Finished Foundation Paper Piecing Cushions
Everything Fabrics,  Pattern Love

Islamic Geometry meets Foundation Paper Piecing

During the last weeks, I have mainly posted on my quilt and patchwork projects. But I was doing a lot of Islamic geometric drawings during the last months as well. And one of the things that I want to try out for quite some time is to actually combine these two passions of mine in one project. For doing this I came up with the idea of a quilted cushion based on the foundation paper piecing technique.

To try out this pattern I decided to make the quilted cushion matching to one of the quilts I had recently made. So, I worked with fabric scraps from the Rustic Quilt project in January. I consider these two quilted cushions as my July 2020 quilt projects, because this is when I worked on them. 🙂

Fabric scraps

From Paper to Fabric

The pattern I choose to try to transfer from paper to fabric was taught in one of the many online courses that the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts gave during the first Covid-19 lockdown in the summer of 2020. I did not manage to sign up for this course as the number of participants is usually very limited. But I saw the pattern online when the workshop was advertised and figured it out by myself.

Islamic Geometry Goes PatchworkI drew the pattern several times and also tried to color it to represent the fabric scraps I had. From there I tried to break it down and develop the most basic block from a quilter’s perspective. 

From my point of view there are two options to transfer an Islamic geometric pattern into fabric: Foundation Paper Piecing or English Paper Piecing. Both are completely different approaches using paper as a base to redevelop the pattern in fabric.

For this specific pattern I decided to try out the foundation paper piecing approach. I explained the method in my block post on the Sandia quilt that also uses foundation paper piecing for the star blocks. It basically means that one sews different fabrics together along the pattern printed on a piece of paper.

Based on my geometric layouts I developed two mirrored foundation paper pieces. I printed them and started cutting the fabrics accordingly in the required sizes.

Assembling the Quilted Cushion No 1

Foundation Paper PiecesAs my color choices were limited to the fabric leftovers that I still had from the Rustic quilt, I came up with two different color options without actually planning in advance how I would assemble the pieces afterward. I just wanted to start somewhere and decided I would cut the fabric pieces based on what fabric I had left and decide later how to put the pieces together.

For my quilted cushion No 1 I used a navy blue fabric as a ‘background’ and two striking colors for the design: orange and red. 

Foundation Paper Piecing Basic BlockThat these shapes would look almost diamond-like when put together I did not know at this stage.

The outcome is simply stunning. I really, really love it. The orange and red diamond-like shakes really pop against the dark background.

If I had enough fabric left, I would have done another cushion directly. But my color options were limited and my second colorway would look slightly different.

Color Concept for Cushion No. 2

Instead of navy blue, the background would be bright red. And my design elements would have four different colors instead of two. I decided to go for navy blue, beige, orange, and white. These were the remaining colors of the Rustic quilt.

But I had my basic pieces done, I was not sure how to put them together as a quilt top. There were various options for assembling them and I came down to two that I liked, but had to decide on one of course.

Too bad I had not enough fabric to try out both. It would have been a nice cushion collection in the end.

Two Colorways of the same Quilted Cushion Pattern

When I was done with both foundation paper piecing cushions, I was really amazed. The two colorways of the quilted cushion look completely different. Most of my followers actually preferred the blue colorway. I think the red colorway might have been nicer if I would have been able to switch to red and navy blue. With a dark background this approach might look completely different.

To accentuate the quilted cushion, I decided I needed some contrasting colors at the edges. So I added some piping and rounded the corners to give it a softer touch.

Constructive Critique of My Foundation Paper Piecing Approach

Foundation Paper Pieces back sideBefore finishing off this blog on a too-positive note, I have one critique to add. When you look at the foundation paper pieces from the back side after assembling all pieces, it is too bulky where diamond shapes meet.

It was very difficult to remove the paper afterwards and it was impossible to quilt over these areas. 

So there is some improvement that could be done for the foundation paper piecing approach.

I already have an idea and just wait for having enough navy blue fabric to try it out. Then I will rework my pattern and write it down to share it with you. 🙂

If you are interested in the foundation paper piecing pattern of this quilted cushion, check out the  Me + My Craftroom Shop. I am planning to make all my patchwork patterns available for downloading as PDF files.

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