Printing foundation templates on fabric

aka… boring blog title, boring pics, quite interesting project…!

For reasons that I can’t go into just now (it’s a secret – shhhh!), I have a lot of foundation piecing ahead of me…  Although it’s not the best method for every project, I often choose to foundation piece onto fabric, because the finished result is a bit more sturdy, which is great for coasters, table mats, and pincushions like this one:

Shabby chic pincushion 2

….although I confess that the main reason is that I don’t like fiddling around tearing away paper… But the downside of fabric foundation piecing is that it is really tedious (can you tell I’m a lazy so-and-so?!) to draw lots of foundation blocks onto the fabric base. In the past I’ve used specially-bought cotton sheets that you can use through an inkjet printer and had really good results – but it is mega expensive. So, I did a bit of research, and thought I’d try this method of printing blocks directly onto fabric…

N.B. I have an inkjet printer – don’t try this with a laser printer because of the heat involved in the process of printing. I have never had any trouble using this through my inkjet printer, but if you have any worries at all, best to stick to other methods. 

I roughly cut out a piece of cheap, thin white cotton fabric, slightly larger than an A4 piece of paper:

step 1

step 2

Then I ironed it so it was as flat and crease-free as humanly possible! Sorry no pic, but you know what ironing looks like….

I took an A4 piece of paper and sprayed it with spray mount, having protected my work surface first! It’s important to make sure that you spray right up to all the edges.

step 3

Then I placed the fabric onto the sticky paper and smoothed it down as thoroughly as I could, pressing out any bumps and lumps with my fingertips, again, making sure that the edges were well stuck down.

step 4

Next, I trimmed the edges so that I had a beautifully neat piece of paper-backed fabric (what a dull pic in this collection of rather dull pics!):

step 5

Next I drew my foundation template on paper, as accurately as I could, using a thin tipped black pen to make a strong clear line, and then I scanned this onto my PC. I wanted to print four 4″ log cabin blocks – which, helpfully, fit very neatly onto an A4 document – so I set that up using my word-processing software and made a test print on paper to make sure it all looked right.

Time to try the fabric-y paper! I fiddled with the options on my printer to set it to thick paper, and I also made sure that I was going to be printing on the fabric side…  It worked so well:

step 6

Then I peeled the paper off really slowly to avoid distorting the fabric

step 7

And finally, I cut out my foundation pieces ready to use:

step 8

Then I got to do some sewing…. not so shabby ;-)

Really shabby pincushion 2

***

11 Comments

Filed under craft, patchwork, sewing, tutorial

11 responses to “Printing foundation templates on fabric

  1. Pingback: Bookish ATCs with a hint of spring | Very Berry Handmade

  2. Brilliant (and I like Mary Emmens tip re freezer paper too). I am strongly tempted to try some right now .

  3. Marianne

    Please DO NOT do this with a laser printer unless you are absolutely sure it does not ruin it!
    A friend did it and it cost her a new printer not knowing that laser printers involve heat in the printing process. Apparently Ricky Tims Stable Stuff can go through a laser printer and be used to foundation piece on.

  4. Deborah Garretty

    Absolutely Brilliant Ali, many thanks for sharing. Did you just draw your own block or did you have one to trace over? Ingenious!

  5. MoodyCatCrafts

    I love the fabrics you’ve used in the last picture!

  6. What a great idea! thank you so much for sharing.

  7. ah ha great idea, I’ve done the same but used freezer paper instead of paper and spray mount, guess it depends on what you have to hand! You could probably reuse the freezer paper a couple of times too.

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