The Experts' Guide to Foundation Piecing Class Plan

by Jane Hall, editor

CLASS DESCRIPTION (#1)
Indigo Lights
Brush up your foundation piecing skills with this combination Log Cabin/Pineapple pattern, inspired by an antique silk quilt in the Shelburne Museum. Blocks are easy to make with strips of light and dark fabrics. When the blocks are stitched together, an exciting design emerges. Make a small or large wall hanging, or even a bed quilt!

NOTES TO INSTRUCTOR

  • This class teaches one of the most common foundation piecing methods, "sewing on the line" or under pressed piecing.
  • Schedule the two sessions at least one week apart so students have time to complete their homework.
  • You may wish to have students cut their fabrics before class to save time.
  • Foundations can be a choice of commercial papers (Carol Doak's Foundation Paper), ordinary tracing paper, or Easy-Tear® lightweight tear-away interfacing. It is important for foundations to be lightweight and see-through.
  • To make the quilt as pictured in the book, students will make 36 blocks. Another option is to make just 16 blocks set in a 4x4 arrangement.
  • You may wish to give students the option of changing the block size. The block center is 1/3 of the finished block size, and the logs are 1/12 of the finished block size. For example:
    • Enlarge from 6" to 7 1/2" (2 1/2" block center, 5/8" logs)
    • Reduce from 6" to 4 1/2" (1 1/2" block center, 3/8" logs)
  • If there are enough irons, students may iron their blocks after joining each round of strips. If not, pinning firmly will suffice, but make sure to press after joining the final row in the block and before trimming the outer edges.

LENGTH OF SESSION
2 3-hour sessions
Optional third "reunion" session

STUDENT SKILL LEVEL
All levels, Beginner to Advanced. Basic sewing machine skills required.

INSTRUCTOR SUPPLY LIST

  • Completed class sample
  • In-progress blocks to illustrate steps
  • Supplies to demonstrate making the blocks
  • Sewing supplies as listed below

STUDENT SUPPLY LIST

  1. Required Textbook: The Experts' Guide to Foundation Piecing
  2. Sewing machine in good working order, and size 80 needle
  3. Neutral thread, or thread to match fabric
  4. Glass-head or flat-head pins
  5. Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
  6. Pencil (.5mm mechanical works well and doesn't need sharpening)
  7. Foundation material: lightweight paper, tracing paper, Carol Doak's Foundation Paper, or lightweight tear-away interfacing, such as Easy-Tear®
  8. See list on page 43 for fabric requirements (a 16-block quilt will use less than half the listed amounts)

IN THE CLASSROOM
Session One

  • Discuss various sizes for the finished quilt.
  • Explain the logistics of the block:
    • Two opposite corners are pieced as Log Cabins, one corner with light fabrics and one corner with dark.
    • The remaining two corners are pieced as Pineapples (with strips placed on the diagonal).
  • Go over the basic under pressed piecing technique (see page 13).
  • Have students prepare their foundations:
    • Trace the block on page 47, including the piecing process numbers, onto a sheet of copy paper.
    • Students may either trace the needed number of blocks on foundations, or use the traced copy to needle punch additional copies (see pages 11-12). Trim the foundations to 1/4" from the block edge.
  • Following the quilt assembly diagram on page 47, number the blocks and write color placement directly on each foundation.
  • Cut fabric (can be cut at home to save class time). See cutting instructions on pages 43-44. Demonstrate technique for cutting Pineapple corner triangles from a strip.
  • Demonstrate the steps to piece a blocks, following the instructions on pages 44-46.
  • Students may use the rest of the session to work on piecing blocks.
  • Homework: construct the rest of the blocks for the quilt.

Session Two

  • Go over students' blocks, checking their work. Make sure excess fabric at the outer edges is trimmed 1/4" from the outside drawn or punched line of the foundation.
  • Demonstrate joining blocks (see page 16). Emphasize proper pinning. Show students how to check match points.
  • Demonstrate how to remove foundations from seam allowances and press the seams open.
  • Demonstrate removing foundation from inner strips. Remind students NOT to remove the foundations until all the blocks are joined and at least the inner border, if not the pieced border, is attached.
  • Discuss border options:
    • plain fabric, coordinated with quilt colors
    • pieced string border with skinny inner border as in the project in the book (see pattern and directions for pieced border on pages 46-47)
  • Discuss quilting designs. (I machine quilted straight lines in the indigo pineapple areas, free-motion quilted flame designs in the batik circles, hand-quilted feather designs in the light fabric circles, and machine ditch-quilted the strips in the border.)

