Today I’ve got another free paper pieced quilt pattern for y’all! This one’s called Tulip Bud & it’s perfect for Spring. Since I did a post about how to paper piece (see that here) I thought I’d talk about picking colors & patterns. We’ll also look at how to fussy cut FPP, which is a little different than fussy cutting hexies or shapes with templates. What’s all that quilty talk? Don’t worry, I’ll explain more below!
Before we talk about colors, here’s a little list of quilty definitions you may see in this post:
- FPP ~> Foundation paper piecing (what I’m doing today)
- hexies ~> Hexagon shaped quilt pieces usually joined by English paper piecing (something I’ve never done!)
- fussy cut ~> This is done by picking a particular part of a pattern you want to show & cutting it so it is centered in the piece. More on this below!
- templates ~> There are all kinds of templates out there for quilt shapes! Usually you’ll find them for curves, hexies, & other commonly used shapes.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I did a post previously on basic paper piecing and you can click the link to check it out. There’s also another free pattern!
I like FPP when I have a pattern with odd angles because it helps get sharper points. Today’s pattern, Tulip Bud, is my version of a tulip just before it opens. There’s a man in my town that plants tulip bulbs all around two trees in his front yard every year. Since it’s a corner lot, it gets plenty of attention when they bloom! I’ve printed out 4 copies of my pattern, so I can make a larger block. The link for the free pattern will be at the bottom of the post.
I knew I wanted bright, warm colors for the tulips & these charm squares fit the bill! The link is to a bright colored charm pack, since I don’t remember what this one is. : )
To get a better idea of how the colors will work in the pattern, I’ll align the center piece on the pattern.
Then I start “auditioning” the greens I want for the leaves. This piece looks great, but I’ll need to angle it to fit.
The checks a little too sheer, but I can fix that with second layer of light weight fabric.
I wanted a blue that really popped for the background, so it looked like a brighter blue sky. The first fabrics had too much green in the blue for me. The second was too bold & the third was too mild. Then I found this cooking print I had stashed away.
It had the perfect blue & all the other colors I was using. It was just right! (I’m starting to feel like Goldilocks!)
Since it had such a bold print, I decided to do some fussy cutting.
Fussy Cut FPP
When you’re fussy cutting for hexies, usually there’s a see through template that makes it easy to get the pattern centered. Most of the time, FPP has really odd shaped pieces that don’t have templates. This is how I handle that!
- Hold the pattern & fabric up to a light source to help center your image or word in this case. If it’s your first piece, then just pin the next piece to it & stitch it down. My fussy cut pieces are the 2nd & 3rd pieces. I needed to lay down the first piece & kind of eyeball the layout of the fussy cut piece.
- While holding everything together, I flipped it over & put a pin right on the stitching line.
- I flipped it back over and used my creasing tool (aka an old calendar on card stock!) to help mark my seam. just finger press the fabric to get an idea of the seam location.
- I flipped the top fabric over & could see I needed to make adjustments if I wanted the work “cupcake” to be centered.
Once I had the word down far enough, I wanted to be sure the other seam didn’t cut it off.
- I flipped back the fabric along the stitching line, which you can barely see in the picture.
- Finger press the fabric enough to make a visible line.
- I aligned my fancy creasing tool with the crease & folded the other fabric under the paper. This gives me a better idea of what will show.
- I made another adjustment – moved the fabric and replaced pin – then I had it where I wanted it!
This does take some time, but it’s totally worth it when using large prints. Otherwise you might get a piece that shows none of the pattern. Since this print has words, it helps show them off in the block.
Working with Plaid or Lined Fabric
Lined fabrics are much easier (in my opinion) to align with edges that patterned fabric. I cut along the lines in the pattern to get an even edge & this pattern is almost exactly 1/4″ spacing! Just align the edge and sew!
This fabric is a looser weave than the others I’m using, which makes it want to move around more. You can see on the right end that it’s a little off.
When I flip it over, I can see why. The stitching is slightly off the line. If I really wanted it to be just so, I could pull out the threads and try again. I’m just not that picky & that little bit doesn’t bother me!
Here’s my finished block! It’s a little abstract tulip bud amongst sweets!
I joined four blocks together to make this larger block. It reminds me of a pinwheel!
Here’s the free pattern download:
This is a 6″ finished block by the way! I don’t think I mentioned that before. If you make the block, I’d love to see a picture on Instagram! Just use #teadoddlestulipbud to tag it & I’ll be able to find it. Don’t have Instagram? You can email me a picture at mammjamma77(at)teadoddles(dot)com.
Y’all enjoy the pattern & have a marvelous Monday!