Saturday, 9 August 2008

Paper or foundation piecing is not my favourite method

However, there are times when it is the only way which is guaranteed to work. I'm piecing these strips of 24" long half square triangles. My favourite method for half square triangles is to draw a grid of the finished size plus 7/8", stiching 1/4" either side of the diagonal and then cutting it all apart. This is fine for most purposes and is accurate. This time I need more than accurate as the length is critical so I'm foundation piecing.
I use freezer paper as it adds to the accuracy and I starch the fabric within an inch of it's life.

Here's how it works for me.

I stitch on the line.
I then move it to a cutting board, fold the freezer paper back and cut a 1/4" seam with a ruler and rotary cutter. (If you cut it back with scissors there is a chance one of the fabrics will show through the other, but this is fine with medium and dark colours)

I fold the freezer paper back in position and flip over the piece I've just sewn on. Carefully I press this seam open.

I flip it back over and press the freezer paper on to the new piece of fabric. I love these little stick irons for this. I used to use a travel iron before I bought one.

When all the pieces are pieced I use the edge of the freezer paper and cut my 1/4" seam. Notice I haven't drawn my foundation with this seam included.

And here it is.

I won't remove the freezer paper until this unit is enclosed by other fabrics all the way round, or the top is finished. I use very fine thread and small stitches. Before I pull it out, I run the back of the unpicker along the seams, this pressure breaks the paper between the stitches.


  1. great tip for creasing the the paper before removal with the seam ripper -- I can imagine it making it much easier to remove and less damaging to the seams...

  2. Great tutorial...yummy colours there too...hope we get to see more of that project :o)

  3. I too have a love/hate relationship with paper piecing. I soon fell in love with using freezer paper but still hated the removal part. Then Judy Mathieson came up with a modified technique where the freezer paper is folded back along the stitching line, patch seam allowance trimmed to 1/4 inch. Then the patch you are adding is lined right up with that edge and you can readily see if it will cover the area because the freezer paper is folded back. (this is so hard to explain w/out visuals). Anyway, then you sew along the edge of the fold of the freezer paper, not through the freezer paper. That way you can press the seam any way you want, then iron the freezer paper back to the unit. I've made mariner compass blocks and others using this. So nice to peel off the freezer paper foundation when the block is complete, and because it hasn't been stitched through, the foundation can be used again. Here's a link to the book explaining it: