using the cardstock or other thin, hard edge for stability.
Foundation Paper Piecing

A4: Trim

Repeat the same step as before: use the Add a Quarter ruler to add 1/4″ seam and trim the excess.

Fold the paper template back into position and flip the paper over again so that you can see the proper angle to align the next piece (the green A4 rectangle).

Pieced Primrose Quilt

A4: Sew

Line up the A4 rectangle right sides together. Flip the paper over and sew on the line between A2/A4 with 1/4″ extra on either end of the drawn line. Below is what this next step looks like:

Pieced Primrose

A4: Press
A5: Fold and Trim

Repeat the same steps over and over again: press the green A4 rectangle (below left), fold the paper back (not shown), trim the excess (below right).

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

A5: Sew and Press

Align the A5 square (light blue), sew the seam and press from the top.

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

A6 and A7: Fold, Trim, Sew and Press!

Fold the paper, trim the excess, Sew A6 (light purple), press A6 (below left).
Fold, trim, sew, and press the A7 unit (light blue square, below right).

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

A8: Fold, Trim, Sew and Press

This will complete all of the sewing for the A side of the block!

Foundation Paper Piecing by Christa Watson

Sewing the B Units

Now repeat the process for the B half of the block. It has a total of 10 units to piece. Remember to fold, trim, sew and press each and every unit, just like before!

Notice that I used a triangle instead of a square for the B10 unit. This made more efficient use of the fabric when cutting, but it’s still the same process as before.

Foundation paper piecing

Once you’ve sewn all of the Section A and Section B blocks, trim them along the outer dashed lines using a rotary cutter and ruler. Be sure you don’t trim off your triangle points! At this point, your paper should still be intact to keep the blocks stable.

Paper Pieced Primrose by Christa Watson

Sew the A and B unit together. Then sew the oversized corner triangle to the bottom of the block. It’s oversized so that you don’t have to line it up perfectly. (See below, left).

Trim the excess fabric from the triangle to match the rest of the block. (see below right).

Paper Pieced Primrose

After making one test block, continue in the same manner to sew the number of blocks you need for the size you are making. I’m creating this quilt in both the warm and cool colorways of my Abstract Garden fabric line, but the process is exactly the same!

Pieced Primrose Blocks by Christa WatsonAbove is the same Pieced Primrose block in warm and cool colorways of Abstract Garden.

Next week, we will choose from several different layouts, and start sewing the blocks together into bigger units!

LINKS AT A GLANCE

Click the links below for supplies needed to make this quilt: