This is the best method for producing complex block patterns like Mariner's Compass that have lots of small, sharp angles or for miniature work, and it can be done either by hand or machine. It is ideal for piecing stylised images of animals for example. Foundation piecing can also be combined with other techniques to create blocks such as New York Beauty.
Plenty of materials can be used for the foundation depending on whether you want to remove it so that only the fabric remains or leave it in to add strength to the block. The foundation can be fine white or pastel fabric (you have to be able to trace through it) or any of the following:
Try them out to see which you prefer using.
If the foundation is left in the extra layer together with all the seams can make hand quilting very difficult. Paper foundations should be removed if you intend to lanunder the finished quilt. Keep samples in your folder using different foundations showing hand and machine quilting and keep notes on which you found easiest to use.
Some points to remember
Do remember that all the sewing is done from the back of the block.
If you follow the conventional marking rules of a solid line at the edge of the block and a dotted one for the seam allowance it will make your own patterns easier to use. The fabric pieces need to go right to the edge to cover the seam allowance so that you can join the blocks together (see Figure 1).
Designing your own blocks
Your tutor may set you a particular image to foundation piece based on one of your design themes but if not then why not set yourself a challenge? Try something representational like a boat, house or animal but remember that you cannot include curved seams.
About City and Guilds
City & Guilds is possibly the best qualification a quilter can obtain. Awards are offered at a range of levels from introductory to advanced and each level will enable you to work on and develop your skills. There are four qualifications at four different levels. Level 1 is a thirty hour course 7722, and has two modules. If you are ready to go beyond the basics, Level 2 courses 7822/7823 are ideal. This certificate consists of two units working across a range of media including patchwork and quilting. The certificate takes 120 hours to complete – usually one class per week for one year. If you’re starting out at Level 3 on courses 7922/7923, you’ll be expected to make more demanding items as well as develop your skills in observation, recording and research. You’ll have the opportunity to explore new techniques and innovative ideas. One design unit and one craft unit must be completed. This normally takes two years part time study to complete. To learn more about the City & Guilds P&Q course, call 020 7294 2800. Alternatively, visit the website City & Guilds
First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 12 Number 3 March 2004
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