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Foundation Pieced Strip Quilt / Tutorial

Foundation Pieced Strip Quilt / Tutorial
 This quilt is my latest answer to how to use up the scrap strips that pile up when I cut squares for the kits from fabric. 
It reminds me of fruit stripe gum for some reason.

Foundation Pieced Strip Quilt / Tutorial

I made one before but it was problematic because I didn't know how to deal with the thick seams.  Now I've got it -- leave an overhang of fabric 1/4 inch over your foundation!!  The diagonal strips use up a lot of scraps.  Not the best if you are living through the Depression and need every inch of fabric I bet -- but here in the land of fabric-by-the-pound -- cheap!, it's cool.

Anyway, do you want to learn how?

First - do it straight.  Unless you TOTALLY get it, you might want to try it this way once.

Straight foundation pieced strip block

Foundation Pieced Strip Quilt / Tutorial

1.  Cut a square out of muslin or any light colored scrap of cotton fabric.  Mine was 6.5 inches.  Gather a bunch of scrap strips, any width, and longer than your square.  It helps if they are ironed, but they don't need to be cut straight or all the same or anything.

2. Lay the first strip down RIGHT SIDE UP on your square positioned so that it overhangs the left edge and the top and bottom by more than 1/4 inch.

3. Lay the next strip down on top of the first with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.  Go ahead and make the edges of these two pieces even just for yucks.  Make sure it overhangs the top and bottom by at least 1/4 inch. Now, it helps if you use a pin to hold all three layers together to move it to the sewing machine.

4. Sew a 1/4 seam on the right side of these strips, then press the top piece open flat.

5.  Now it is just about repeating.  Lay another strip RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top of the 2nd strip.  You'll note that you don't really have to align the right edges with this technique.  You can sew it at any angle you want.  Just make sure the pieces always hang over the edge by more than 1/4 inch.

6.  If you do sew a piece on at a wonky angle you will most likely want to then trim away the excess in the seam allowance so there aren't 3 layers of fabric.  Trust me, this quilt will already be heavy enough.

7. Keep on a going until you've filled up your square, making sure the last piece overhangs by at least 1/4 inch.  It is up to you whether you actually use an iron to press each seam open as you go or whether you "finger press."  I've been known to do both.

8. Definitely press it all flat at this point.  Now, flip the square over so you see the original square foundation and use this edge to guide you to cut your new square 1/4 inch bigger on all sides.  *It is more important that your final square is square so if you foundation has shifted at all during the process, you might have to fudge your 1/4" on some sides.  You'll see.

9. Now you are done.  :-)
I do think it is nice to learn the technique with the straight on method but I don't think it is necessarily required to do straight strip sewing with a foundation.  If you plan to do a lot of wonky seams (as described above) then it would be good I guess, but otherwise I think you could just sew a bunch of strips together and it would be good.  If you want diagonal on the other hand, I think the foundation is very helpful, so read on.

Diagonal foundation pieced strip block 


Foundation Pieced Strip Quilt / Tutorial

This is the same method, just diagonal.

1.  Start with the muslin square.

2. You start out at one corner with a right side up strip (or even a square as shown) that overhangs all sides by 1/4 inch or more.

3. The next strip is tricky! Watch out - it needs to overhang the square not just where it starts but also where it will end once flipped over.  You'll probably make a few mistakes like I did before you finally get this into your skull.  Basically, make it longer than you'd think.  Sew it on.

4. I found that with the diagonal block it really did make things nicer to press in between each seam.  Breathe.  It helps if you do an assembly line - sewing one strip on a ton of blocks and then pressing each one open for the next strip instead of jumping up and down from the sewing machine to the ironing board each time.  Good exercise though.

5. Remember to trim away excess seam allowances as you go.

6. Keep going until you have your square covered.  Press.

7. Use the rotary cutter and ruler to cut your new block 1/4 inch bigger on all sides.

8. Done.

9. Repeat.  When you sew your blocks together you'll just sew the overhung edges together and not really sew through the foundation squares.  You're seams will still be bulkier than normal, but it is pretty managable (if you aren't hand quilting I guess.)  As you could guess, this top is twice as heavy as a normal top (duh) but you should keep that in mind for how you plan to finish it and use it.

Foundation Pieced Strip Quilt / Tutorial


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