Tag Archive for paper piecing tutorial

Square in Square Quilt Block (Paper Piecing Tutorial)

I recently made a quilt block for my do. Good Stitches charity bee, and I had so much fun making this block. So, I decided to take photos and put together a square in square quilt block tutorial!

Tutorial for a Square in Square quilt block (paper pieced)

This is a paper-pieced (foundation pieced) quilt block pattern that works great with all kinds of fabrics. You can use these blocks to make a pretty paper-pieced pillow, a whole quilt or just make one block to practice your paper piecing.

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This is a pillow made using the same square in square block pattern, made by Tamiko of Patchwork Notes! She has put together a free paper-piecing pattern for this block, which you can download here.

Foundation Piecing Tips

Here are a few things to remember when sewing foundation-pieced blocks:

  1. Print out your foundation pattern once for each block you’d like to make. For the 8 blocks pictured, I printed off 8 sheets! I used regular computer paper.
  2. Shorten your stitch length to 1 or 1.3. This will allow you to tear off the paper easily when you’re done sewing.
  3. Place your fabric on the non-printed side of the paper. The pretty side of the fabric should face out toward you.
  4. When sewing a foundation pieced quilt block, always sew directly through the paper on the printed side of the paper. The fabric will be underneath the paper as you stitch, so use a glue stick and/or pins to hold it in place.
  5. For another little primer on how foundation piecing works, you can visit my New York Beauty block tutorial! Once you get used to placing fabric on one side of the paper and sewing the other, you should have no problem with this technique.

Square in Square Block Tutorial

Pattern makes a 6″ finished (6.5″ unfinished) block. Download the free template and print one copy for each block you’d like to make.

For each block, cut the following:
– 1 square 3.5″ x 3.5″ for center
– 2 squares 3.5″ x 3.5″ for center ring. Cut squares in half once diagonally to make 4 triangles total.
– 2 squares 4.5″ x 4.5″ for outer ring. Cut squares in half once diagonally to make 4 triangles total.

Here are two of my printed templates, side by side:

1. To make 1 block, take the 3.5″ x 3.5″ fabric for your center square. Place it on the wrong side of your paper, so the edges overlap the edges of the center box on your printout. You can hold up your paper to the window to see the lines. Use a glue stick to dab just a dot of glue to hold the fabric in place.

2. Next, take two of your triangles (cut diagonally from the smaller 3.5″ squares), and place them right side down on the fabric square as pictured. Align the long straight edges of your triangles with the top and bottom of the square. Center and pin in place. (The photo to the right shows what it will look like after stitching.)

3. Flip the paper and take it to your sewing machine so the printout is facing up at you. Peek under your paper to make sure the fabric has not shifted, and stitch the two lines where you’ve pinned the wide end of your triangles. Backstitch at end edge.

4. Open up the triangles you’ve just sewn and press. Repeat by pinning the long edge of two triangles to the opposite sides, taking the paper to your sewing machine, and stitching along the left and right sides of your center square.

5. Here’s what the triangles will look like stitched. Again, fold the triangles open and press with your iron.

6. Next, it’s time to trim! Take the block to your cutting mat. With the printed side of the paper facing up, fold along one of the diamond edges (diagonal lines) as pictured.

7. Fold the paper corner completely down, so you see the edges of fabric poking out. Lay your ruler on top of the paper, and measure out 1/4″ from the edge of the paper. Trim the fabric that pokes out past a 1/4″ seam.

8. Unfold the paper corner, and repeat with the other 3 corners to trim each of the edges.

9. Here is what the block looks like trimmed. So pretty!

10. Since I was making 8 blocks, I went ahead and assembled the centers and first row of triangles up to this point. You can see that I left the papers full-size, but you may wish to trim yours at this point or before getting started! Just be sure to leave on the outer printed border, which is the seam allowance.


11. To make the outer border, take two of the triangles cut diagonally from your 4.5″ squares. Pin the long edges of each triangle along the top and bottom of your patchwork square (pictured, left). Stitch in place along the printed lines. Press the triangles open.

12. Take your final two triangles, and pin the long edges along the left and right sides of your patchwork square (pictured, right).


13. Stitch in place. For this entire step, you will be stitching around the lines of the diamond (the second shape from the center), as pictured.

14. Press the entire block. Get excited, because you are almost done!


15. Flip the block over, so the paper side is facing you. Trim along the edges of the paper, again leaving the 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around the edge.

16. Flip over the paper and admire your pretty square in square quilt block!

17. When you are joining your blocks, it’s helpful to leave the paper on. I know… it seems funny. But it makes it very easy to get an accurate seam allowance and line up all the points.

18. All of your previous seams will naturally be pressed to the sides. For the seams between each block, I like to press the seams open.

do. Good Stitches {imagine} April for Toni

I can’t wait to see the quilt that Toni makes from these charity blocks! If you make any blocks based on this or any of our tutorials, we’d love to see them! Please add them to the Craft Buds Flickr group or share a link in the comments.

