Paper Piecing

The Add-A-Quarter™ is an extremely versatile tool which simplifies paper piecing and helps save you time. To help demonstrate just how effective this product is, we've created several tutorials for you to follow. Each one is written by the tool's creator and should help you maximize your quilting experience.

Why Paper Piece?

Paper piecing is great for beginners as well as experienced quilters. One can make a wonderful quilt on their very first try since complicated patterns are broken down into easily managed steps. Sewing the fabric to paper makes matching points relatively easy and the paper stabilizes the fabric; that is especially important when using flannel.

Before you Start to Sew

Make copies of the patterns that you are going to use. Make all of your copies from the same original and use the same copy machine. All copy machines distort to some extent so check your patterns by holding the original and the copy together with a light source behind the two sheets of paper. Make as many copies as necessary. It’s nice to have a few extras in case you make an error. Use the lightest weight paper you can find. The heavier the paper the more difficult it is to remove.

After making all your copies, trim each pattern leaving 1/8" to ¼" on all sides. Do not trim on the line.

Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to 18-20 stitches per inch. On some machines that will be a 1½. The smaller stitches make it easier to rip off the paper.

Place a piece of muslin or scrap fabric on your ironing board. When you press the pieces, the ink from the copies may transfer onto your ironing board cover.

It is helpful to have something white to place your pattern face down on. It could be a white sewing table or just a piece of white paper. Placing your pattern on something white allows the lines to show through, making it easier to place your first fabric.

A Few Suggestions

If you must remove your stitches and the paper foundation separates on the sewing line, use a piece of clear tape to repair the pattern.

Sometimes you will notice the stitches from the previously sewn fabric when you fold back the foundation. If this happens, just pull the foundation away from the fabric and trim using the ruler.

After you have sewn two units together and pressed, remove the paper from the back side of the seam allowance. This will reduce some of the bulk.

To help speed up your paper piecing, place all of your position 1 pieces on multiple units at the same time. Trim and sew multiple units at the same time. Some pieces you may even chain piece.

By placing your pattern face down on a white piece of paper, you will be able to see the outline of the design for placement of your first piece.

Pressing suggestions

Pressing is an important part of paper piecing and done correctly will help to insure a more satisfactory quilt. Here are some suggestions to follow:

  • Use hot dry iron. Steam will make the paper curl.
  • Place a piece of muslin on your ironing board to protect it from ink that may come off when pressing.
  • Always press with the paper side down on your ironing board. If you press on the paper side ink will be transferred to the iron and then onto your fabric leaving black smudges.
  • The traditional way to press is always to the dark side. With paper piecing you will not be able to always follow this rule. I always press the seams to one side. Pressing this way adds strength to your quilt and helps to distribute the bulk. This is very important especially when working with flannel.

Keep this rule in mind when you are sewing units together. By creating this opposing seam it will be easier to match your points or corners and distribute the bulk of the fabric at the same time.

Download Tutorials

We've provided the following items in PDF format for easy printing.