paper piecing


by Karen on July 9, 2011

in paper piecing

To me one of the things about quilting is sharing information! As we all know prices are going up on everything – just plain everything from pins and needles and other notions to fabric and beyond.  I would not think that paper could be so much different in price though.  But it is!!

The other day on my yahoo group for the Farmer’s Wife some were talking of how they are paper piecing some or most of their blocks and that got me to thinking about paper Smile yes paper.  For paper piecing if you are printing your patterns out from a printer you need a clear sheet of paper.  Some people use regular copy paper for this.  To me – my opinion – I want something a little lighter than copy paper.

Some years back I came across some paper that Carol Doak sells – she is a queen of paper piecing so I thought I had to have it – it must be good.  Now if you only buy from quilt shops and on line quilt shops and do not shop for bargains don’t bother to read the rest of what I say – and this is nothing against Carol or any other well known quilter who is making some money off of the rest of us quilters who buy their stuff!!  We buy it and pay the prices because we just have to have it, right?

But if you want to save some money on paper piecingread this! Smile

Paper piecing paper is Newsprint paper – the light slightly recycled look of paper – not white.  Did you know that newsprint is what some children’s scribble tablets are made from?  I did some comparison shopping – I was out shopping anyway so this did no hardship in time or gas money for me.


Carol Doak – 100 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper – a big whopping $9.95 plus shipping and handling if you order on line.  I am using Carol as an example – I don’t have a clue who else sells under their name.

Wal-Mart – a 60 sheet tablet of 9 x 12 inch paper – $1.88

Hobby Lobby – a 100 sheet table 9 x 12 inch paper – after using my 40% off coupon $1.79

The tablets – the doodle pad on the left is Wal-Mart (in the school supply area) the one on the right is Hobby Lobby (comes in various sizes in the drawing section area)


What I did – my start time:


gently tear all of the sheets out of the tablets – you can do this using about 20 sheets at a time if you want.  Using you rotary blade – my blade needs changing so I used it – you might want to not use your sharp blade but use one of your old ones.  I cut the paper to 8 1/2 x 11 inches to fit the printer. I was able to cut through 20 to 30 sheets at a time easily.


My stacks of cut down to size paper – Wal-Mart, Carol’s (didn’t need cutting) and Hobby Lobby.


Finished time – took me 9 minutes – included pulling the paper out of the tablets, cutting and photos.


I got 160 sheets of the same kind of paper, minus the brand name and saved money – my total –$3.76 the same amount with brand name would cost me $15.92 (the only plus is that I wouldn’t need to take several minutes to cut it down to size).  That might not be a big deal – but hey that could buy a yard of fabric – and it gave me a blog post Smile  I’m sure some of you can find even better prices and offers.  I do not do a whole lot of paper piecing but I like to have some on hand for when I do – well I now have enough to last me a very long time LOL

Have a good weekend everyone!


After I starting making another pineapple block I thought I would take photo’s along the way so you can see how you do it.  Or should I say how I do it?   I have never taken a class but I was shown how to do it by another quilter.

this is the point I was at when I started to take photos

this is with the pieces building as a building block- going round and round

select a piece of fabric, make sure it is the correct size, you can hold it up to a light and see if it is long enough and wide enough to cover the area needed.

from the front put in a pin to hold it in place if you wish - you do not need a pin if you feel comfortable without one

sew directly on the line, using a very small stitch - smaller the stitch the better for when you need to tear all of this paper off

flip it back over and see where you stitched. Now flip it back to the sewing side, fold your paper back and trim your seam. This can be 1/8th of an inch or a 1/4 - your choice, when using such small pieces I eyeball it at about 1/8th

then I press it down

then fold back each side one at a time and trim - again I do this to 1/8" when using tiny pieces but a 1/4" works well on larger blocks to do this you just fold your paper back to the size of seam you want and cut next to the paper - use a ruler to cover the paper if you think you might cut into the paper by accident. If the cut off access is still big enough to use in another block I save it - it gets tossed back to the scraps as this one did. The yellow ruler on my table is a add a quarter inch ruler that is used for paper piecing.

keep building around the block - follow the numbers. On this piece I want to show you what happens if you haven't looked at a piece close enough. On this blue piece in the little corner there is a piece of salvage showing - in this case it will be alright it will be covered by the next seam. But that is what you need to look for when you are selecting your next piece and to make sure it is big enough.

The next piece - white corner - covers that little bit of salvage and no need to pick out a piece to replace. But if the salvage edge had been a little larger I would have had to pick that piece out.

Final step is to trim all the way around the block leaving a quarter inch seam. Leave the paper on the block and you will eventually join all blocks together and tear the paper off when the top is finished. A pain in the you know what and it might take you a couple days to do it depending on the size of your quilt. This is a good way though to use up tiny scraps and the fabric will hold it's shape and not stretch out. This block measures 6 1/2 inches.

my workspace when paper piecing. I have my small portable table set up with little iron mat/cutting mat, travel size iron, rotary cutter ect. The taller cutting table has my scraps dumped on to it, and then the sew ezi table. Small area but all I have to do is rotate the chair and everything is right there. Everything is within reach. Normally for more exercise I iron in the living room, but when using these little pieces I would be popping up and down so often that I took the easier way out and have it set next to me.