Foundation Pieced Christmas Block
This month is fast coming to an end and I realize I haven't made my Christmas block! Since I enjoyed working with EQ last month, I decided I would use it again but this time to create a foundation pieced block. I was thinking along the lines of a Christmas tree so I played around and came up with this block...
There was one slight problem..... because the block was 12" square, I couldn't exactly print out foundations as my paper wasn't large enough. So I created a pdf file (so I know it would hold true to the measurements) and then pulled it into my editor so I could adjust the templates so the main section (the tree) was centered. I figured it would be easy enough to add some extra length to the background strips without the foundation.
So with my templates printed.... (you can download the file here)
and fabrics selected.... (I'm adding a new fabric but sticking with two used in other blocks)
...I made a start on my block. First, I cut out the foundations and scored the lines. I find this makes it so much easier and more accurate to fold the paper. I simply use the back of my quick-unpick alongside the ruler.
From my fabrics, I cut a 3-1/2" strip from the background fabric, a 3" strip from the green, and a 1-1/2" strip from the print. I also cut TWO 5-1/2" x 2-1/2" background rectangles and ONE 2-1/2" square of brown. These pieces will make up the base strip which is where the trunk of the tree is - no sense in foundation piecing these as it is quicker to simply piece them.
As you may know, when foundation piecing, you place the first fabric wrong side to the back of the paper so when you flip the paper over, you can see the seam line to sew on. At this point, I always fold the foundation (hence the scoring earlier) and trim the fabric leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. This makes it super easy to align the next fabric.... of course, the first piece is always a little fiddly because it tends to move so I pop a pin in to hold it.
With the two pieces of fabric aligned and right sides together, I can now sew the seam - simple, just stitch along the line. I do reduce my stitch length slightly (helps to remove the paper later as well as hold the stitches tighter when removing the paper) and I do not stitch over the ends of the line as that only makes it difficult to fold the next seam.
With each seam, I flip and press it in place before folding the foundation to trim the next seam. Here's how the first three pieces look.
The last two pieces are background sections. I like to lay the strip out under the foundation to ensure it will cover the area correctly. This helps to get the angled cut correct and also to see that I have enough fabric. In addition, because I'm using a directional fabric, it ensures I have this up the right way. With these foundations needing to be extended, I can also check there will be enough for the extension.
I found when I folded the template to look underneath near the seam line.... the seam allowance popped out (see above). This makes a perfect guide for cutting the background piece to the right angle!
Now I can align the two trimmed edges, right sides together, and know everything will fit!
With all the pieces added, I can now go ahead and trim this entire section to 3" x 12-1/2".... which is 6-1/4" from the centerline on each side.
There are only 4 pieces to foundation piece so they really are quick and easy to make.
And of course, I need to put the base section together by piecing the trunk in between the two background pieces.
Last of all, I sewed the 5 strips together to complete my new Christmas block.
Now it's your turn. What fabrics will you use? I hope you'll share a photo when you're complete!
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