Today I thought I’d share a few cool tools that I use when I working on paper foundation projects. I’ve been making a few of them lately so the tools I use have been close at hand.
Foundation Paper. Back when I first began to foundation piece, I printed my foundation patterns on copy paper. Now I use blank newsprint. It curls a bit when it comes out of my printer, but soon flattens out. Did you know you can buy 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of newsprint by the ream (500 sheets)? I didn’t know this until my recent shopping trip with Vicki of Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting. We made an attempt to find some at an art store, only to find out it had to be ordered online. Still, it would be worth purchasing and splitting with friends or just storing on a shelf.
Paper Scissors. I have a pair of scissors for cutting paper that I’ve used since I was a young girl. They were my mother’s coupon cutting scissors. The pair now resides in my quilt room, hidden from the rest of the world. They are just the perfect weight and size for snipping around a foundation pattern.
Cutting Mat. I have this little one right by my sewing machine, which comes in handy when trimming the fabric pieces after stitching, or for cutting that little piece of fabric to stitch next.
Small Rotary Cutter. This goes hand in hand with the small mat.
Small Ruler. I have the Add A Quarter ruler, which is really handy. However, if that ruler isn’t close at hand, I just use my regular 6-inch ruler. The Add A Quarter ruler is helpful because it has a lip that you set against the stitched seam which holds steady as you trim the seam allowance. The regular ruler has a tendency to slip around a bit.
Pins. While I don’t pin the fabric pieces I’m sewing together, I do pin the foundation pieces when I’m joining them together into blocks.
Good Lighting. Honestly, I can’t do paper foundation without a good light (or light table, if that works better for you). I determine how my fabric lies on the pattern by looking at it against a bright light. This light works really well for it. Until I had this light, I used my Ott light.
Other Helpful Tools
Colored Pencils or Markers. These come in handy for color coding your pattern piece so you get the right colors in the right places. See how I just scribbled a bit of the color on this pattern piece on the right? It made it so much easier to remember which color to grab. If you don’t want to use the colored pencils or markers, you can letter or number the parts like I’ve done on the left. Colors work better for me.
Lapel/Glue Stick. Until the recent red, white and blue block that I made, I hadn’t thought to use a glue stick. A few of the fabric pieces were attached by a short seam and they would team to shimmy around a bit when I was getting ready to sew the next seam. A quick little swipe of the glue stick on the paper held the fabric in place.
Tweezers. These Sew Easy Tweezers came in one of my Sew Sampler boxes and I have loved it ever since. I use it often, but especially when I do paper foundation. The bent point and tiny tip really help tug those tiny pieces out of the stitching.
So those are some of my favorite tools for this kind of project. What about you? Do you foundation piece? If so, what are your favorite tools?
Happy Monday, all!