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4 great reasons to foundation piece with tear-away stabilizer

by Jennifer Houlden

 

I have these gorgeous autumn color batiks that have been sitting on my table waiting to be used. Examining them closely for several months, I decided they make the perfect background for a table runner. I’ll use foundation piecing with tear-away stabilizer to create my background and let you in on the 4 reasons for doing this, after which you’ll wish you had tried it years ago.

Gorgeous array of batiks in subtle autumn colors

Gorgeous array of batiks in subtle autumn colors

Yesterday I played with wash-away stabilizer and made some very interesting thread lace pieces, but let’s take a look at the many different tear-away stabilizers in the sample pack. After looking at each one I decided that the Sulky Tear-Easy is the best product for the foundation piecing I need to do.

From each of my eight fabrics I have cut a 3″ strip and arranged them in order from darkest to lightest. They don’t need to be a perfect fabric gradation just pleasing to the eye.

Most foundation piecing has sewing lines but I’m doing improv and hoping for something a bit wonky.

Foundation piecing step by step

Step 1 Place the first fabric piece about 1″  from the bottom of the piece of stabilizer. It can either be straight across or at an angle. I’m starting with the darkest fabric.

First piece of fabric placed on stabilizer

First piece of fabric placed on stabilizer

 

Step 2 Place the next piece at an angle on the fabric. Make sure to put right sides of fabric together before sewing. But if for some reason you don’t the tear-away makes it very easy to rip out a seam.

Step 3 Sew a ¼″ seam along at the straight edge of the top fabric.

Fabrics 1 & 2 sewn to stabilizer

Fabrics 1 & 2 sewn to stabilizer

 

Step 4 Flip the stabilizer under the fabrics at the seam line.

Stabilizer flipped under the fabrics at the seam line

Stabilizer flipped under the fabrics at the seam line

 

Step 5 Trim off the excess fabric from the bottom fabric.

Excess bottom fabric trimmed off leaving a ¼″ seam allowance

Excess bottom fabric trimmed off leaving a ¼″ seam allowance

 

Step 6 Press the top piece over so the right side is facing up.

Top piece pressed with right side up

Top piece pressed with right side up

 

Step 7 Continue adding fabric pieces at an angle to each piece sewn previously until all fabric pieces have been sewn in place following steps 2 – 6.

All pieces sewn to stabilizer

All pieces sewn to stabilizer

 

Step 8 Remove tear-away stabilizer from back of piece. Rip along the seam lines to remove the paper. Placing a ruler on the seam line and ripping along it makes an easy job of the task.

Rip off the stabilizer once pieces are all sewn on

Rip off the stabilizer once pieces are all sewn on

Reasons to use tear-away for foundation piecing

At first I had discovered the first 2 reasons:

#1 If you have to reverse sew (aka rip out a seam) the stabilizer does not rip as the stitches come out. No trying to hold it all together to sew the piece back on again.

#2 It comes off so easily – the stabilizer just tears away effortlessly and very few bits are left in the seams. The ones that are, come out with a flick of a finger nail.

And as I was writing this post I came up with 2 more great reasons:

#3 The stitch length on the machine does not need to be decreased to allow for easy tearing of the stabilizer – it already tears easy.

#4 Perfect for improv piecing when no lines are used.

Four wonky blocks

Four wonky blocks

 

I’ve made four of these blocks in total and will wait to square them up (as they are rather wonky) until Friday when I might have a better idea of how they’re going to go together. No more paper for me to foundation piece on, now that I discovered tear-away. These 2 great reasons to foundation piece with tear-away stabilizer make it easy and effortless.

 

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: 6 steps to making thread lace using Sulky stabilizers and metallic threads

Go to part 4: How to make a one-of-kind applique with small fabric pieces

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