Sunday, October 11, 2015

Foundation Paper Piecing - Why The Tools

The other day I made a list of In The Boon Docks: Tools In My Toolbox - FPP and today I will show you what I use each for when doing FPP.

If I am printing a digital fpp pattern from a CD or off the internet on my home computer to my printer I use Carol Doak's Foundation PaperC&T Publishing #10985 (it is thinner) and then other times I print on out of a magazine and I use copy paper.


Clover Regular Wonder ClipsClover #3156 to clip the pieces together. But you could use a large paper clip.

The pattern below shows you light/dark but the patterns we are using in the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt are not. To give you an example of what to have on hand find some colored pencils or crayons and mark your blocks to remind you what fabric goes in which place. Honestly, most of my mistakes happen by sewing the wrong fabric in place. Giving each fabric a color and marking each block is worth the time. Better than ripping seams out.

Sewline Fabric Water Soluble Glue Pen - BlueSewline #FAB50012 is a great tool. You will want to purchase a refill when you buy you first one. Never put the glue on the fabric when FPPing, put it always on the paper, then place your fabric on top! First piece of each section glue the first block to the paper and you only need a small amount!

By gluing in the 1 spot it will not move around and is perfect for fussy cutting!


Set your sewing machine on a 1.8 stitch length! I forget all the time. The closer the stitch the easier it is to remove the paper when it is time.

This is a new tool to me the Clover Finger Presser (I could only find the one I own on Amazon), but I love it. You can also use a wooden presser or even a small wooden wallpaper roller. It is better to use one of these items than your finger to press. Your fingers get dirt and oil on them that can transfer to the fabric. Press each seam as you go!

Add A Quarter 6" RulerCM Design #CM06 is shown below. Just fold the paper, line up the ruler and trim! Bam you have your quarter inch! Then line up your next strip, fold the paper back open, sew, and repeat. Trimming reduces bulk. #1 tool for FPP besides a rotary cutter. I really like the small Olfa 18mm Rotary Cutter Olfa #9657 when working on such small pieces. I want to keep the tips of my fingers. The pink cutting mat is 10" Rotating Cutting Mat Sue Daley Designs is worth the investment. I am using a wooden TV tray as a work station to hold all these tool, finger press, and cut right by the sewing machine.

Fold the numbers on each row before you begin sewing the row! A reader (Sew Surprising) reminded me that this is were you should take a postcard and fold the paper over the postcard to creese the line. Before putting the ruler down.

Keep the needle on the lines!

One reason everyone should own a seam ripper is because most of us cannot stay on the lines. You will know when you do the fold over for the next row, if you went a stitch to far. Pick a stitch if you go over.
Very frustrating! You get on a roll and place the fabric facing up, sew it down and flip it up and it is backwards! Pick, pick, and pick again! It happens to everyone so don't give up!

A small ruler! Mine is 6 1/2" x 2 1/2" but a square will work too! Make sure it is wide enough to keep those fingertips away from the rotary cutter!

Doing FPP blocks you do a lot of trimming! But the end results are beautiful and worth the effort to learn the technique!

This block is 3" square and all Tula Pink!

I had the pattern for 3 months and never did it because I was afraid. After sewing the foundation paper piecing blocks in the sew along. I have become more confident doing more proficient at the technique. Everything takes practice and the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew Along is a perfect way to learn new ways to do lots of blocks.



Don't forget if you decide to get some new tools and are part of the sew along to use the code!

Thank you for reading, create and be unique! Lisa
















  1. Thanks for this easily understood tutorial. I love your block.

  2. I have never tried FPP because the idea terrifies me, this tutorial does help explain lot though. Thank you. x

  3. A great tutorial :) and a super tiny pineapple block, always admire anyone who works on amazing tiny blocks, Im a bigger the better sort of gal hahahahahaha


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