Wednesday 4 November 2015

Farmer's Wife Sew-Along - Addie - foundation paper piecing tutorial

Hello and welcome to my first tutorial as a Guest Blogger for the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Sew-along!  I'm Cat and I share this space with my great friend Vee - we design and print fabric, totes and t-shirts.  Thanks so much to Angie for hosting this awesome, ever-growing Sew-along; Fat Quarter Shop for its sponsorship; and Marti Michell and her team for their wonderful templates, conversion charts and support of all of us Farmer's Wife-rs.

My tutorial today is for sewing Addie as a squared foundation paper-pieced (FPP) block.  I've also sewn an on-point Addie, using Marti Michell's templates, and will share a hot tip with you about getting your fabric-placement correct when using the templates. 

As a FPP-disclosure - I've got quite a bit of FPP experience - I've sewn plenty of fabulous FPP designs, most often by Kristy from Quiet Play (who has a great FPP tutorial here) and Penny and Kerry from Sew-Ichigo (who have a great FPP tutorial here - they also have two great little tutorials for FPP y-seams, if you click through to their 'tutorials and tips' tab, you'll find them - you never know, there could be more y-seams in our Farmer's Wife future!).  Cass also shared two fabulous FPP tutorials here and here.

Addie is a great starter-block for FPP - each section is small, there are no tricky seams, and matching all the seams to join the sections together is a pretty straight-forward process.

OK, here we go - there are lots of photos, so you might like to pop to the kitchen and make a cup of tea to keep you company while you scroll.

Step 1 - choose your fabrics!  I've tried to stay true to the three-fabrics-only placement that Laurie has used in the book, but cheated a little, since I have an ongoing fussy-cutting obsession and couldn't pass up the chance to include something a little fun in the centre.  So - the centre blue Aunty Cookie is supposed to 'match' the blue sketch fabric. 

Step 2 - print off the FPP template for Addie from the CD, making sure that your printer is set to 100% (or whatever your printer's version of 100% is).  Cut out each lettered-section - A, B, C etc - allowing yourself a little wriggle-room beyond the outer dotted-line.  The solid line is your sewing-line, and the dotted-line is your seam-allowance. 

Step 3 - colour in each section, according to which fabric is going where.  It also helps to colour-in the block-assembly diagram that appears at the top of your printed templates - that's always my first colouring-in step, but I am unable to share that diagram with you here due to copyright.  Be sure that your coloured-in block-assembly diagram matches your coloured-in sections, so there are no unwelcome surprises once you've finished piecing.

Step 4 - using your Sewline glue pen (or your trusty glue-stick from your stationery supplies), make a quick swish of glue on the unprinted side of the paper behind the number 1 on each section (A1, B1, C1, etc) and place the paper, printed-side facing up, onto the wrong-side of your chosen fabric.  If you are using directional fabric, or a fussy-cut for this step, now would be the time to hold the paper up to the light to check that your placement is correct.  Make sure your fabric extends beyond the seam-allowance (dotted-line) along the edges, and at least 1/4" past any internal sew-lines. 

Step 5 - pin your second (H2 in this photo) piece in place.  Make sure your fabrics are right-sides together and that your second piece extends at least 1/4 inch beyond your sew-line.  And note that your second piece of fabric extends away from the numbered section that it's intended to cover.

Step 6 - once it's pinned in place, flip your second (H2) piece down, to make sure it will cover the relevant section AND the seam allowance. 

Step 7 - pile up all your glued and pinned sections and take them to the sewing machine, so you can do a spot of chain-piecing. 

Step 8 - turn your machine on and reduce your stitch-length to whatever is recommended for FPP on your machine.  I have a Bernina and always sew FPP patterns with a 1.5 stitch length. 

Step 9 - place your first section under your machine-foot, and drop the needle right into the starting point of your sew-line.  Start sewing slowly, back-stitching at the start and finish of your sew-line.  I use Bernina foot number 37 (the 1/4" foot) for FPP, as I like to see the needle as it sews along the sew-line, and exactly where the needle is as you come to the end of the sew-line. 

Step 10 - here's your finished sew-line, with back-stitching at the start and finish.  For all the internal sew-lines in a FPP pattern, I never stitch into the seam-allowance - others do, but my preference is to back-stitch at the start and finish of each sew-line and never sew beyond it into the seam allowance. 

Step 11 - fold your paper on the sew-line, giving it a little crease so it's ready to trim the seam-allowance.  In FPP, when you trim your seam-allowance, you always fold the bigger number down onto the smaller number - so in this photo, H2 is folding down onto H1.

Step 12 - with your paper folded down as described in Step 11, line your ruler up with the 1/4" line on the folded-edge of the paper, and trim your seam allowance to 1/4".  Make sure that all your just-sewn-fabrics are out of the way, and that no rogue pieces have flipped over - you don't want to be trimming them away with your seam-allowance, that's no fun.

Step 13A - with the fabric-side of your pieced section facing up, carefully flip over your second (H2) piece and iron it flat.   You may prefer to use a seam-roller at this point, rather than be back and forth to the iron - I certainly do this when I'm in a class - but at home, I prefer to move between cutting mat, iron and machine between each FPP chain-piecing session.  In the photo, you'll see that I've flipped and ironed-flat the blue H2 piece.  

