TUTORIAL - Foundation Paper Piecing {aligning directional stripes}

When we created the Cadence Court Block of the Month, we did a rendering of the quilt that depicted the Tula Pink All Stars Stripes being used in alternating months. We didn't sew up those blocks so we didn't realize that aligning the stripes would become an issue! I set out to try and remedy this issue for our members of the Block of the Month but also create a tutorial that everyone could use!

Also, for reference, this is Foundation E of Block 5 and 17 of the Sassafras Lane Cadence Court Pattern. 

When you start your block, print two copies of the block you need to make. Grab a pen or pencil and a secondary pen in an alternate, bright color. We're going to make a lot of marks on our foundation paper template to ensure our stripes align.

Start by labeling the printed side of your template with each of your fabrics to help eliminate mistakes later on. As you can see, I've labeled where each of my fabrics will go.

Turn your foundation paper template over, and using a bright window or lightbox, trace the lines to the backside of your template. Repeat the labeling. The more accurate and detailed your are, the less mistakes you'll encounter while foundation paper piecing. REPEAT with your second template, but you only need to do this on areas 4 and 5 as those are the other stripe areas we need to align.

I know that the stripes on Tula's All Stars are 1/2" stripes, so grab your alternate color, and mark from the top center point of area 1 to the bottom center. From that line, you will mark lines every 1/2" to the left and right of this, only in the areas you want the stripes, so in this case, areas 1, 4 and 5. Shade in these areas to represent the dark portion of the stripe to keep them aligned later.

Grab your template and lay it on your stripe fabric. Align your center line with your stripes at the top and bottom as shown above. Do you notice that my shaded areas correspond with the darker pink of the stripe? Cut a piece of the stripe to cover area 1 entirely, ensuring that the stripe stays aligned with your template.

When I hold my template up to the window, you can see how my stripe aligns with the center of area 1, and also completely covers area 1. I use SewLine adhesive to keep this in place while I sew the remainder of the areas. 

Go ahead and sew areas 2 and 3 with your solids. Press well. 

From your second foundation paper template that you shaded in your stripes on, please cut out areas 4 and 5. Now you will cut out your stripe fabric for these pieces. As before, I use the SewLine adhesive to keep my paper piece in place while I trim the fabric for the next step. Ensure your stripes are aligned with your shading!

Trim both top angles of the triangle piece to 1/4" seam allowance. Leave the bottom as it is. You will then draw your seam allowances for the top two edges on the wrong side of your fabric using a water soluble or erasable pen. 

Lay your cut piece on the front of your foundation template, so you can see how it will look once pieced. You can see that we will sew along that left upper edge so, holding that in place, flip your piece over.

Again using your lightbox or bright window, and using the marks you created on the backside of the piece, align the 1/4" seam allowance along the line from top to bottom, and corners should match. Pin in place and sew. Trim and iron. 

Repeat with piece 4, ensuring you align the seam allowance markings with the lines on the foundation paper template. Proceed with the solids in areas 6 and 7, your background color in areas 8 and 9, and then the accent colors in 10 and 11. 

Check it out! You now have a completed foundation template with aligned stripes! LOOK AT YOU GO! 


  • Erika

    Thank you so much for this greatful help!

  • Lynne Hall

    Thank you for the tutorial! I like to line up the stripe so the fat color stripe is centered.

  • Monica Greer


    I would not have figured this out. Thanks for the help!!!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published