Have you ever come across a technique after years of doing something a certain way and once you learned how amazing it was, you had one of those amazing fireworks, doves flying out from behind you, angels singing, rainbows and flying kittens AHA! moments?! That’s how I felt when I was taught how amazing glue basting is when Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP). Glue basting for the win! I’m a complete and total convert and I will never thread baste again. Cross my heart.
Because of how long the lead time is between submitting patterns and the actual published date, I had written and submitted my Print Panache pattern long before I discovered how beneficial this under-appreciated office/craft supply is to my FPP process. Its a game changer. If you’re reading this and saying “jeez Jenn – have you literally been living under a rock all this time?”, well yes, yes I have. If I had known how often I would use glue sticks in my sewing practice I would have been preaching the benefits LONG ago.
Before we start I must tell you that, from experience, I prefer the Elmer’s glue stick. Before going on vacation a few months ago I grabbed a few UHU glue sticks from my local art supply store, and while they worked fine consistency-wise, I found that after the glue dried, the fabric and paper curled quite a bit. As far as I can tell – for the small EPP pieces I was working with – the curling won’t affect the overall piecing, but for large areas of fabric and paper such as this pattern, I decided it best to use a glue stick that I know won’t warp or curl once dry. So do yourself a favour and either test the brand of glue stick with fabric and paper, or just go ahead and get an Elmer’s – you won’t be disappointed.
Okay, enough rambling. Here’s a super quick and mostly visual step-by-step for glue basting a large block like the one in my Print Panache pattern. As with every FPP pattern, we will be placing the fabrics on the back of the pattern file and sewing on the front.
Get a general idea of where your first piece of fabric will be placed and apply your glue to that shape. It doesn’t need to be fully saturated – just enough that your piece of fabric won’t be going anywhere once you’ve placed it on the glued template.
Place your fabric for piece #1 over the shape on the template, making sure it extends out to the edge of the seam allowance and covers any other edges by at least 1/4″.
Here’s a view from the wrong side/fabric side.
Lying the pieces back down on your cutting mat, use your ruler, a piece of cardboard or another tool such as the Add a Quarter Plus ruler to score along the line between section 1 and 2.
Align a 1/4″ mark of your ruler, or the notched edge of an Add a Quarter Plus ruler along the folded edge and trim your fabric.
Align your fabric for section 2 along this trimmed edge, making sure that it will cover the entire section once flipped. Sew along the line between section 1 and 2 with a 1.5 stitch length.
Now either press with an iron or use a seam roller to flatten your seam.
Flip this section back over and apply glue where the fabric covered the template. Fold it back over and finger press to adhere the fabric to the glued template.
Continue with the remaining pieces of the template. Trim to the outside border (12.5″ box) and set aside.
The glue will baste your fabrics to the template until you are ready to take them off. Using this technique will speed up your production time, but will also increase the cost of your overall project slightly, because of having to purchase the glue sticks. You can always raid your toddler’s craft stash first before investing in a bulk pack of glue sticks from Costco!
I hope that tutorial will help make your block production a bit speedier. It is also extremely helpful when FPPing patterns with small pieces, as the glue will help keep the tiny pieces from shifting while you’re placing or sewing them.
I can’t wait to see some finished blocks popping up on Instagram! Be sure to use the #printpanacheQAL hashtag and tag me @jennmcmillan so I can see your progress!