Paper-Piecing Demonstration


Method demonstrated by Judy Smith on 3/9/2013

Beth Staples' Square-in-a-Square miniature

Beth Staples’ Square-in-a-Square miniature

Before we give the directions for paper piecing, let’s mention some things to consider about the paper, thread, needles and stitch length you can use for paper piecing.

Comments about Paper

  1. Sample Patchwork Place
  2. Carol Doak Paper
  3. Freezer Paper
  4. Fons & Porter, Lover of Quilting, March/April 2013, page 9 – Hint: Fuse a lightweight sew-in interfacing and leave in. To copy onto it press to freezer paper. Remove freezer paper and use the pattern.
  5. Copy paper.

The best selection is whatever works best for you.

Comments about Thread

  1. For light multi-color fabrics – light gray
  2. For dark multi-color fabrics – dark gray
  3. Match color of fabric
  4. Use white for white fabric
  5. Use off-white/ecru for off-white/ecru fabric

Comments about Needle Size and Stitch Length

  1. The choice is yours – Judy uses a jeans needle which produces a larger whole making paper removal easier.
  2. Needle position – center.
  3. Presser foot – open toe/applique foot.
  4. Can make smaller stitch length – some say this helps with the release of the paper. Judy prefers a 2.5 regular stitch length – in case she has to unsew.

    NOTE: smaller stitch length may be necessary when working on a miniature, even if you have to frog-stitch, rip-it, rip-it.


  1. Rough cut fabric pieces.
  2. Center fabric #1 on the BACK of pattern RIGHT SIDE UP over piece #1 and at least 1/4” beyond all around.
  3. Fold pattern and fabric #1 between pattern piece #1 and #2. Finger press. This will be your first stitching line.
  4. Take fabric #2 and lay over crease allowing a generous seam allowance with fabric #1 and #2 RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
  5. Fold again in same crease – finger press.
  6. While holding in place, check to see if fabric #2 covers pattern piece #2 PLUS seam allowances. Adjust if necessary.
  7. Hold carefully in place. Place under presser foot of sewing machine and stitch 3 to 4 stitches before line begins, on the line and 3 to 4 stitches after it ends.
  8. Fold back pattern piece #2 OVER piece #1.
  9. Gently tug at pattern and finger press.
  10. Align ruler with edge of crease and cut a ¼” seam allowance.
  11. Open pattern and press #2 fabric open over the #2 pattern piece.
  12. Follow same procedure and add fabric #3 to #1 and #2. Continue same process in numerical order.

Fudge Factors

  1. If you wander off the line a bit, don’t worry. It is only necessary to be exact at the beginning and end of the line. If it wanders into the seam allowance, you can stitch on the line without removing the previous stitches.
  2. Repair torn foundation paper with a bit of transparent tape.
  3. Don’t worry if your points don’t match. Mismatched points may be colored with permanent markers such as sharpies or Pigma pens.
  4. A problem often encountered is having a piece of fabric that, when flipped doesn’t cover the intended spot. Instead of removing the piece, simply add another piece of fabric to cover the area by adding your own stitching line.
  5. Always cut strips from your fabric when cutting multiple small pieces. Then cut the pieces from the strip. This keeps your fabric from looking like a piece of Swiss cheese.

NOTE: Some fudge factors may not apply when working with miniature blocks since mistakes are magnified on small quilts.

Special thanks to Judy Smith for sharing her notes with us and for the wonderful demonstration she gave at the March meeting.


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Meeting coming up April 13th! | Friendship Quilters of Alabama

  2. Pingback: English Paper Piecing with Kids | Diannajessie

  3. I think you both have done an excellent job on explaining how to do this procedure. I foundation piece a lot and you still pick up little nuggets of information! It was good that we could dive in and try it with the printouts she gave us, minus the machine. THX!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s