Want to give foundation paper piecing a try? But you’re not sure what you’ll need to get started? Then this one is for you. Today I’m sharing my favorite tools for paper piecing, some budget options and share my all time favorite tool: birthday cards.

 

Quite a few items on this list would be considered standard quilting tools. So I’ll concentrate on the ones I specifically use for paper piecing. Are you new to paper piecing? Check out my video tutorial on how to do foundation paper piecing (it comes with a cute heart paper piecing block).

Paper templates

The first thing I do before I start cutting my fabrics is cutting paper templates. I know sometimes when foundation paper piecing is thaught you learn to cut a square of fabric that is large enough for the piece you need to sew. No templates needed, easy to cut, quick for sure, but it also means you’re using a lot more fabric than necessary.

So I cut paper templates. It’s a bit more work, but it allows me to fuzzy cut when I want to and to be very efficient with my fabric.

Just print an extra copy of the pattern to cut in pieces. When you’re working with directional fabrics you can even mark your paper templates with lines. Those lines let you know the direction they need to be cut from your fabrics.

Store the paper templates in a zip bag or an envelope so you can reuse them when you want to make a second block or want to remake your projects in the future.

Let’s talk paper

I love to use tea bag paper for paper piecing. It’s thin, it’s strong, it’s see through. I LOVE it. You can even tape it to a piece of printing paper to print a pattern directly on the teabag paper. But are you on a budget? Then there is no need for special paper at all. You can just as well start out with normal printing paper to give paper piecing a try.

Learn more about paper piecing paper in <this video> where I compare five different types of paper.

A second life for postcards

When you’ve cut your paper templates and your fabrics, and you’ve transferred your pattern on to paper piecing paper you’re ready to go. And that’s where my all time favorite tool comes in to play: a postcard or a business card.

“Save your happy birthday cards for paper piecing.”

We all have a few of those lying around right? I use them to fold my paper before cutting my fabric on a 1/4inch seam allowance.

I use a card here because you can lay it on the fold line before you fold the paper. When you fold the paper, you can’t see the fold line anymore, so using a card will help you to place the fold more precise.

Rulers that rule

When you’ve folded back the paper it’s time to cut away excess fabric so there’s a quarter inch seam allowance left. One way to do that is by using an add-a-quarter ruler. It can be placed very easily against the bump that you’ve created by folding the paper over a card. This little yellow ruler is the only tool I really wouldn’t want to miss for paper piecing. I guess that is mostly because I’m doing paper piecing so often. You can definitely use your normal ruler to cut that 1/4″ seam allowance. So it’s not an absolute ‘must have’, but hey neither are wonder clips and magnetic pincushions right? ;)

 

What are your favorite quilting tools? Did you miss anything in my list of favorite things? Would love to read about it in the comments below.

Love,
Irene

 

6 replies
  1. Leslie Schmidt says:

    I agree with you about the Add-a-Quarter ruler. That makes it so much easier to trim the seam allowance. I find if I use my regular ruler it slips on me. I didn’t know about making lines on the paper templates to get the fabric lined up the way I want it. That’s a great tip. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Irene says:

      Yay! So happy that you learned something new. Yes, I’m also soo happy with my little yellow ruler!

      Reply

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