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Welcome to the Zoo Family Portrait Block of the Month

Block of the Month

We’re so excited you’re joining us in creating this truly unique and rewarding foundation paper pieced quilt!

Tools for Foundation Paper Piecing:

  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • Add-A-Quarter Plus ruler **optional
  • Iron
  • Good light source (lamp, window, light box)
  • Seam Ripper
  • Patience and Attention to Detail 😂

 **The Add-A-Quarter Plus ruler has a ridge that adds a quarter inch on one side, with a tapered edge on the other, perfect for folding your templates over. If you don’t have an Add-A-Quarter Plus ruler you can use a piece of card stock to fold the paper templates and pair that with your regular ruler. 

  Let's Begin!

Start out by opening your pattern and double-checking your pattern and templates. You should have a page with general paper piecing instructions as well as a Hatching Key. For Block A, there should be the instructions along with 5 pages of templates. There is a 1" square printed on each template page that you can double check for accuracy, which we recommend doing before sewing and especially if you make any copies or print at home. 

Hatching Key

Before sewing we suggest taking the time to cut out a small square of each fabric and glue them to your hatching key. This page will be your guide to color placement for the entire quilt and will allow for easy reference to make sure you are placing the colors correctly. We recommend keeping it close and referring to it often!
There are 12 different colors used in Block A. The hatching may change in scale depending on the size of the template, but it will keep its directionality and color. For example although the Burgundy hatching looks similar to the Dark Violet, in addition to the color and dashes instead of dots, the Burgundy runs vertically while the Dark Violet is horizontal. In Block A you'll find Burgundy on templates A-5, A-32 and A-34.
hatching key
The 12 colors used in Block A are pictured below in this order:
  • Light Violet (Orchid)
  • Medium Violet (Iris)
  • Dark Violet (Amethyst)
  • Burgundy (Bordeaux)
  • Light Blue (Cracked Ice)
  • Medium Blue (River)
  • Very Dark Blue (Midnight)
  • Medium Green (Emerald)
  • Dark Green (Forest)
  • White (White)
  • Black (Ebony)



Start by cutting out your template pieces and rough cut some corresponding fabric pieces so they're easier to work with. Make sure as you cut the fabric pieces that they're large enough to entirely cover the section you're going to be sewing with at least 1/4" seam allowance all around as well. You'll want to fold back the section that will be sewn to make sure your fabric covers the piece completely before being unfolded again for sewing. 

 folded fpp template 

You can either complete all the pieces before sewing any together, or sew up segments 1 and 2 and then attach them together and so on. But it's important that whichever way you chose to sew, you are sewing your segments together following the order stated in your Block Construction guide. 

For example, you'll sew segment 1 and segment 2 together but you won't sew segments 3 and 4 together. 

 Paper piecing diagram


When you piece two segments together we recommend using pins through the corners and clips along the edge in order to match up the pieces precisely before sewing together.

To see a video of all this and more you can check out this tutorial by Zoo Family Portrait designer Cassandra Beaver!



If you’re new to foundation paper piecing you can check out this all these little pieces can seem overwhelming, but we find it helpful to think of it all like a puzzle. Keep putting all the pieces together step by step and eventually you have a beautiful complete picture. It's also good to know that you're starting out with one of the more challenging blocks in this quilt, so going forward the other blocks will mostly be less complex.

You are welcome to join our FaceBook Group Dabblers and Stitchers to communicate with current and past Block of the Month participants. And if you post on social media be sure to tag @dabbleandstitch and use the hashtag #zoofamilyportraitquilt, we love to see your photos.

We hope you enjoy making Block A, and encourage you to reach out if you have any questions!

For anyone who wants to join you can do so at any time! Pick up a complete pattern or subscribe monthly here.

Happy Sewing!