Step 13B - once you have finished a section (i.e. once you have sewn all the numbers in order), you are ready to trim it.  Be sure to line your ruler up so that you are trimming 1/4" from the solid  external sew-lines of your section - this should exactly match up with the dotted-line anyway, but I always double-check and am guided by my ruler rather than just cutting on the dotted-line. 

Step 14 - once you have finished, ironed and trimmed all your sections, you are ready join them together.  I always lay out my block with the papers facing up, so it matches the block-assembly diagram.  It looks a little like a jigsaw puzzle.  It's best to then follow the piecing guide next to the block-assembly diagram - join A to B etc.   I always use pins to make sure I am matching the sections accurately - in this example, the red pins go straight through the corners of the external sew-line on B to join the external sew line on A.  Use as many pins as you need (and take a quick look now at Step 14A for an extra tip in doing this).  As it's not really possible to sew with pins sticking out everywhere, once I've matched the sew-lines between the sections as best I can, I secure the pieces with clips, ready to chain-piece.

Step 14A - I've added this photo in to show you tick-marks for joining sections, since adding tick-marks to your pattern pieces is a really helpful way of ensuring you are joining your sections accurately.  Wherever you have internal sew-lines that must meet up, just draw a little red (or any colour!) line on the sections you are about to join - you then have a little reminder to add a pin to that sew-line when you are pinning your sections together.  As I've added this photo after I finished taking my tutorial photos, please note that it's for a different block, that I've chosen to randomly sew, not for Addie - so just ignore the fabric and pattern-piece you can see - you only need to focus on the pins and tick-mark :-) 

Step 15 - as you join sections together, tear away the seam-allowance papers before ironing your seams.  I tend to iron my FPP section-seams open, but let's not open that particular can of worms - you can iron your seams in whatever way makes you happy and works best for you and the pattern. 

Step 16 - see, open! This photo shows you two sections joined together, trimmed, and the seam ironed open.  It would have been nice if I'd trimmed those threads for you, as they're looking a little messy!  Keep working through all your sections, following the joining-order specified by Laurie, until you are finished.

Here's my finished block from the back, showing that I do indeed iron my seams open AND to the side, depending on what I think works best for each seam.  I tend to iron my seams open quite a lot, as I do love a nice, flat block.  Whatever works best for you and your block is perfect. 

And here she is again, all finished and telling you how clever you are for finishing your FPP Addie!

I did promise you my second Addie, which I sewed on-point using the wonderful Marti Michell templates.  She's cute, right?  I love the 'Good Intentions' girl in the middle and thought I was being quietly hilarious by pairing her with Heather Ross fish, since fish don't have hair! I wanted to share my hot tip for fabric-placement using Marti's templates for Addie, so you don't do as I did.  

In the book, Addie's centre-square fabric is the same as the outer-star point fabric.  So my intention was to match Good Intention Girl's hair (in the centre square) with the Bonnie + Camille scallops (on the outer-star points).  But, hmmm, someone wasn't concentrating and didn't lay out their block before sewing everything together.  

So - if you are using the templates to piece your Addie, be sure to piece your outside star point fabric so they are on the bottom left and bottom right of your background triangle, not (as I have done in the photos below) on the inner left and right of the background triangle.  These next few photos are an example of what not to do if you are following the fabric-placement diagram in the book. 

See? - you don't want your outer-star points on the inside - you want them on the outside.

When you've finished your template-sewn Addie side units, you want your inside star points where my B+C scallops are below - it's at this point you can work out whether you've made a fabric-placement mistake or not - of course, I did not realise this at the time! 

For a wonderful Addie tutorial using Marti Michell's templates AND which shows how to get your fabric-placement correct, click through to Angie's post from yesterday.

Well we've reached the end, and I just have one more photo to share with you - thank goodness, since your cup of tea must be finished or getting cold by now! Here are my two Addie's together - it's pretty amazing how different they look, isn't it.  

All the information you need for the Sew-along can be found on Angie's blog, which I think of as 'home base' for us all. 

And here is the book that you need, should you like to join in with us:

As I mentioned already, the Sew-along is sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop - click through to go shopping and don't forget to use the code FQSFarmers for a 10% discount off your purchase before 30 November.

And one last reminder, Marti Michell's templates, blog posts and conversion charts have been just wonderful in this sew-along - I am only new to using Marti's templates but I am a total convert. 

Happy sewing!  I am looking forward to seeing all your Addie's - be sure to link up to Angie's blog on Sunday, or share your photos to the Addie album in the Facebook group.  There are two more block tutorials to come this week, so be sure to check out Angie's blog tomorrow and Kirsty's blog on Friday.  Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have found my tutorial and photos helpful to your Addie-sewing.  xoxo cat


  1. Great Tutorial and I love your blocks! Excellent

  2. Fantastic, Cat, I love the way your two blocks have turned out. It's amazing how different they can look with colour placement and orientation!

  3. I love seeing all the different ways there are that people sew.... there is never just one right or wrong way. And to be honest, I LOVE the effect the red scallops make highlighting your fabulous girl. It might have been the wrong way, but it works fantastically well!

  4. Fantastic tutorial Cat! I love all the tips you shared. It's fun seeing different approaches to sewing the blocks.

  5. Your blocks are fabulous! Your reason for adding fish made me laugh!! Great fussy cutting :)


Oh hello there. Thank you for visiting, and for taking the time to leave us a comment, we really do appreciate it. We will reply by email (unless you are a no-reply-commenter, and we can't!). Have a happy day. cat and vee xoxo.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...