Have you tried foundation piecing or another type of paper piecing before? What’s your favorite method (or tools and tricks) of paper piecing?

Noel Paper-Pieced Quilt Block

12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt Along

Welcome to visitors from the 12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt Along. For those of you who don’t know, Craft Buds is one of 12 stops on a fun blog hop where you can quilt along with others to make a modern Christmas quilt using a variety of techniques like applique, foundation piecing and paper piecing.

I’ll show you the latter of these today, and we’ll learn how to make this paper-pieced Noel quilt block. Let’s get started!

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First, you’ll want to print off the template I’ve created. Save a copy to your computer and then print out, so it will print to scale. You might want to print two copies: one to cut up, and one to use as a visual reference. You can even color in the letters of the reference copy with your fabric choices.

Next, gather your fabrics. I’ve chosen two prints and one solid, and you can get away with a fat quarter or less of each. (Note: If you are using a 10-inch layer cake, you’ll want to adjust the measurements on the border, because my pattern uses some 11-inch strips. Use your imagination, and your block will turn out great! You will want to make sure you have at least a quarter yard of the background fabric.)

Other Supplies:

  • freezer paper (from the grocery store)
  • pen or pencil
  • glue stick or double-sided tape
  • clear ruler
  • paper scissors
  • fabric scissors or rotary cutter

Start by cutting out the sections of the N-O-E-L letters with your paper scissors (so you don’t dull the blades of your fabric shears). From the paper, you’ll only need to cut out one of each letter, A through I. Set the rest of the paper template aside for reference.

Note: We will not be flipping any of the shapes backwards, so just make sure that your paper templates and the fabric pieces all face the right way when you look at them. How easy is that?! Please ignore the fact that my Noel template is reversed in the first image below. Yours will look normal, spelling Noel from left to right.

Next, tear off a sheet of freezer paper, and put the shiny side down. Use  a very small dot of glue from your glue stick to adhere your paper templates A through I to the dull side of the freezer paper. (I say a small dot because you’ll be ironing with this paper later.) Space them out so you’ll have plenty of room for tracing around each piece. If you don’t have freezer paper, you can still carefully trim your pieces using regular paper templates.

Cut and Trace Templates

Use your clear ruler and pen or pencil to trace a line a quarter inch from each side of your templates. My friend Jennifer likes to use the Add a Quarter ruler for this step. Once you’ve traced each piece, use your paper scissors to cut along the lines you’ve just drawn.

Starting with the letter “N”, take your freezer paper templates for the center section (G, H and I) and iron the shiny surface to the front/patterned side of your fabric. (At this point, you’ll wish you used as little glue as possible. I left the paper on my freezer paper while ironing, and it was fine.) The templates will adhere to your fabric and can be used several times before they lose their stickiness.

Make the Letter N

Cut around each template with your fabric shears. Remove the freezer paper for the fabric pieces you are getting ready to sew, joining G, H, and I. Press your seams open.

Next, you’ll stitch on the left and right sides of the letter “N” (cut from pattern piece A) to the section you just made. From your background fabric, cut out pattern piece B and stitch to the right side of your letter “N” (this is the thin, green strip you see below).

"N" and "O"

Use the same method for creating the letter “O”, always starting with the most complex part of the letter and working outward. Join the letter “O” to your “N” and following the template for letters “E” and “L” to finish the word.

Noel Paper Pieced Block

Press your block, making sure you’ve ironed all the seams open. Trim the top and bottom of your block so all edges are even. Your block will now measure about 4.75 inches x 11 inches. Next, you’ll cut two 3-inch x 11-inch strips from your background fabric and stitch borders to both the top and bottom edges of your “Noel.”

Top and Bottom borders

Cut a 2.5-inch x 11-inch strip from each of your other fabrics (I used the pink and white, as in my letters). Stack one patterned strip on top of the other, and use your ruler to cut a diagonal line down the center of both pieces, as shown.

Cut top and bottom borders

Pair each of your new strips with the opposite color piece that fits and stitch together, pressing open your seams. Add your new “wonky stripes” to both the top and bottom of your block for a fun border.

Trim the top and bottom of your block so it is 12.5 inches tall. Finally, add a 1.5-inch strip of background fabric to each side to widen your block, and trim to 12.5 inches square.

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Not in the market for a Christmas quilt? I this block would look fabulous as a holiday pillow, stocking or hot pad.

If you make this block, you are welcome to add it to the Flickr group for the quilt-along and the Craft Buds Flickr pool. In fact, look at this awesome and modern Christmas quilt by in the making by Marcia, created with the block tutorials posted so far. I’m in love with her color choices!

Get all the tutorials at Sew Sweetness. Also, there’s still time to enter the fabric giveaway from Modern Fabric Studio!

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