Beginner Paper Piecing Tips

Beginner Paper Piecing Tips

Thank you Sam Hunter from Hunter’s design studios, for planning this series of tutorials and tips. There has been some really good reviews on a lot of the tutorials.

Today is my day for some tips on paper piecing for beginners.

A lot of people who think about paper piecing shudder in revulsion or fear. I promise you, paper piecing is not difficult.

There are various skill levels in paper piecing and my tips for today, will be for the very beginner. For those who has never paper pieced before, or is still very new.


The right tools is very important to get a good result with your paper pieced blocks, and will make your life easier.

Here is my favorite tools to use and why they are important.

Self healing cutting mat

Rotary cutter

Quilting rulers


scissors for paper

scissors for fabric


ironing board

add an 1/4 or 1/8 inch ruler

tape or glue

color pencils

card stock or ruler



When choosing a pattern to make, choose wisely. Start with something simple and easy. Something that consists of 1 piece only. Once you are comfortable with easy 1 piece patterns, you can move on to more difficult patterns, that has multiple pieces that needs to be fit together in the right order.

Take the time to learn and practice with an easy pattern, before attempting the advanced ones, otherwise you will just get yourself frustrated and upset.

Here is an example of an easy pattern.



Change your stitch length to 1.5. The shorter stitch length will make it easier when pulling the paper off when you are done.

Cut out you paper template on the dotted line, this is where you will trim your block and includes the seam allowance.

The photo sequence that follows will show you how I sew a simple paper pieced block.

Pin your first piece of fabric to the paper. You need to see the lines on the pattern.

Use your little ruler or a piece of card stock, place it right on the line. And fold the paper over to crease it.

Now using your add an 1/8 or 1/4 inch ruler, make sure that the thick part of the ruler sits snugly against the fold on the paper. Depending on your ruler, it will sit over the edge by a 1/4 or 1/8 an inch. This will be your seam allowance. Holding your ruler firmly and keeping your fingers safely out of harms way. Cut the excess fabric off with your rotary blade. If you do not have one of these rulers, you can use your normal quilting ruler, just make sure that the edge of the ruler sticks over the edge of the paper fold.

Place your next piece of fabric underneath the first piece, make sure you line up the two edges of fabric to line up.

Keeping everything in place, fold open your paper, so that you can see the line you will be sewing on. And place your foot and needle, so that you can clearly see the line.

First line done.

It looks like this on the back.

Turn over and fold the second piece of fabric over.

You can either finger press the fabric or press it down. I like to press it with the iron, as it gives a nice crisp look.

Fold over the paper and trim the excess. See when you fold the paper open again, that the edge of the fabric sticks out past the line.

Carry on sewing more lines of fabric in exactly the same way.

But here is a big tip. Look and make sure that the strip you are using is wide enough. See the mistake I made here. I forgot to check, and when I folded the paper over, I saw that I was short by a 1/4 inch.

Meet Bruce the Unpicker.

Ok, checking if it is wide enough. Yep.

Once all the pieces have been sewn, your block will look like this.

Place your ruler on the edge of the paper and trim all the excess of. So that your block looks nice and neat.



Taking the paper off.

I hope this tutorial has helped you, in the journey into paper piecing.


I hope you follow the rest of the hop as there’s some fantastic content coming your way! BTW, the contributors are from all over the world, so please be patient is everything is not posted at bright and early in your exact timezone! 

Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt –

Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting –

Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling –

Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine –

Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates –

Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching –

Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo –

Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique –

Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around –

Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines –

Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips –

Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children –

Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution –

Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric –

Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam –

Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread –

Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www.

Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) –

Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) –

Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! –

Day 21 – September 4 – Robin Koehler: Tips on how to travel with handwork –

Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs –

Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room –

Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine –

Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch –

Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding –

Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro –

Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips (YOU ARE HERE) –

Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips –

Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them –

Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué –

Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting –



Vanda Chittenden



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