Free Cardinal Foundation Pattern

“For The Birds!”

Ready for a new free pattern?

Give this free cardinal foundation pattern a try!

We've decided it's time to get a bit more  and make it easy to achieve wonderful perfection, for free!

It's perfect for using up those scrap pieces of fabric too!

This is how quilters get their quilt top to look perfect.

There's no miss sewing or improper piecing.  Everywhere you gaze the pieced angles of the quilt look perfectly symmetrical.

We’re going to show you how the pros do it.  It’s easy enough that beginners can use this simple technique after you have gotten the basics of quilting down.

Please note that this technique is done using a sewing machine, but can be done with a simple needle and thread.  The machine makes it easier and faster though!

Free Cardinal Foundation Pattern 

This is what the free cardinal foundation pattern will look like once you've completed a foundation block.

To get your own copy of this 6x6 inch block pattern, click here:

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To start this project you will need the free odd scraps patchwork pattern.

Print off as many copies of the pattern as you need.  You will need a copy for each block you are doing for your quilt.

To explain further, 6 copies if your quilt is only using 6 blocks.  112 copies if your quilt will have 112 blocks to complete it.

Once you have all of the copies printed out, move on to the “Steps”.


This pattern is for advanced quilters. 

Don’t worry, beginners can do this too! 

It’s important to know that there is some piecing involved. 

This pattern is broken down into sections (marked by letters).  The numbers in each section tell the ordered of assembly.

Then the sections are sewn together.

(Tip: When working with Y-seams make sure to only sew to the 1/4 inch corner.  This will make it easier to join!)

Start with having all of the fabric prepared for this free cardinal foundation pattern. 

Wash and press it with an iron.  This will ensure that the fabric won’t shrink when you wash your final quilt and that you will have smooth materials to work with.  This is particularly helpful when it comes to sewing them together.

The only exception to this rule is when your working with very similar fabric or fabric pieces.  For fabric scraps it will just make a big mess with all of the fraying.  It's best to avoid it! ;)

Cut your fabric in a way to ensure that all of the pieces are at least ½ inch bigger that what you need.  They do not need to be the exact shape of your design pieces.  For example, it could be rectangles that you cut out, but your final pieces are diamonds.  You can even use scraps if you’d like.

Be sure to leave a 1/4 inch grace allowance for each section.  this will make it easier for putting the sections together, later on.

Then star sewing your fabric onto them in the following manner.

Now, pin the first piece (#A1) of fabric with the wrong side touching back side of the paper, over where the first piece is marked.  Make sure it has good placement by holding the two up to a light source, like a window.  The fabric should cover the entire place of the design and overlap the surrounding places by at least ¼ inch.

These pictures are of a different pattern being assembled.  However, the same principles can be applied to any foundation pattern.

Here is where most people get tricked up when working with foundation patterns.

Pin the next piece (#A2) of fabric with the right side touching the right side of the first piece of fabric.  The edge of the second piece should overlap its seam line by at least a ¼ inch and when unfolded overlaps the surrounding sections by ¼ inch. 

Remember that you want all of the right sides on the materials to be facing away from the paper when the block is finished.

Hold the fabric up to the light to make sure that the placement is ideal.

Place the materials paper side facing up.  Sew on the line using stitches that are 1 to 1.5 mm.  This can be done with either a sewing machine or by hand.

Once the pieces are stitched together trim whatever excess material there is.  Remember to keep ¼ for the seam allowance all around.

Unpin and unfold the fabric sections.

When piece #2 is unfolded, pin it into the fabric’s proper place on the paper guide.

Lay the material for piece #3 over #2 with right sides touching.  Make sure the seam edge overlaps the seam line and all around to the neighboring sections by at least a ¼ inch.

Pin fabric #A3 into place.  Hold up to light to ensure proper placement.

Stitch on the line just like before.

Trim excess material ¼ inch away from the seam that was just sewn.

Unpin, unfold #A3.

Continue to work in this manner until all the pieces are stitched into place.

After the groups are completed, pin the proper joins to the corresponding spots before sewing.

(Remember this tip: When working with Y-seams make sure to only sew to the 1/4 inch corner.  This will make it easier to join!)

Once at this point, baste with long stitches around the edge of your block.

Trim the excess cloth and leave a ¼ inch seam allowance around the outer edge of the block.

Now, carefully tear away the paper from the back of your quilting block.

Voilà, the quilting block is done with expert procession.

Printed pattern is needed for each block.

Repeat this process for each quilting block that you want to have as part of your quilt top. 

Here's an example of what can be created with this free cardinal foundation pattern.


Where can you find more patterns like this?

There are several places all over the internet.  Our favorite place is  Most patterns available are from independent designers.  This keeps the prices low while no two patterns are the same.  There’s always something new to help inspire your creativity.

Wrap Up

You can do it!

You can achieve quilting perfection.

All it takes is practice and patience.

A great start can be achieved by completing this free cardinal foundation pattern!

We would love to see your results, good or bad!

Share with up to brag or get feedback, by posting in our Quilting Forum.

Be sure to check out our store often.  We're constantly adding new and free patterns!

Until next time.

Happy quilting,


Color Block Quilts

› Free Cardinal Foundation Pattern

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