Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Building A Good Foundation

Since a good many of my patterns are written for foundation piecing, I am often asked what paper I use and how I transfer the lines from the master included in the pattern. As with every thing else in quilting, there are many ways to answer the question but here's one very simple and cost effective method I like. Purchase a Doodle Pad of 9" x 12" newsprint in the kid's section of the $ store. Walmart carries these pads as well but in a larger 12" x 18" format. Sometimes there is less waste with this larger sheet as you can fit 2 or 3 foundations on the page.
Tear out the number of sheets you need for your pattern.
Lay your master pattern on top of the newsprint to see how it will fit on the page.
Roughly cut around your foundation and Scotch tape the edges beyond the lines in several places. Staple the top edges of your newsprint sheets together, making sure you don't have any staples underneath the stitching lines on the master.
Remove the thread from your machine and put in an old dull needle. Stitch on all the black lines, including the outer seam allowance.
Carefully remove your master foundation.

Voila! You now have a stack of foundations with the stitching lines all transferred.
With a marker, number and label your sections with the intended fabric colours. I've done up to 8 at a time using this method. One big advantage is that the lines are already "scored" making the paper removal even easier once your fabrics are added.
If you are really frugal ( me) you can use this method to stitch through pages of old telephone books, saving you the cost of the Doodle Pad. Just be aware that it is a bit harder to see your design through the print.
Number and label as before and you're good to go!


  1. Now, that's a neat idea. I never thought to sew through the lightweight papers. I have a photocopied set on lightweight paper to make a Maritime Beauty, but after that, I'll definitely try this technique. Getting photocopies are a pain for me.

    Do you like your Frixion pen? I recognize it. The design on the pen looks like it's been to the tatoo parlor..

  2. Oh ma ma You blow me away! I love that you have all these tricks of the trade and the tools you use are so efficient!
    Thank You!

  3. I like the idea of recycling telephone books this way. Great idea.

  4. What a great idea, you're so smart! That's one of the reasons I love reading your blog. Do you use a longer stitch for this type of marking?

  5. Very clever indeed! I love the diagrams - they are easy enough for even a beginner like myself. I will definitely try it. Lucy

  6. Oh! Thanks for that!! And here I've been throwing my old needles out!! I will def. need to give that a try!

  7. Phone books?! That is brilliant! :-) thanks for posting, what a terrific tutorial. :-)