Paper-piecing palooza! Pictorial blocks, precise results (+ sale)

Save 20% on select books this week plus free shipping

Most of the quilters I know fall into two categories when it comes to paper-foundation piecing. They either love it or they don’t. And if they don’t love paper piecing, they’re convinced they never will. Personally, I’ll paper piece whenever it’s going to give me the results I’m looking for.

The great thing about foundation paper piecing is that you can sew a pictorial look without having to do appliqué. And if your “jam” leans to more geometric designs, you’ll get super accurate results that will make you look like a master quilter!

We have fabulous paper-piecing books on sale this week—read all about them below (and get some great tips from our experts, too).


A Quilter's ArkA Quilter’s Ark by Margaret Rolfe

This book is an absolute must have for animal lovers! You’ll find more than 50 blocks that you can mix and match any way you like for the ultimate animal-themed quilt.

TIP ✅ Margaret says: “Use a slightly smaller than usual stitch length—but not so small that you can’t pick the stitches out if necessary.”

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Ark Quilt and Cat and Elephant blocks from
A Quilter’s Ark


Needles and NotionsNeedles and Notions by Jaynette Huff

Do you have sewing buddies? (Of course you do!) These incredibly cute sewing-themed blocks are just what you need to make gifts those buddies will love and cherish. Use just one block to make a fun pincushion or use a combination of blocks for a wall hanging, mug rug, or table runner.

TIP ✅ Jaynette says: “Make sure that the fabric piece you are adding will be large enough to cover the area it’s designed to cover, plus extra for the seam allowance. Simply pin the new fabric along the proposed sewing line and flip the fabric up.”
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Sewing Room Sampler Quilt and Rotary Cutter, Cup and Saucer, Tape Measure, and Scissor blocks from
Needles and Notions


A Paper-Pieced GardenA Paper-Pieced Garden by Maaike Bakker and Françoise Maarse

Many quilters I know are also incredible gardeners. I don’t happen to be one of them—I have the blackest thumb in Washington State! Thankfully, I can create a beautiful garden in fabric (and so can you).

TIP ✅ Maaike and Françoise say: “For very narrow pieces, trim seam allowances to less than ¼". Trim just enough to eliminate extra layers of fabric extending into the next seam.”
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Autumn Dance (from the gallery) and summer and spring versions of the Wreath pattern from
A Paper-Pieced Garden


Kaleidoscope Paper PiecingKaleidoscope Paper Piecing by Nancy Mahoney

One of the joys of quilting is playing with fabric and color placement. The mesmerizing designs in Nancy’s book will provide you with endless possibilities.

TIP ✅ Nancy says: “Color-code or mark your patterns so that you sew the correct fabric to the proper place in your units or blocks. I make an extra copy of the paper foundation, write the color or fabric description on each piece, and place it next to my sewing machine so I can easily see where the different fabrics go as I work.”

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Dutch Treat and Raspberry Truffle from
Kaleidoscope Paper Piecing

If you’re new to paper piecing, pick up Nancy’s newest book, Learn to Paper Piece. And don’t forget the paper!

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Learn to Paper Piece and Papers for Foundation Piecing


How do you feel about foundation paper piecing? Not a fan (yet)? Love, love, love it? Or, ready to use it for the right project? Tell us in the comments.

Save 20% on select books this week plus free shipping

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21 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I love paper piecing. My points always come out perfect!! I have taught several classes to show others just how easy and wonderful it can be.

    —Cindy McVey on June 27, 2016
  • I have done a little paper piecing and always say…..no…never again, but then find that cute pattern that uses it. I know I need to keep trying and get comfortable with this process.

    —Patty on June 27, 2016
  • Although I have sewn for 88 years, I am still not as accurate as I should be when sewing a straight line. Do I love paper piecing? You bet. I love the ease because I can print my patterns, enlarge or make smaller as I wish and the lines are straight. Also the corners match.

