Paper Piecing Tutorial

Paper Piecing Tutorial

Today, we are going to walk through paper piecing. Paper piecing can be a challenging technique to master. In reality, the possibilities are limitless if you grasp this concept. When it comes to printing and sewing, there is no limit to what you may create. Paper piecing patterns include a wide range of subjects.

What Is Paper Piecing?

The definition of paper piecing is the sewing together of pieces of paper with fabric, which once stitched together, creates a collage. The technique allows you to sew more than one shape onto one piece, and then sew the pieces together. It is a time-consuming technique but well worth the time invested.

The idea of paper piecing is to join the strips together by working through the layers, rather than sewing the strips end-to-end.

It may take a bit of time to get used to working with multiple layers, but once you get the hang of it, creating your own quilt designs can be a wonderful experience. When you work with multiple layers there is no confusing seam lines. You can make just about any quilt design with paper piecing.

Why I Like Paper Piecing

I became fascinated with paper piecing once I learned that the quilts I wanted to make could be done without a sewing machine. When I began my daughter’s quilt more than a decade ago, I had never owned one. At first, it was difficult for me to work with the layers. However, by following the tutorial videos on YouTube and reading up on the technique here at Craftsy, my skills have advanced considerably.

I am a visual learner and love videos. I highly recommend you take the time to watch some of these tutorial videos and try paper piecing yourself (see links in the sidebar), so you will have confidence that you have mastered this technique before you jump into it on your project.

Why Choose Paper Piecing?

Making quilts without a sewing machine is a fun way to get back to basics and connect with your heritage. It’s also a great way to save money and use scraps. You won’t need to purchase a lot of fabric to make paper-pieced quilts.

You can save your old t-shirts, worn out jeans and other fabric scraps for making your projects. You can choose any type of fabrics you likeā€¦and never feel guilty about the cost or quality. You can even use material that you have saved or purchased from clothing or thrift stores.

The potential for creativity is amazing when working with paper piecing. It’s a great skill to have in your repertoire if you choose to make custom quilts for yourself and family members.

Tips For Paper Piecing Successful Quilting:

Refer to the tutorial videos on YouTube that teach paper piecing. It’s the best way to learn this technique. Make sure your tools are sharp, tools need sharpening and that you practice on scrap fabric before you begin your project.

What You Will Need

Chances are you have everything you need in your home. Your paper piecing toolkit will include the following items.

Your sewing machine. You’ll need that for a start. There is a ton of time saved by not having to hand stitch each square together.

A pair of sharp scissors. These are necessary for cutting the fabric strips and paper templates. You will also need to cut the backing fabric. This can be done on a rotary cutter or a paper cutter. I think it’s easier to use a rotary cutter. You can find these tools at any sewing machine shop.

A cutting mat. A paper cutting mat can work just as fine as a rotary cutter or paper cutter, so this isn’t a requirement. You want to be sure you have something that will keep your quilt pieces from slipping off onto the floor or table when you are working on them. Since that is likely what will happen, I recommend buying a paper cutting mat. You can read more about paper cutting mats and their benefits here.

A carpet runner to work on. A carpet runner will slide your quilt pieces over so you can start at one end of the quilt and go all the way through to the other end. A carpet runner is also helpful when you step on a cut piece. This can happen when you have a lot of layers in your quilt, preventing you from seeing where your pieces are in relation to each other.

A cutting board will also work. I have read of people using a cutting board, so this is an option as well.

Any type of paper to make the paper templates for your quilt. The most common paper used for this purpose is printer paper. However, you may use any type of paper that you have on hand or prefer to work with including card stock or sketch paper, just to name a few alternatives.

Paper Piecing Tutorial

Now that you have your tools gathered, let’s get started with the tutorial. I am going to show how to make a cat in a pumpkin using paper piecing. This is the one I made for my daughter when she was younger, and I still have it hanging on my living room wall.

Watch The Video Tutorial:


I hope you’ve learned a lot from this tutorial. You’ll be ready to begin your own paper piecing projects in no time.

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