The Best Paper for Foundation Paper Piecing

Foundation Paper Piecing is my favorite quilting technique. And as the name says, paper is one of the main foundation piecing supplies. Foundation paper piecing is used to create very accurate stitches and lines on a design, and I love accuracy, I’m a Virgo after all.

But for me, it is also a great method to sew a stunning quilt block in a fairly short amount of time. You get amazing results without having to sew up an entire quilt. Whether you want to make some last minute gifts, some remarkable pillowcase or table runner for your home, this quilting technique is fun and easy.

If you’re new to this technique it can feel daunting, but don’t despair, I wrote a great tutorial on how to master paper piecing in no time. When I first tried paper piecing, I did not know a thing, and I mean really NOT a thing. I had an older quilting book, and decided to make one of the quilt blocks.
I hadn’t heard about foundation paper piecing before nor what it was about, or what supplies are needed. The pattern asked for paper, but did not specify what kind of paper, so I just used whatever paper I had at hand.

As I worked my way through the FPP world I have worked with all sorts of papers and here’s what I think: Your choice of paper for foundation paper piecing depends on:
a) cost
b) scale of your project
c) ease of use
d) whether you like to work with a fabric glue pen or not. I also talk about paper for foundation piecing in my new book ‘Adorable Animal Quilting’.

So, what’s what best paper to use for foundation paper piecing? We are about to dig in.

Regular Printer Paper is Usually Best

printer paper is best for foundation paper piecing

At the moment, regular printer paper is my choice of paper. It’s easy to use and cost effective; this is especially important since I am doing A LOT OF paper piecing. I can print any pattern right from my computer and it is still thin enough to not be a headache when removing.

Tips for using regular printer paper:

> use regular printing paper in combination with a fabric glue pen. A fabric glue pen will be your life saver and you will never want to work without one again.
> after you have joined two segments, remove the paper only from the seam allowance before pressing, that way you get nice flat seams (use a Tailor’s clapper for extra flat seams)

Freezer Paper

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I get this question a lot; can we use freezer paper for foundation paper piecing? Freezer paper works great with foundation piecing. It is easy, because you can just iron the fabric onto the paper and nothing slides off or moves, and obviously you don’t need a fabric glue pen.
It can become costly when you paper piece a lot.
However, it’s a little bit thicker than regular printing paper and can get pretty bulky, especially when small pieces are involved. Because of its thickness, it’s not as easy to remove afterward.

Tips for the use of freezer paper

> use freezer paper for blocks with large fabric areas, the possibility of ironing on the fabric is absolutely wonderful for bigger fabric pieces.
> again, definitely remove the paper from the seam allowance after joining two segments
before pressing the segments. This assures that you get flat seams.
(use a Tailor’s clapper for extra flat seams)

Foundation paper

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It’s wonderfully thin and perfect for tracing. It can also be used in your printer.
Another advantage is, that it’s very easy to remove when finished.
However, it can become quite costly if you do a lot of paper piecing.
And  it tends to curl if ironed on.

Tips for the use of foundation paper

> use it for blocks with tiny pieces in combination with a fabric glue pen. I personally like a little more structure and firmness in my blocks when sewing them, but if you prefer softness, this is the paper for you.
> do not iron too much as it tends to curl up with heat, just very quickly and then use a Tailor’s clapper or another heavy object to flatten the seams.

It’s probably best to experiment with different papers, to find out which ones you like best, so what better way to do this, than with a free foundation paper piecing pattern.
Happy testing ! Let me know what you think.

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