Let the good times roll with the Louisiana quilt block!
Simple foundation paperpiecing techniques make for perfect points and easy assembly.
Don't care for foundation piecing?
We've got instructions for a traditionally pieced block, too, with Flying Geese made 4-at-a-time. A pretty sweet technique! No special equipment required.
In this tutorial you'll find:
It's time to cut up and sew!
Please read through all the directions before beginning your block.
Remember there are two different construction methods shared here. You want to choose the best one for YOU.
These abbreviations are used in the Louisiana block tutorial:
Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow to make them easy to find.
Click here if you prefer to skip all the paperpiecing and prefer traditional methods instead.
Our sample block is:
Attribution: Hearth and Home
Design Type: Pinwheel
You'll notice immediately that this block looks different depending on which side (front or back) you're looking at. That's because it's not symmetrical.
Don't let that trip you up as you piece it.
I've used Kaffe Fasset's 'Paperweights' fabric for the background, using a dark version in place of the light fabric shown in the Louisiana patchwork illustration above.
Remember, YOU are the designer and can choose whichever fabrics please YOU. Be mindful that good contrast between your choices means that all your perfectly pieced points show up.
After all, that's the point, isn't it! :)
Download and print the coloring page if you'd like to map out your fabric choices.
Please label your patches. We refer to their numbers throughout this tutorial.
To print a copy of just the block design (above) and cutting chart (below) to use at your cutting table, click here.
Cutting Chart for a~Paper Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size||Sub|
|1,5||Dark||1||3¾" x 3¾"||4¾" x 4¾"||5¼" x 5¼"||5¾" x 5¾"|
| 2, 3|
|Med||4||2⅜" x 2⅜"||2⅞" x 2⅞"||3⅛" x 3⅛"||3⅜" x 3⅜"|
|4, 8||BAC||4||2" x 3"||2½" x 4"||2¾" x 4½"||3" x 5"||---|
|Unfinished Block Size||4½"||6½"||7½"||8½"||---|
We need to make some adjustments to our machine before we stitch.
General Sewing Machine Setup for Paperpiecing
After adding each patch, press the unit as it was sewn to set the seam. Then press it open. The SA is automatically pressed towards the last patch added.
Steam is optional and usually curls the pattern.
If that bothers you, don't use steam. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.
It really just depends on my mood.
Remember as you follow this paper piecing tutorial, the printed and the fabric sides of this block are mirror-images of each other.
If you are making traditional pieced blocks, click here for those instructions.
Use just the tiniest bit of Elmer's Washable Gluestick to stick the wrong side of a #1 to the unprinted side of the pattern. Use the dashed placement guides to make quick work of this.
With RST match the long edge of #2 to a short edge of #1. Cotton likes to stick to itself so you probably won't need a pin or anything else to hold it in place—but if you need pins, use them!
Stitching is started a good 1/4" before and ending a good 1/4" (pink arrow) after the solid line between #1 and #2.
With RST align a short edge of #3 with the adjacent edge of #1.
Stitch from the printed side as before, starting and ending a generous 1/4" past the ends of the solid line between #1 and #3.
Trim the SA between #2/#3 and #4 to 1/4" wide.
With RST, align a long edge of #4 with the trimmed #2/#3 patches.
Below are the halves after adding #4 to each.
Time to trim again.
Pull back the paper from the stitching along the #2/#4 edge as shown below. The paper may rip a bit (pink arrow).
Don't worry. That's how this works.
Fold back the pattern on the solid line between #2/#4 and #5 using your ruler and thumb to get a good crease.
Trim the SA to 1/4".
Position the long side of #5 to this freshly trimmed edge...
...and stitch the seam as we've done before.
Since the stitching between #2/#4 and #5 extends from edge to edge, you'll be able to chain piece this step to speed up the process! (Who said you couldn't chain stitch in paperpiecing!)
Trim the SA to 1/4" on both short, exposed edges of #5.
From here on out, the #6, #7 ad #8 patches are sewn and trimmed exactly as #2, #3 and #4 were.
Again, when you add #8 you can chain piece. :)
Trim the units to size with your rotary cutter and ruler.
The piecing's halfway done here...
After both halves are trimmed, give them a good press, let them cool (so they don't stretch as you rip away the paper) and then remove the pattern.
Are you ready to assemble your Louisiana quilt block?