What is Paper Piecing?


Paper Piecing is a technique that allows the quilter to sew natural forms with a high level of precision. The paper is used as a medium to trace the patterns or templates on both side of the paper. The fabric is placed on the right side of the paper and the sewing is done on the wrong side of the paper where the lines are clearly identified in alpha-numerical sequences.


This technique is almost as simple as painting by numbers. It’s a matter of placing the right colour of fabric on the right number identified on the paper. The only difference is that you have to follow the alpha-numerical sequences. You can’t sew the piece of fabric A3 before you’ve sewn the pieces A1 and A2.


This technique offers an infinite range of possibilities and allow the designer and the quilter to create and work on the most innovative patterns. When squares, triangles and rectangles no longer offers any challenges and fun, Paper Piecing will give you an opportunity to create pieces that are only limited by your imagination. Curves are not only possible, they create movement and flow in your project.

 1. Materials and tools  - 2. Type of paper  - 3. Definitions 

 4. Comfort level - 5. Words of wisdom 

1. Materials and tools

  • Tracing table

  • Sewing machine

  • Iron and ironing board

  • Loose leaf paper

  • Ruler  1’’ x 12’’ Omnigrid

  • Threads and needles

  • Measuring tape

  • Seam riper

  • Scissors for paper 

  • Scissors for fabric 

  • Red and blue pens

  • Fabric

  • Mosquito Hemostatic Forceps. If you have a nurse as a friend she knows what those are.They are the best tool to grab little piece of paper stuck in the corners.

2. Types of papers

You can use all kinds of papers. It must be thin and of lesser quality. A bad quality product is best. It tears easily without pulling the seams. Loose leaf paper sold in any retail stores are cheaf and ideal. You can photocopy them. By printing the templates on loose leaf paper, all you have left to do is trace the wrong side in red. It reduces the amount of work by half.


There are many types of papers and products on the market :Interfacing non-sticky and light can easily be torn. Average cost for small projects but high costs for bigger projects.


Specialised paper sold to quilters for Paper Piecing are very expensive and are sold as a roll. Not very convenient. The problem with this type of paper is the same with regards to wax paper ou parchment paper, it can’t stay flat and always curls. Very annoying to work with and it can't be photocopied.



3. Definitions

4. Comfort zone!

Beginners or simply uncomfortable ?

You have never done this technique and you feel out of your comfort zone?


From a neurologic stand point, you are increasing your capacity to create new synapse connexions. That’s what is called neuroplasticity.


Neuroplasticity or cerebral plasticity are terms describing the mechanism by which the brain is capable to modify an experience. (Wikipedia). 


In short, the Paper Piecing Technique is a tool to keep your mind sharp as well and an alert intellect. It’s a brain gym and it keeps your mental and emotional brain in check.


5. Words of wisdom

Take your time. One step at the time. Do not look at the whole project. Just look at one group then a section then a block.


Be patient with yourself. When you are tired, STOP. When you pick it up later it will feel easier.


For large projects in which there are lots of templates to trace, use your friends and family. Make them participate in your projects. Give them credit for part of the work. They will feel that they too have done something creative. It’s good for the soul.


Follow the instructions and learn the Paper Piecing language in the document ‘’Definitions’’. 


Look at my videos on youtube. I explain all my tips and tricks to help you. 


Have fun and reap the Wow’s! And the AAH’s! Bathe in this deep feeling of satisfaction and recognition you get from your fans. And benefit from feeling of well being created from the endorphins.


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