Foundation pieced quilts, sometimes called paper pieced quilts, are made by sewing pieces of fabric onto a temporary or permanent foundation.
Paper Piecing. It’s what I do. I play at crafts and I crochet to relax, but paper piecing is what motivates me, inspires me, and makes me want to keep creating. It’s addicting, frustrating, and incredibly rewarding. I love to design, to piece, and, when I get the opportunity, help others learn, too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Print Waiting for Rain, the pattern used in the video above.
How To Paper Piece
- Learn to Paper Piece with Sweet Skating Sue – written by yours truly! This 23-page tutorial is full of photos and includes the pattern above in one convenient printable PDF.
- Complete How-To Paper Piece Tutorial on Sewhooked for those wanting to paper piece using scissors instead of a rotary cutter.
- A short tutorial on piecing those crazy angles! (Scroll past the free pattern)
- Adding seam allowance to a pattern that doesn’t have it
- Practice Paper Piecing from Quilter’s Cache
- Paper Piecing Tutorial from Such A Sew & Sew
- Christine Thresh’s Paper Piecing Primer
- Paper Panache How To Paper Piece
- Basics on About.com
- Learning to Paper Piece on Artisania
- Sewing More Complex Paper Pieced Patterns on Artisania
- How to Paper Piece video in Italian by Gaya
Removing the paper.
Tools I Love for Paper Piecing (this section includes affiliate links)
- Add-A-Quarter 6″ Ruler – for trimming seams to 1/4″ as you go.
- Add-A-Quarter 12″ Ruler (the 12″ is by far my most used ruler)
- Add-A-Quarter Plus 6″ Ruler – Includes straight edge for folding your pattern (instead of a postcard)
- Add-A-Quarter Plus 12″ Ruler
- Add-An-Eighth 6″ Ruler – for grading seam allowances
- Add-An-Eight Plus 8″ Ruler
- Mary Ellen’s Best Press – use sparingly if the paper is still attached to your block or you will end up with a soggy mess!
- Steamfast Travel IronSteamfast Travel Iron – this is my go-to iron for pressing when I paper piece. Since 2018, I’ve struggled with an RSI, and this tiny lightweight iron has been a huge help!
- Black & Decker Classic Iron – Use without steam to press when piecing. I also like the Hamilton Beach Retro Iron. It’s nice and simple and gets the job done.
Designing Your Own Patterns
- Electric Quilt 8 – (also called EQ8) for-purchase quilt design software, my design software of choice.
- Quilt Assistant – Free Quilt Design Software (please read the user agreement carefully, this software is for sharing free patterns only).
- Inkscape – An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Excellent for designing embroidery designs.
- Inkscape Tutorials
- GIMP – GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. Great for editing.
- LibreOffice – Open Source office software includes Writer, the word processor, Calc, the spreadsheet application, Impress, the presentation engine, Draw, drawing and flowcharting application, Base, database and database frontend, and Math for editing mathematics.
- Thoughts and suggestions on designing with graphics software: Drawing A Patchy Heart from Sewhooked (please note that this is an old tutorial and I no longer design my patterns in Photoshop)
My Original Paper Pieced Patterns
You are welcome to use any pattern or project for personal or charitable use or add links on your own website. If you have any questions, please contact me. ~Jennifer
- My published work (scroll down past Instructor information to see all of my published work)
- Free Quilt Patterns on Sewhooked, includes patterns designed by myself and Guest Designers
- Free Fandom Patterns – my non-Harry Potter patterns that can also be found on Fandom In Stitches
- Free Harry Potter Patterns right here on Sewhooked (also available on FiS)
- The Project of Doom – A Block of the Week Harry Potter Mystery Quilt (also archived here on Sewhooked and here on Fandom In Stitches.
- Fandom In Stitches – a collection of Fandom patterns designed by myself and the FiS Designers
- My Etsy Shop is now closed as I no longer sell patterns. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Paper Piecing Hints
- Use 100% cotton, good quality quilting fabric.
- Use lightweight paper when printing, as it tears off easier. I like recycled printer paper. You can also try products like Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper or Newsprint. I strongly encourage recycling your paper after removing it from your quilt blocks.
- All Sewhooked patterns have a 1/4″ seam allowance. Sizes are noted on each pattern.
- For best printing, set PDF printing to “no scaling”
- A Note to International Visitors – The patterns on Sewhooked are formatted for the standard paper size in the United States. U.S. A4, is 8.5″ x 11″ while the ISO A4 is 210 × 297mm or 8.3″ × 11.7″. You might occasionally find that a pattern designed by a U.S. designer such as myself won’t quite fit on a sheet of paper. There are a couple of options to get around this problem. If your printer format allows it, you may also wish to print the pattern over multiple pages. You can use larger paper, ISO A3, for example. If neither of these is an option for you, use “scale to fit” in your PDF options. Please note that if the pattern size is reduced, you will need to add a small border to the block for it to be the proper finished size.
- My tutorial for Enlarging & Reducing Patterns
- All Sewhooked patterns are mirror images. The image will be correct AFTER you piece it.
- To make sure your blocks align perfectly, find adjacent corners of two pattern pieces, push a pin through the exact corners of each to match the two. Pin or hold the pieces in place for sewing. Check out the tutorials mentioned above for more details.
- Colors used on patterns are just a guide for fabric placement, the selection is up to you. You can always print in grayscale.
- Leave the paper attached to the block until you sew it in its final place, whether it be a quilt, purse, etc. That will keep the bias edges from stretching.
- Accuracy is very important. If you’re new to paper piecing, just take your time and practice, practice, practice!
- Suggested uses… quilts (of course!), handbags, banners, pillows, totes… use your imagination!
(c) respective designers as listed on individual patterns, websites, etc.