Audition, cut, sew, trim, press and repeat as you go. Foundation paper piecing (FPP) projects take a little longer compared with traditionally pieced projects, especially working on larger scaled projects like the quilted baby milestone flags project. And sometimes it can feel a little daunting and impossible. However, it doesn’t need to feel this way.
Not familiar with foundation paper piecing? I’ve got your covered. Check out my blog post on what, why, and how to foundation paper piece here.
Tip 1: Piece by piece
I'm not going to lie, getting through all 12 months of the baby milestone flags takes a little bit of time. But I promise you, the results are worth it in the end. To make it more approachable and if you’re working against a deadline, try making the milestone flags in batches or a month at a time. For example, three flags at a time, four flags at a time, one month at a time, and then setting a dedicated date in the calendar to revisit the remaining flags.
Tip 2: Audition and cut all at once
If you’re familiar with foundation paper piecing, the steps are audition, cut, sew, trim, press and repeat as you go. These constant pauses to switch between different steps can be disruptive and inefficient. To help speed things up, try auditioning and roughly cutting all the pieces for each template at a time. That way, when you’re done sewing, trimming and pressing each piece, you have your next piece of fabric set and ready to go.
These pieces of cut up fabric don’t have to be perfect as you would be trimming them as you sew. Here’s an example of this point:
Tip 3: Create a production line
Similar to traditional pieced quilt projects, some foundation paper pieced projects require you to create more than one of the same template or blocks. Using the baby milestone flag project as an example, you could create a production line by auditioning and cutting all the fabrics for the one type of template like what I’ve done here with all the letter Ns:
To make the auditioning and cutting step even faster, cut all the fabric pieces for the one template first. Then over lay those pieces on top of the fabric you’d like for your other templates and cut! And as previously mentioned, these cut pieces don’t have to be perfect because they’re going to get trimmed as you sew anyway.
For example, I firstly auditioned and cut out all the peach coloured fabrics for the letter O:
Then I overlay these peach pieces of fabric on top of the sage green fabric to cut out the next set of letter Os:
Ta da! Now i've got fabrics cut out for two sets of Letter Os:
Once you’re done with all the cutting, just follow the standard steps like you would to complete a foundation paper pieced template. Coming back to the Letter N templates, here's a whole bunch of them lined up and done with this production line strategy. And all they need is a final trim to get them in shape for piecing all the templates together:
This wraps up my top three tips for a speedier and more approachable foundation paper piecing experience. If you want to get started on your own baby milestone flags project, you can download the templates and instructions here, and for additional foundation paper piecing support, be sure to check out my foundations of foundation paper piecing blog post on the what, why and how.