CLASS DESCRIPTION (#2)
Mock Log Cabin: Strip-Piecing on Foundations

This class features a twist on classic strip-piecing: using a foundation to stabilize the strip-set. You'll cut long strips across the width of several fabrics, then sew them together along lines drawn on a freezer paper foundation, creating a strip-set of "new" fabric.

By using a foundation, you'll ensure that your strip-set has no wobbly seams. When you cut segments and shapes from the strip-set, assembling the blocks will be quick, easy, and extremely precise.

NOTES TO INSTRUCTOR

  • The success of this technique is dependent on consistently sewing an accurate 1/4" seam allowance.
  • "Mock Log Cabin" is constructed from four 9" blocks, each of which is composed of 4 triangular units.
  • The fabric requirements listed on page 89 should be sufficient to make two sets of four blocks (twice as many as required in "Mock Log Cabin"). Students may make a larger wall hanging or bed quilt by adding blocks.
  • Using a run of 6 shaded fabrics gives the best results, with light and dark values creating the dimensional design.
  • A template for the triangle pattern is included on the pullout, but a triangle ruler can be used instead.
  • This project requires frequent ironing, so there should be one iron for every 2-3 students if possible.

LENGTH OF SESSION
3 Hours

STUDENT SKILL LEVEL
All levels, Beginner to Advanced. Basic sewing machine skills required.

INSTRUCTOR SUPPLY LIST

  • Completed class sample
  • In-progress blocks to illustrate steps
  • Supplies to demonstrate making the blocks
  • Sewing supplies as listed below

STUDENT SUPPLY LIST

  • Required Textbook: The Experts' Guide to Foundation Piecing
  • Sewing machine in good working order, and size 70 or 80 needle
  • Neutral thread, or thread to match fabric
  • Glass-head or flat-head pins
  • Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
  • Pencil (.5mm mechanical works well and doesn't need sharpening)
  • Freezer paper: 1 1/4 yard (18" wide)
  • See list on page 89 for fabric requirements
  • Template material or 9" triangle ruler

IN THE CLASSROOM

  1. Discuss various sizes for the finished quilt. The project in the book is 18" x 18", made of four 9" blocks. Larger wall hangings or even bed quilts can be made by adding more 4-block units.
  2. Discuss basic quick strip-piecing: long strips are seamed together to create "new" fabric which is then cut apart into segments and re-combined to make blocks.
  3. Explain the advantages of strip-piecing on a foundation (strip-set construction, shape cutting, and re-combining are all far more accurate because of the total control provided by sewing on the foundation.
  4. Review the basic under pressed piecing technique (page 13). Caution students that since they will be pressing sewn strips onto the shiny side of the freezer paper foundation, they must take care not to touch the irons to that waxy side.
  5. Demonstrate how to prepare foundations (page 90) using both a template and a triangle ruler. Write "light" and "dark" in the spaces between the lines to ensure proper placement of the fabric strips.
  6. Have students prepare their foundations in the same manner. Make sure that they allow at least 3/4" between the triangles, to allow for seam allowances. Check that they each have the correct number of A and B triangles.
  7. Have students cut fabric into 1 1/4" wide strips (page 90).
  8. Demonstrate piecing the strip set (pages 90-91).
  9. Demonstrate block construction (cut out the triangles, lay out in desired arrangement, and join triangles, pages 91-93).
  10. Demonstrate removing the freezer paper foundations from seam allowances. (Show students how to loosen the freezer paper with a dull implement such as a knitting needle.) Press seams open, to help retain the sharp joints. Emphasize that the freezer paper can be removed from interior areas, but must be left in place along the outer edges a border is added, or the blocks are joined to other units.
  11. Discuss quilting options. This project is perfect for creative free-motion quilting, to emphasize the pieced shapes.

FURTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR SHOP SALES
Foundation materials:

  • Carol Doak's Foundation paper
  • Easy-Tear® (lightweight stabilizer)
  • tracing paper
  • freezer paper

Other supplies:

  • Add-a-quarter and add-an-eighth rulers
  • Triangle ruler
  • Fabric assortments: batiks, light cream/beige prints
  • Fabric in runs of color: hand-dyes, batiks, selected subtle prints
×
×