I love the scrappy, improv look of it! Using all your favourite scraps to make a new and fun new project.
But. Here's the thing. There's another technique I love, love, loooove. And that's Foundation Paper Piecing (aka FPP*). Contrary to the improv, freestyle way of piecing I've already shown you, FPP offers absolute precision. No guess work!
*Not to be confused with English Paper Piecing (aka EPP), where you sew by hand. Around paper pre-cuts.
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You'll be sewing on paper, following a given pattern. And the result is always super, duper precise. One block is exactly like the next.
Bonus. There's tons of scope for fussy cutting!
Just like in these blocks (see below). The centre is fussy cut and then I framed the print using some of my fave blenders.
Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP)
If this technique is new to you - no problem at all. I've created a brand new video tutorial for you.
Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more!
And as a bonus. You can download the step-by-step tutorial right here.
Just follow the link and I send you a copy of the tutorial (including templates for the economy block in three sizes) by email. Easy!
Now. Let's talk about patterns.
Using this technique you can create absolutely stunning and complex designs. Check out my fave designer and friend Kristin for her FPP here. I particularly love her moth pattern!!
Saying that. There's always a place in my heart for some traditional, let's say more simple shapes. Just like the one I used in the tutorial and video above.
The economy block is my favourite of them all. The simple yet effective design always makes my quilty heart sing. It's the perfect block for fussy cutting - showing off some whimsical prints from your stash (and I bet your stash is just a big as mine).
Bonus. It's super simple. And a fab block to start with if you're new to FPP.
If you like to give it a go - no problem at all. I got you covered.
At the end of my pattern, you'll find the economy block templates attached in three sizes (finishing at 2", 2.5" and 3"). Small and crazy adorable. Ohh... and super quick to make.
You can grab your block right here. Print it and you're ready to go.
Now let's talk about the materials a little more. I promise you won't need a lot!
Shall we? Let's go...
First of all - make sure to print your FPP templates (you can find them at the end of my free pattern right here). Keep in mind to always print them at the same size. Read more about "how to print" your templates in the next section.
And then you will need...
- Fabric. I like using quilting cotton (here I used mostly prints by Heather Ross, Ruby Star Society and some precious Liberty tana lawn)
- Thread. I am using thin yet super strong Aurifil 50wt for piecing.
- Basic quilty notions. Such as a rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler
- FPP templates (see page 9 and 10 of my free pattern)
And that's really all you'll need. I bet you already have it all at home. No need to go and buy anything new. Wahooooo!
A word about printing. The pattern format is A4 and not letter size (mostly used in the US). So if there are any issues printing them out, make sure to consider that. If in doubt, contact your local copy shop and I am sure they can help you out. Most modern printers at home can easily adjust though…
In your pattern you will find a 1" test square*. Measure it to make sure to get the sizing right.
*Now - my slightly contentious take on this (and I know the quilty police won't agree with me). But let me explain. Printing at the right size does not really matter as long as you always print using the same settings!
Ok. I know I might get some stick for this. But if your final block finishes at 2" or 2" and 1/8" - nobody will know. Same for the seam allowance. As long as you always print using the same settings - nobody (and I mean that), will ever know your printer didn't play ball.
Trust me. It happened to me so often. As I used all kinds of different printers and forgot to check the format. As long as you print a project all using one setting - everything will work out just fine! So please don't sweat if your test square is slightly off.
Just keep sewing. Nobody will ever know.
Now. What to do with your FPP blocks?
You can of course make a full blown quilt using this technique. Might take a bit - but it will be gorgeous. And so worth it.
I usually don't have the patience. Especially using those tiny blocks. It would just take too long. So what I do instead is using them for my bags and pouches.
As you can see... I used the economy block in two different sizes. Pieced them all together and then added some scrappy, improv piecing (again - find the tutorial and free video over here).
A mix of precision piecing (FPP) and scrappy improv. The best of both worlds. Don't you think?
This is the Anyone Can Make This Bag by the way - a fab project for beginners. And everyone new to bag making. No binding on the inside. And it's super quickly made.
And that's a wrap, my friend. My take on FPP and the classic economy block. One of my fave quilty techniques.
Best + big quilty hugs.
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