A Quilt As You Go Paper Foundation Tutorial
Paper Foundation Quilting with Scraps
Quilting offers such wonderfully creative options! This Quilt As You Go Paper Foundation Tutorial is an easy option you may like to try. Quilting rules can be flexible and stretched, if not totally thrown out the window which gives quilters incredible creative freedom. Quilting has become so popular that non-sewers want to learn how it’s done…the easy way. The quilt-as-you-go (QAYG) method is both a great way to get a quilt done quickly, but also wonderful for beginners. This style of quilting has also become popular for those living in smaller spaces and don’t have room to spread out large quilts.
This Quilt As You Go Paper Foundation Tutorial is shared by Shelly, a reader of this blog. She has perfected exactly what works for her! Shelly first divides her fabric scraps into either her warm-color or cool-color bin. This way when she’s ready to quilt the strips she needs are already sorted. Of course, if either bin gets too full, that’s definitely an incentive to start a quilt.
An Easy QAYG Method To Try
Shelly starts with a pack of 10″ by 10″ foundation paper. It can be found packaged with 50 sheets to a pack at most quilt stores or online. The paper is like tissue paper and is used to size your block as you sew. It’s then removed before assembling the quilt. This is ideal if you want to make a pattern free quilt and use up your scraps. Once the paper is removed, your blocks may be assembled into a quilt and finished in the traditional method with backing and batting.
Shelly suggests an alternate method could be to use batting squares as your base instead of the tissue paper. She does emphasize using a cotton/poly batting of at least 80/20. Since these blocks are pressed with the batting sewn in place, a hot iron could melt a 100% ploy batting.
For this quilt, Shelly sews her blocks directly onto the tissue paper. Once the paper is removed, she quilts the batting to each block and then adds the backing. These are the steps that are outlined below.
Piecing Your QAYG Square with Foundation Paper
Lay your foundation paper on a flat working surface. Begin by placing a 2 ½” center strip diagonally, right side up, from corner to corner. Shelly generally uses a jelly roll of one color for all her squares. This common color becomes a dominant design element tying all the multi-color blocks together and brings some continuity to the quilt. Precuts such as jelly rolls are also a big timesaver!
Common practice for foundation piecing is to lightly glue your first strip down with a fabric glue or basting spray. This will secure your center strip as the block is handled quite a bit as strips are added to both sides.
Using random width strips, place your next strip right side down on the center strip. Line up the cut edges. Sew across the strips with a ¼” seam. Then open the sewn strip, finger press it in place and add another. Continue until the first side of your square is filled with strips. Next, turn your square and repeat the process. Once complete, remove the paper from the back of the square.
This is a scrap quilt, so just grab pieces from your stash pile and sew, sew, sew! You will find as you’re sewing that long strips are useful, but don’t forget to use those smaller pieces in the corners. You’ll be surprised how much of that scrap pile you can use! This is a super easy way sew quilt blocks.
Who doesn’t have a pile of batting strips leftover from previous quilt projects? This is a perfect way to use up those extra pieces of batting! Cut them into squares and place a pieced block on top. Then begin stitching in the ditch from side to side. If you have wider fabric strips, you may also choose to add extra lines of quilting. You could even add a row or two of decorative stitching! Before you know it, your quilt block is nearly finished.
Alternatively, you can also just sew your strips directly to a piece of batting then square them up. Once pieced together into a larger block, add your backing in the same manner as Shelly’s quilt.
Trim & Assemble Your Squares
After the quilting is finished, trim each block to a 9 1/2″ square for piecing. Before sewing your squares together, decide how you want to design your quilt top. Shelly’s pattern joins the center to create a large white square, or diamond. Blocks may also be placed with the dominant center strips all going in the same direction. There are no rules other than to create a design that you love!
Select four squares for your first block and lay them out in a placement you like. Sew two pairs together along one side with a ½” seam allowance. Press the seams open. Repeat for the second pair of squares. Match the center seams of both pairs and sew the strips together to form a large block of 4 squares. Continue for the rest of your blocks.
With your large 4-patch blocks sewn and pressed it’s time to add the backing. First measure your finished blocks to ensure they are consistently sized. Using that measurement, cut your backing fabric into squares that are 1 ½” to 2” larger. This allows enough quilt backing seam allowance to cover the quilt top seams. Use a Spray Basting Adhesive to hold the backing onto your blocks. Then quilt across the center in each direction, or as you prefer in order to hold the backing in place.
Next begin by sewing your rows together. Place two 4-patch blocks with right sides together and sew with a ½” seam allowance. Be careful not to catch the backing fabric in your seams. When your row is completed, press each seam open. Continue for the remaining rows.
When the blocks are sewn together into rows, turn them over and fold the backing seam allowance under. Hold the fabric in place with pins and hand sew the back seams with a whip stitch.
Then sew the rows together and finish the hand sewing along each row to complete your quilt. All that’s left is the binding and your quilt is finished!
A big thanks to Shelly for sharing her quilt and the method she used to make it. QAYG is a very popular and easy way to quilt. Have fun trying one for yourself!
Thank you for posting this tutorial…I will definitely give it a try. Also I’m looking for the floral pattern of the quilt hanging above the bed in the last photo. Is this your work?
Lea Louise says
Shelly used the pattern by Kim Diehl in her book Simple Traditions. This applique quilt is all hand quilted and took her a year to make. It surely is a beauty!
Enjoy your quilting!