Tip Tuesday: Paper Piecing Quilts & Projects – Fons & Porter

Paper piecing quilts, or foundation piecing, is a skill that quilters work hard at! Quilting paper for foundation piecing is essential to completing this technique, but what of all the other tricks of the trade? We asked quilters like yourself to pass along their paper piecing quilting tips. Here’s what they had to say:

Paper Piecing Quilts Tip
My old tracing wheel comes in handy for scoring the lines on paper foundations. Having them scored makes removing the paper quicker and easier.
Fons & Porter tip: flat head pins can be used to easily score your foundation paper!

Paper Piecing Quilts Tip
After I paper piece my blocks, I place a small ruler along the sewing line and, using the back of a seam ripper (the smooth side), score the paper along the seam. The paper tears away easily with very few pieces to pick out.

Paper Piecing Quilts Tip
Dress pattern paper works well for foundation piecing. It’s thinner than other papers, so you must be careful, but the advantage is that it tears away easily when the quilt block is done.

Paper Piecing Quilts Tip
I use plastic folders to make patterns for English Paper Piecing. Instead of making piles of patterns out of card stock, I only need to make a few of these and use them over and over again. Trace the pattern, cut it out, and punch a hole in the center. Then fold the fabric over the plastic template, and take a stitch at each corner. To remove the template, insert an orange stick or small dowel into the hole, and pull up until the plastic piece comes loose.

Paper Piecing Quilts Tip
I use very lightweight sew-in interfacing for foundation piecing so I don’t have to tear out paper. To transfer the pattern, I press interfacing onto freezer paper, and then I copy the pattern onto the interfacing with my inkjet printer.

Paper Piecing Quilts Tip
After searching several stores for the right graph paper, I discovered you can print free graph paper online. Search for graph paper, and you’ll find several sites where you can choose design size, line weight, and other options. You could print shapes for English Paper Piecing on card stock. Problem solved!

If you’d like to try your hand at some paper piecing quilt patterns, the Best of Fons & Porter’s Paper Pieced eBook is a great way to dive right into this technique. With 22 foundation designs, and accompanying Sew Easy lessons for special techniques, you’ll get plenty of practice and have plenty of fun.

For individual projects, Times Square is a great choice for an all-over paper-pieced quilt pattern! If you’re looking for something with a little less commitment, Sophisticated sticks to a paper-pieced quilt border. And, for a small project that is manageable, yet tests your skills, Bygone quilted table runner is the way to go.

Times Square Quilt - Paper Piecing Quilts
Times Square by Diane Tomlinson
Sophisticated - Paper Piecing Quilts
Sophisticated by Patti Carey
Bygone - Paper Piecing Quilts
Bygone by Diane Tomlinson

If you’d prefer to see how the Fons & Porter staff works with this technique, take a look at this quilting video tutorial, Sew Easy: How to use Paper Foundation. Interested in an altogether different technique? Check out the quilting video tutorial, Sew Easy: English Paper Piecing!

The world of piecing is at your fingertips (literally)! Take advantage of these tips and techniques and expand your quilting horizons. I’m looking forward to hearing about your new quilting adventures! Share your experiences with me in the comment section below.

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter


Happy Quilting!
Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

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