Welcome to my workspace. On the left I have a 14" rotating cutting mat, an Add-A-Quarter ruler and rotary cutter. Right behind the mat is a large glass jar that I use for my trimming scraps. My sewing machine, the Janome 1600P, is set with a short stitch length to help notch the paper and strengthen the seams for easier paper pulling.
Please notice my seam ripper front and center on the sewing machine. For me, the seam ripper is a main tool in foundation paper piecing. Fabric placement changes WILL happen. The seam ripper shouldn't be viewed as something you get out for mistakes - it's a part of the process and I use mine frequently to change the placement of fabrics while I work.
On my left is my handy lightbox sitting on a small table. My husband made this giant beauty for me as a gift several years ago using an Instructables tutorial. My Fabric Palette is taped up above my lightbox and I have each fabric lined up in front of the Palette & Piecing Guide.
Not pictured: My iron and pressing board are at my right also on a tray table, a paper bag is at my feet ready for paper scraps and my templates are all cut and lying in order with A on top of the stack.
Here is my filled Fabric Palette for this block. I have chosen a fresh, light and bright palette of mint and yellow. I am using a more scrappy look and have picked more than one fabric for a few of the slots.
Background: solid white
Black: In place of black for Bunny's eye and nose, I have used the gray from the background of Waterfront Park Flight in charcoal.
White dot on gray ground: I have two fabrics on my palette. These two prints, Brambleberry in Aqua and Shimmer Reflection in Mint read as a very similar color and saturation and I want to use them interchangeably as I go along.
White triangles on gray space: I have a lighter mint fabric than the earlier prints, Flight in Mint.
Gray lines on white: Memoir in White
Gray dot on white: I have placed three different fabrics. These three yellows, Wild Carrot in Straw, solid straw and Reflection in Starfruit, I planned to use interchangeable throughout the block. You will see that as I went, I ended up removing Reflection in Starfruit from the block.
White: In the final slot I have two solids as I wasn't sure which one I wanted to use until I got going. I chose the fog gray.
I have taken my first piece of fabric and placed it underneath the template, under the A1 position. The template is right side up and the fabric placed under the template is right side down. Notice that the fabric piece extends at least 1/4" beyond all of the A1 edges. Since the A1 position is along the edge of the A template piece, the fabric also extends all the way out to cover the 1/4" seam allowance dotted line.
This fabric piece was fitting almost perfectly... almost too perfectly. I was worried it would slip as I was sewing on the second piece, so I carefully lifted up the paper and used a small piece of double stick tape to hold it in place. I love this tape (Duck brand Easy Stick Double Stick Adhesive Roller) and I've never had any problems with it. The main reason it works so well for foundation paper piecing is that it barely sticks to the fabric. It loves to stick to the paper. It holds well enough to keep my fabric from shifting, but when it comes time to pull paper, in my experience the tape has always stayed with the paper.
Take a good look at the space you are about to fill, A2. Notice the line between A1 and A2, this is your stitching line. The piece of fabric you use to fill the space needs to be large enough to cover A2 and at least a 1/4" seam allowance on all sides. Place a piece of fabric under A2 with the right side down and ensure it covers these seam allowances.
Holding all the layers in place, carefully flip everything over so that the fabric is lying right side up.
Focus on where the line between A1 and A2 lies. You should not be able to actually see it right now, because it is covered by the fabric. The fabrics should both be lying right sides up covering the places they will be once they are sewn down.
Flip the A2 fabric back across the line between A1 and A2 so that right sides are together and there is at least 1/4" of fabric crossing the stitch line on the A2 side of the line.
Again, holding all the layers in place, carefully flip everything back over so that the template is right side up and transfer the layers to your sewing machine.
Place the layers under your presser foot. Put your needle in about 1/8" before the A1/A2 line. Sew along the line and beyond the 1/4" dotted seam allowance line.
From here, you can see that the fabrics both extend at least 1/4" across the A1/A2 line and the seam extends through the dotted seam allowance line.
With the template face up, fold back the template paper along the A1/A2 seam line.
Trim off the excess fabric from the seam allowance. I use an Add-A-Quarter ruler as it makes this step quicker, but any ruler with 1/4" line will do.
Smooth out the fold you made in your template. Place your template on your work surface so that the fabrics are facing up and the template is facing down and examine your work. Make sure the fabric covers the A2 space as well as extends 1/4" into all adjoining areas and extends across the 1/4" dotted seam allowance line.
Using a dry iron or a seam roller, press the seam in place!
Yay! You did it!
Seam Allowance "Shadows"
So, what happens when you run into a light fabric that goes on after a dark fabric and creates a "shadow" in your seam allowance? Most people will probably not even notice this. I'm not convinced that I would notice it after the project was completed, but while it's right up in my face, it bugs the heck out of me. My solution is ever-so-slightly trim back the dark seam allowance.
With the template lying on the work surface, fold back the light seam allowance and the template and hold it back under your ruler so that it will not be trimmed. Place your ruler so that about 1/16" of an inch of the dark seam allowance is sticking out and trim it away.
Odd Angle Seams
This pattern has a LOT of them... okay, mostly ALL of them. Let's take a look at one. In this example I have pieced D1 through D4 and am trying to fit the white fabric D5 triangle shaped piece. The D5 triangle does not have a 90 degree corner angle, which is going to make your fabric shift in an odd direction when you sew it on and press it in place. Here is how to get a perfect flip in the expected direction.
With the template face up on your work surface, place the fabric piece on top of your template where you want it to be positioned after it is sewn, ensuring all seam allowances are covered. You can see that my fabric fits well on the top of the D5 triangle space, but has some weird jagged edges on the bottom edge by the seam.
Place your ruler so that the flat edge extends 1/4" across the seam line with a little extra room. Using a chalk pencil or other marking tool, mark the seam allowance line where you will trim away the excess fabric.
Place the fabric on your cutting mat and trim. Now you have the correct angle on your fabric and it should align when sewn on.
Sewing Together Template Pieces & Aligning Points
With all of the angles in this pattern, it is sometimes difficult to see exactly where the end points should match to get perfect alignment. As you complete each template use the piecing guide to lay them out on your work surface with fabric right side up.
When you are ready to sew two template pieces together, align them along the seam with fabric right sides together. Take a pin and put it through the top seam end point. Poke the pin through until it goes perfectly through the bottom template seam end point.
Transfer to your sewing machine and secure the pieces under your presser foot. Remove the pin and sew the seam.
More posts coming with the original and alternate pallets for the bunny. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or where you would like to see more information or detail.