If you are new to FPP instructions and patterns can be quite daunting, especially if you have picked a design aimed at more experienced quilters. So, this tutorial aims to be beginner friendly and will start with a very simple block.

One of the main reasons for liking FPP is it keeps cutting to a minimum, I don’t enjoy using templates and rulers, so I try to use them as little as possible.

Foundation Piecing basics

When foundation-piecing the blocks, the fabric shapes are placed on the un-marked side of the foundation, and the stitching is done along the lines on the marked side.

Pieces are added to the foundations in numerical order as indicated on the foundations.

When I first started out with FPP I used a 90/14 needle and a medium weight polyester thread I have found that a smaller needle and a finer thread give flatter seams. My favourite thread is Aurifil or Superior Threads 50 weight thread and a 70/10 Microtex needle.

There are many choices for foundation papers. There are speciality papers, blank newsprint type papers and copier and printer papers. I started out using cheap copier paper, the cheaper the better as it is thinner and therefore easier to remove. I then read this review on the UKQU blog site


Since then, I use it all the time, it is more expensive than other papers, but it is worth it especially if you are a beginner because it is semi-transparent and you can see what is behind the paper, this means that you don’t have to go over the design on the back of your papers. The choice is yours. Over time you will develop your own favourite.

We will use a simple block to make a table mat or cushion cover, either one is made from 4 blocks sewn together.

This is the block.


 You will need:

 Cutting mat

 Rotary cutter

 Scissors

 Ruler (I use a 12.5” x 3.5”)

 Foundation papers

 Half a meter of 2 different fabrics (1 dark blender fabric and I bright coloured patterned fabric).

 I use a ¼ inch foot for joining the blocks but it can be done without one.

To complete cushion or tablemat

 Binding fabric

 Backing fabric

 Wadding

Details for these will be in next blog


 Download a copy of the foundation template from the link below.  Print at 100% and check that the block measures 6.5″ square.


They are also quite easy to draw. Draw a 6.5” square, draw a diagonal from corner to corner and then draw the other diagonals 1” apart.

Make 4 copies

Cutting instructions

Bright fabric: cut 4 strips WOF the strips only need to be 11/2” but I would advise cutting at 13/4” to give a little wiggle room. Especially if you are new to FPP.

Cut 2 x 2 5/8” squares and sub cut diagonally.

Dark Fabric

Cut 4 1.75” strips WOF

Cut 2 x 2 5/8” squares and sub cut diagonally

Border – cut from remaining dark fabric.

2 14.5” WOF strips x 1.5”

2 12.5” WOF strips x 1.5”


Fabric 1 is dark fabric

Fabric 2 is light fabric

The numbers 1 -8 are the piece numbers and F1 and F2 shows the placement of the fabrics, it is useful to copy this information on to the back of your pieces.  Trim your foundations to roughly a ¼ “around the outer seam line, as a safety margin.

With the printed side facing you fold on the line between 1 and 2 to make a crease. Unfold and flip the paper over so you have the wrong (unprinted side) facing you.   Take a strip of fabric 1 and place on the wrong side of the foundation on area 1. 

Fold paper back on the crease with ¼” extending beyond the seam line between areas 1 and 2. ( It is important that it is not more than ¼ “, piece 2 is placed over piece 1 if your seam allowance is too big it will affect the size of piece 2 and it may be too small to fill the relevant area.)

Flip over and with wrong side of paper uppermost lay a strip of fabric 2 over the fabric 1 strip with right sides together pin in place.

Flip it back so printed side is facing you and stitch using a smaller stitch than normal (1.8 on my machine) stitch along the seam line between areas 1 and 2, stitch a couple of stitches beyond the seam line at each end and use a locking stitch.

(If your machine does not have this feature set your stitch length to zero and do a couple of stitches.)

Flip over, open out your fabric 2 strip and press to the side.

Turn over and fold your foundation on the sewing line between piece 2 and 3 leaving an ¼ inch extending beyond the crease as before. If there is more than ¼” trim back.

Place piece 3 right side down over piece 2.

On the printed side, sew on the line between pieces 2 and 3. Open out and press. Turn over and trim long ends back to edge of paper. 

 Place piece 4 over piece 3, right side down, sew on the line between pieces 3 and 4. Trim and press.

Now complete the other half, with printed side facing you fold back the paper on the crease and trim piece so that it extends ¼” over the paper, flip over and place piece 5 over piece 1. Sew on the line between piece 1 and 5.

Continue adding pieces to the foundation as before until all numbered areas have been covered.

Now make another 4 blocks, do not remove the papers yet.

In the next blog I will show you how to remove your papers and join the blocks and add borders and binding to make a cushion or table mat using the design below.