    I have a small table on each side of my machine. One is to choose, cut fabric and trim seams. The other is to press. I simply turn from side to side

    I have tried to get my sewing club interested in PP but like you said, they either love it or hate it. I’ve been a puzzle lover all my life. Maybe that has something to do with it.

    —Marion Eggers on June 27, 2016
  • Love, love, love paper piecing. The points are always pointed and not cut off and the sections always go together so nicely. The item always looks so nice. I like to use the lightest weight pellon to work on so I don’t have to tear it off when the project is done.

    —Vickie Keith on June 27, 2016
  • Paper Piecing is harder than it looks. I am not yet a fan.

    —Margaret Dalmer on June 27, 2016
  • I can’t say I love paper piecing but I am glad I know how. There are times that the only way to get a certain block together is to paper piece it. My tip would be that it is going to take a bigger piece of fabric then you think it is.

    —Maureen Klebe on June 27, 2016
  • I do like to paper piece. I first paper pieced years ago when I made small ornaments at Christmas. I still make them–but not frequently.

    —Jean on June 27, 2016
  • I love the look – just not the process! I struggle with getting the right-sized piece in the right place. I know the answer – practice! practice! practice! Patterns would give me that opportunity.

    —JanG on June 27, 2016
  • Love it in small doses. Too many of the same pattern gets boring after a while, but the results you can get from this technique are fantastic!

    —ADKKate on June 27, 2016
  • Love, love, love it. Mainly because I can’t cut or sew evenly enough to get good piecing any other way.

    —Lynne on June 27, 2016
  • Much prefer the work on the top patterns to the stitch and flip patterns, but when you really want great points, it is the only way to go!

    —Dianne David on June 27, 2016
  • I love paper piecing, but I only want to use this method to achieve results that I can’t get with regular piecing; I’m not going to use it for pinwheel blocks for example. I used paper piecing to make the numbers and street address on a nice wall quilt. I also made a copy of Karen Stone’s amazing "Unusual Lone Star" quilt. So, yes, definitely a big fan!

    —Susie on June 27, 2016
  • I have never use paper piecing. I love the way a quilt block and quilt look after it is paper pieced. I would like to be able to use this quilting technique.

    —carol on June 27, 2016
  • I have A quilter’s Ark and Needles and Notions and love both. Ialso have 3 other Paper piecing books and LOVE them. I have used dryer sheets for backing but find tracing paper easiest.

    —ELIZAJANE on June 27, 2016
  • I love paper foundation piecing. I’m OCD about everything being perfect, especially my quilting and this technique helps. It’s kind of addictive. Love your web site.

    Carol Buehler on June 28, 2016
  • I love foundation piecing so long as the instructions are clear. I love the outcome.

    Lyn Kaufmann on June 28, 2016
  • I love to paper piece when I want nice, neat and precise points and angles in my quilts. Takes a little longer but the end result is worth it!

    —Mary Smith on June 28, 2016
  • I love to paper piece using freezer paper as my foundation. When I use the press, fold and sew outside the line method, there is no need to tear the paper. And the accuracy is almost as good as sewing on the line! Tip: fold paper pattern away from next seam line to see the shape that needs to be covered by the next piece of fabric.

    —Linda Towers on July 1, 2016
  • My first "completed real quilt" was a Carol Doak pattern with ducks. Our second grand child was due and her mother chose the pattern & colors. After receiving the quilt makings she asked if I could put chenille somewhere. So each duck had a chenille feather! I sewed the binding on while on the plane. Several quilters were near by and they each took a few stitches on the binding as well. That was almost 15 years ago. I still enjoy paper piecing.

    —Alma Croix on July 1, 2016
  • I LOVE paper piecing. Great way to get sharp, beautiful points on those stars. I took my first class with Carol Doak in 2006. It was great.

    —Lillian K on July 1, 2016
  • Tried it once years ago, had troubles with it. Maybe I will try again, it’s easier for me to learn new techniques now.

    —Judy B on July 8, 2016

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