10 Tips for Foundation Piecing
1: Use a tiny stitch length (12-16 stitches per inch) and a larger needle, such as a size 90/14, so the foundation will easily tear away from the assembled block.
2: Sewing through multiple layers (including your foundation material) can dull a needle quickly. To avoid sewing with a blunt tip, change your needle every six hours of sewing.
3: A minimum fabric of ½" larger than the piece to be covered is recommended. The fabric pieces don't need to be cut perfectly, as any excess will be trimming away after each piece has been stitched.
4: Having trouble seeing if your fabric is extending past the sewing lines? Hold it up to a sunny window or lightbox to check.
5: Foundation piecing requires a lot of pressing, so set up a pressing surface close to your sewing machine to increase productivity. The optimum location for your iron is one you can reach without getting out of your chair.
6: Slip a piece of cardstock against each marked line before folding paper back for more accurate results.
7: When inserting paper-pieced units into blocks with other non-foundation pieces, do not remove the foundation paper until after the block is complete.
8: Remove foundation paper by starting in the center of the block. Spritz the paper lightly with water to soften it. Running a pin along the stitching line makes the paper easier to remove, too. Use a tweezer for any stubborn paper.
9: When you've completed your block, you can stabilize it by spraying it with fabric finish or starch. Press and let it dry on your ironing board to avoid distortion.
10: Mistakes happen! To unstitch a seam, side the point of your seam ripper flat along the stitches. Cut a few along the seam every ½" or so, pulling out the ones in between. This will keep the paper from ripping.