FAQ's... Tips and Hints.... 

Cutting odd angles in foundation piecing

Half-square triangles are easy to do, just cut a square about 1 1/2 inches or more larger than the longest leg of the triangle and cut it in half on a diagonal. Simple! But what about that odd shaped piece? You could just whack off a hunk of fabric and then spend too much time flipping and flopping it around and pinching a seam and pinning and holding it up to the light to see if it fits... or you can use my "fool-proof" method...

TIP ONE: Here is my "fool proof" way of doing odd angles in foundation piecing:

I simply make another pattern out of freezer paper and cut the odd angle piece out of the foundation pattern.
I even add the grain direction to the pattern with a pencil. If you can visualize it, you can use the numbers for grain placement if they are all going in the same direction.

If you are going to cut them this way, you might  as well cut them on grain.

Cut the sections apart. You will use these as your "templates". Okay, the idea of foundation piecing is NOT to have templates... but with 101 ways that have come out to line up your fabric... I think we sometimes need them! Yes, it takes a little more time, but not as much as ripping out those tiny stitches and tearing up your pattern.
  I iron each "template" to the WRONG side of the desired fabric. 

To cut it out, I use a ruler with a 1/4" seam marked on it. (see tip #3  below) I cut the * angle I will be sewing to the foundation * 1/4th inch away from the edge of the freezer paper, but I cut * the remaining sides * 1/2 inch or larger beyond the remaining edges of the freezer paper "for safety". Now when you sew that seam, you know your angle will be exact and the piece is larger everywhere else in case there is a slip. This has never failed me yet and it saves fabric too.

You can do this with the regular foundation paper too, just hold it down or glue stick it in place to while you cut.

After sewing pieces 1, 2 and 3 together, trim that seam to 1/4".

You will be sewing on piece #4 next, so here again, cut the seam you will sew on next 1/4th inch away from the edge of the freezer paper, but  cut * the remaining sides * 1/2 inch or so larger. Continue in this manner for any other odd angles.

Here is another tip that I recently heard but have modified it slightly from the original:

To make larger templates for your foundation piecing sections if you are using quilt software or can enlarge your  pattern in some electronic way:

Instead of adding the excess as above by hand, print out another pattern of your foundation block **3 inches larger** than the original.  If you print it out on freezer paper, you can just "stick" it to the fabric and cut around it.  If you print it out on regular paper, you can use a little glue stick to stick it on! Or, just hold it on and cut around with scissors... 

As above, you want to iron the template to the ** wrong** side of  the fabric with the numbers facing up, just as you will sew the fabric onto your foundation. (Remember, the fabric is facing up on the non printed side of  you foundation pattern when you sew). 

It will not create an **exact** 1/4" seam allowance, you are just trying to create the angles of the fabric pieces at the right angle and make the piece larger than the piece you actually need so you can trim off the excess after you sew the fabric on.  You will sew on these larger fabric pieces just like the tip above, only you did not have to add the extra all around the pattern by hand. The larger printout template make the fabric piece larger for "safety" and goof ups!

I did a test of the hint with a  4" pattern and when I printed it out only 1 inch larger there was no extra for slip ups and just barely 1/4" seam allowance... so I printed it out 2 inches larger and still didn't gave me much excess fabric beyond the 1/4" seam allowance... so I printed it out ** 3 inches ** larger and it was great!!  If you put the edge of the fabric of seam you are sewing on  1/4" beyond that sewing line, that gives you about 1/2" extra all around  the other edges for safety, and you will have the right angles of the cut piece.  You can even print the template block out larger if you need more excess fabric around your piece.

TIP 2: Always trim each * just sewn * seam to 1/4" before you stitch on the next piece of fabric.  Your pieces will line up perfectly. To do this, pull back your foundation paper to the stitching you just did. You may have to pull the paper away from some stitching of  the previous seams. Just be careful and it won't hurt anything. Using that same 1/4" ruler again, line up the 1/4th inch seam on the ruler with the stitching. Now using a small rotary cutter, cut the seam allowance 1/4" inch away from the stitching. You have a perfect 1/4 inch seam and you don't have to fuss about where that seam line is...

If you cut your template with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and your seam on your foundation pattern is 1/4 inch, you will have no trouble aligning that goofy angle piece and it come out perfect every time.

TIP 3: "Homemade" add a quarter ruler... First let me say that as quilters we tend to buy just about everything quilt related that comes down the pike.  Now you can shell out about $8 for a product called "add a quarter ruler".  What it looks like is a ruler with a lip on one side 1/4" wide.  It's great!  When you put the lip against the paper you pull back to trim your seam, it automatically stops at the paper and gives you a perfect 1/4" seam kind of mindlessly.  You don't have to look at the ruler marks and line it up. Now, if you have a small ruler of any type laying around you can make one of these for about 3 cents.  I used an Oningrid ruler that is 1" x 6" and one that is 12" for longer seams.

Take some 1/2" masking tape and put down several layers on your cutting mat, then trim both sides of that stack until it is  1/4".  Put the 1/4" piece of tape against the edge of a ruler you already have and there you can made an  "add a quarter" or add an eighth" ruler and it works just as well. Save that money gals...

TIP 4: To remove the paper easier than any tip I ever read...

One day I was in a fit because it was taking forever to *pick* the paper off the back of a FP pattern, and in my madness I yanked the pattern by opposite corners really hard. Well, wouldn't you know it... the paper popped right off! I guess when you pull the pattern on the bias, the fabric stretches and the paper doesn't so it pops off the stitching.

I posted this tip to the foundation piecing quilt list and I got more "thank-you's" than anything else. A lot said this method is all they use now except for the occasional stuck tid-bit that will always need picked out with a pin. Give it a try...

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