This method uses a paper foundation. The ‘without pain’ part is that there is no tedious unpicking of the paper after you have completed the block because you do not sew through the paper.

For the tutorial, I have made an over-sized block in highly contrasting fabricsThe method will work for any system of paper foundation patterns. The key to success is the careful folding of the paper foundation and sewing very closely to the fold.

Select your block. Using a fine pen or pencil, very accurately draw your full-sized block onto paper.  Decide the order you will construct the block. Or you may use a printed block from a book or the internet.

Crease every stitching line on your paper foundation. Take care to follow your drawn stitching lines. The paper should be creased firmly so that it will fold easily and exactly (if possible) on the stitching line.

Cut your fabric pieces. I make mine a little bigger than if I were piecing without a foundation. With, say 1/2″ seam instead of 1/4″.

3 chosen fabrics

Place your first fabric piece into place and pin using at least three pins.

Place your second fabric piece in the corresponding position on the pattern ready to sew. Pin through all layers of fabric and paper.

Fold your paper foundation under the fabric.

7 fold paper under

Sew the seam line as close as possible to the folded sewing line but not into the paper. It won’t matter if a stitch or two goes into the paper.

8 stitch9 close stitching

Unfold and finger press the pieces in place.

10 finger press

Pin piece 2 onto the paper foundation using at least two pins.

11 pin third piece

Position piece 3 for sewing.

Fold your paper foundation under the fabric. Stitch the seam line as close as possible to the folded sewing line. Unfold and finger press into place. Pin with at least two pins.

12 fold under13 stitch and press

Position piece 4 ready to sew.

Fold the paper foundation under the fabric.

17 fold pattern under P4
Fold paper foundation under the fabric and stitch

Stitch and finger press open.

19 press P4
Unfold and finger press

If necessary or preferred, you may trim the seams after stitching to 1/4″. Take great care not to cut through your block.

20 trim seams
Trim excess seam allowance

Continue in this way for pieces 5 to 9, making sure you pin each piece securely on to the paper foundation after stitching.

21 P6
Completing second geese unit

Attach pieces 10 and 11 in the same manner.


Remove the pins.

The finished block separated from the paper foundation, ready to be trimmed to exact size. As you can see, no painful removing the paper from the stitching, and (bonus) your paper foundation is ready to be used again.

Finished block with the original paper foundation

And just look at those beautiful points!

The points are nearly perfect!


NOTE: Unlike standard foundation piecing where you sew through your fabric and the paper, there is no stitching holding your block in place. The secure pinning is necessary so that your fabric does not shift from its proper place on the paper foundation. Don’t be tempted to remove some of the pins as you go. Your block will flex and shift. The final result will be inaccurate and disappointing.