FPP (Foundation Paper Piecing) method using re-useable foundation paper

By Shannon Mitchell

I used this method for the March 2022 BOM, and captured these how-to instructions to share with you.

This method was part of a tutorial for the Color Collective club by Tara Faughnan. Her technique is to fold back the paper and sew right next to the fabric, so you don't sew through the paper, which lets you re-use your foundation paper over and over. She does a great job explaining it, but I’ll give you a brief overview. 

Tools you’ll need: Foundation Template (paper printout), Iron, Glue stick, Fabric


Print and cut out the foundation template. Printed at 100%, the block will be just shy of 6” finished. Printed at 150%, the block will be 9” finished (but will need to be printed on paper larger than letter sized).


Fold along all of the sewing lines.


Sew the middle 4-patch together, then glue the center of your block on the foundation, lining up the 4 square block on the dotted lines to make sure it is centered. You don't need a lot of glue, just a dab.


Use your iron to set the glue.


Next, fold the foundation paper down away from the block (it should stick!)


Flip it over and…Trim the extra fabric away using a 1/4" seam


Do that with all 4 sides and then flip it back over so you can see what's going on.


Place the first piece along the edge of the block making sure that you've lined up the left hand corner with the coordinating block in the center. You can either cut them as triangles or rectangles; your precision just determines how much waste you cut away.


Flip it over so right sides are facing and line up your edges. I like to make sure my point on the triangle is centered on the seam of the 4 square block.


Fold the foundation paper on the line you would normally sew, away from your fabric and flip the whole block over.


Using the paper as a guide sew along the edge of the paper. DO NOT SEW THE PAPER


Put a dab of glue on the foundation and press your fabric to cover the area. This is the third of the setting triangles around the center block shown here, but the process is the same for all steps.


Fold back the paper along the lines and trim the 1/4" seam allowance


Continue on, repeating these steps, until you have the foundation covered.

After covering my foundation, at this point I realized I liked that the beginnings of the Snail's Trail looked like an S so I decided to finish the block using my white. Once I trimmed my block along the foundation I peeled the paper away to release the block.  

As you can see, my foundation is left all in one piece so it can be reused! That’s the fun with this technique, you don’t have to print a million pages and tear them all off. 

So that’s my reimagined Snail's Trail block. Mess and all!

And my final block:

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