Paper Piecing

For a convenient collection of my paper-pieced designs, check out my Craftsy page!

There are MANY methods of foundation paper-piecing quilt blocks.  Here are some details about the way I've come to do it:

1. Print out required number of templates, making sure that you print at 100%.

2. Measure templates using 1-inch scale line to ensure templates are the right size, and cut them out.  Many people use a dedicated rotary blade for cutting paper, as it dulls blades faster than fabric.

 3. Fold templates to crease along each seam line.

4. Measure each section of the template with a clear quilting ruler to determine the size of fabric necessary for each piece. Fabric should overlap at least 3/8 inch on every side (including gray seam allowances) to allow for reliable coverage. Give yourself some room!

5. Select and cut fabrics.

6. Start to piece sections.  Lay fabric for section 1 right side down. Using crease lines, fold template and place face up, on top of the fabric, so that section 1 and 1/4-inch seam allowances are covered by fabric. Pin in place.

7. Fold template down along the seam line between sections 1 and 2.  Place fabric for section 2, right side up, underneath fabric 1.  

Fabric 2 should extend at least 1/4 inch beyond folded seam line, and should be placed so that the folded-over section 2 and seam allowances are completely covered. 

Carefully fold template back flat and pin in place.

8. Using the smallest stitch available on your machine, sew along the seam line between sections 1 and 2, paper facing up.

9. Press fabric from section 2 away from section 1.  Check your work: hold up to the light to ensure that the resulting placement covers section 2, overlapping by at least 1/4 inch on all sides. 

Then, fold paper and fabric back, returning both pieces to where they were before you pressed to check placement, and trim the seam to 1/4 inch, using the crease line as your guide.

10. Press section 2 back into place, and proceed piecing in order of sections. 

Keep in mind that fabric order and placement will be the reverse of what’s on the printed side of the template as you proceed.

(For planning color placement as your block goes on)
11. Once all sections are pieced, trim template pieces along gray seam allowances.  I prefer to leave what will be the outside edges of the block untrimmed until all pieces are joined.

12.  Join templates as directed, matching up according to template corners if left untrimmed, removing paper as late as possible to preserve structure. You could also match up at the center point. 

(Match up by template corner)
13. Once all pieces are joined, remove paper and trim block edges to square up: it's the best part!

I've also put together a general post on a variety of paper-piecing methods and resources from around the web, for more information.  


  1. Your directions were so helpful. I am definitely going to try paper piecing.

  2. Once I figure out the bare bones basics of this, I will definitely refer to your instructions here. Very detailed-nice job!

  3. I have tried paper piecing today. It was a headache! I so want to learn this technique because of all the interesting patterns out there! I wish I had seen your tutorial earlier today! as I probably would have completed my pattern and not given up! I am going to try again tomorrow morning because of your excellent tutorial. Thank you.. will let you know how it goes. :)

  4. What pattern were you using for this tutorial??

    1. I used one that I made myself... in fact, your question makes me wonder where I put that file... :)

  5. Its such a gorgeous star! It makes me want to try paper piecing

  6. Found you via Craftsy. I've done paper piecing in the past but was being instructed at every step. I remember thinking it was a fun method but couldn't remember just how to do it. Thanks for this tutorial and for you patterns! I'd love to make something, maybe start small, using this method, after I finish the amigurumi elephants for the grandkids, the crochet basket for myself, the cross stitch nativity, the tatted bookmarks for friends' birthdays...Yes, I do think I need another hobby. :-)


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