Dancing Ribbons Quilt Along – Foundation Paper Piecing & X-sections


It’s the second week of the Dancing Ribbons Quilt Along! We’re covering foundation paper piecing basics as we sew all the X-sections.

Dancing Ribbons Quilt Along

Dancing Ribbons pattern by Cindy Rounds Richards
Quilt above made by Beverly Mattila

This 12″ x 12″ miniature quilt has captured a lot of imaginations since its release in September 2010. And now, almost a decade later, we’re celebrating this fun project with a 4-week quilt along!

How to Join the Quilt Along

Subscribe to the OnPoint newsletter to be notified of the new post each week. Join the AQS Quilting Project Parade on Facebook to talk to fellow quilters, share your progress, and ask questions. Look below for when the posts go up each week! This is a free quilt along and there is no formal sign-up. Make the project at your pace and enjoy!

The Schedule

Fabric Pull & Organizing – Click Here
X-sections Assembly – See Below!
Y-sections Assembly – Coming July 1st
Z-sections Assembly & Finishing Touches – Coming July 8th

The Pattern

You can find the pattern for free by Clicking Here!

Last Time…

Last time we selected our fabric and organized using the Color & Fabric Guide. You were also given the option to cut out all the pieces if that’s part of your process. Some folks cut strips and then subcut what they need as they need it. Now we’re ready to start sewing our Dancing Ribbons project.

Before Sewing

Print out the number of foundation paper patterns needed.
Cut fabric into pieces larger than needed to cover the pattern area. (Refer to pattern for sizes if you have not yet completed this step.)
Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to make short stitches.

Grab supplies:
Small acrylic ruler with 1/4″ marks
Small rotary cutter and mat

Organizing the X1-section:

You can lay out the pieces for the X1-section before sewing. Mark the pieces and/or the foundation paper as needed to keep yourself organized.

If you completed a Color & Fabric Guide for yourself, use it now to help you!


First Section Seam

Step 1: Lay fabric right sides together. Lay the paper pattern on top with the printed side up.

Step 2: Hold the stack of fabrics and pattern up to the light and visually confirm that the fabrics cover the #1 area and overlap the #2 area past the sewing line at least a 1/4″.


Then pin the sewing line and flip the #2 fabric over into the #2 area as if it’s already sewn, making sure it completely covers the #2 area.

Make any adjustments now if needed, then flip the #2 fabric back in to place and remove the pin.

Step 3: Place the stack under the needle. Start sewing at the beginning point where the solid lines meet. (You may prefer to backstitch at this point to secure the seam. This helps later with removing paper.)

Step 4: Sew to the ending point where the solid lines meet and stop. (You may prefer to backstitch here, too. Again, this helps secure the seam when removing the paper later.)

Step 5: Remove the stack from the sewing machine, trim threads, and fold the paper back along the sewing line.

Using a ruler, measure a 1/4″ from the sewing line and trim.

Step 6: Unfold the pattern and press the #2 fabric into place.


Every Remaining Section Seam

Step 7: Crease the paper at the next sewing line. You can do this by lining up the edge of the ruler along the solid seam line and pushing the paper back.


Fold the paper back, exposing the area of the previous fabric which will make up the seam allowance.

Step 8: Trim a 1/4″ seam allowance from the folded paper edge.

Step 9: Unfold the paper.

Line up the next fabric piece right sides together with the previous piece. The edges can line up now that there is a trimmed seam edge to follow.

Step 10: Check that the fabric piece being added will cover its area completely, then sew it on as before.

Step 11: Press the new fabric piece into place.

Repeat steps 7-11 for all the remaining seams to complete the section.

After the Section is Sewn

Step 12: Trim the section 1/4″ from the outside of the solid marked edge. You may have an easier time trimming the curved seams with a pair of scissors.

Most paper piecing patterns, like this one, have the seam allowance included and it is marked with a dashed line. You can trim to the outer dashed seam allowance line so long as the seam allowance is 1/4″ which it may not be if the pattern has been enlarged or shrunk beyond its original measurements.

Step 13: Repeat the process and all the steps to sew the remaining X-sections.

Suggested Supplies

Some of these supplies have already gotten use this week, but check it out anyways in case your supplies are low!

Printer for printing patterns
Sewing Machine
Sewing thread (the same color as background fabric)
Microtex Sharp machine needles
Small cutting mat
Small ruler for trimming
Large Ruler for measuring
Rotary Cutter
Karen K. Buckley Scissors
Fabric Glue Pen
Wonder Clips
Wooly felted ironing mat
Small iron 

Next Time

Come back next week when we’ll be sewing the Y-sections. Be sure to subscribe to the OnPoint newsletter to never miss a post.

Show off your progress, connect with other quilters, get ideas, motivation and more!

Join us in the AQS Project Parade Facebook Group and quilt along with us!

Members get even more…

AQS Members can access hundreds of patterns and digital issues of American Quilter at any time!
Find quilt along series like Forever & A Day, 30 Days of Birds and more.

Not a member? Join today!

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eileen eyerman

I am unable to “see” the pattern to choose colors. I would love to have each color labeled with a letter. In other words, wherever I would put one particular color labeled A and the next B, etc. it would make fabric choices easier .

Hi Eileen, You may wish to use the planning sheets provided to help you organize and add notations. Enjoy the quilt along! Thanks, Betsey

Kendra S

Many thanks for Dancing Ribbon pattern and instructions! When you start sewing a section, should you start on the finished s section edge or include the seam allowance for that section? If you start on the section edge, how will you have enough sewn when you trim the wedge into it’s final size that includes the seam allowance? (Step 3 picture)