Paper Piecing Tutorial and Video

Paper piecing allows you to get close to perfect quilt blocks.  It is a process that allows you to join multiple pieces, weird shapes, small pieces and perfect points.

It’s kind of like sewing by numbers all most.  Just follow the numbers (they tell you the order to place the fabric) and you’ll be good to go.

It’s a little backwards thinking, but once you kind of get the process- it’s great!

Supplies: 

copy paper– this is really what I’ve used all the time. I know you can get thinner paper, but I find that copy paper works just fine

thread- coats n clark has a wonderful fine thread

fabric for the parts of the pattern

*hints:  the pattern does not include the 1/4″ seams. Make sure you don’t trim things before checking!

  • set your stitch to a smaller stitch.  It will perforate the paper and allow it to come out easily when you are finished.  It does make it a little hard if you are needing to use your seam ripper though.

Paper Piecing Tutorial:


This tutorial uses a pattern you can download for free here.

Mug Rug tutorial - learn paper piecing technique | patchwork posse #quilting #tutorial

After you have cut out your template, lay the chosen fabric for the mushroom stem on the bottom of the pattern.  Notice that the right side is facing away from the paper.  I have pinned this piece– it always shifts when you turn it to sew…so pin it!  {a flat pin will work the best}

You will need to make sure that your piece is at least 1/4″ larger than the template it is for….remember, the seam allowance is not given.  The lines that you see on the template are your SEWING LINES!!  So, you will need your fabric to go past this 1/4″ so you won’t get holes in your mushrooms later.

Mug Rug tutorial - learn paper piecing technique | patchwork posse #quilting #tutorial

With the paper on the bottom and the fabric on the top, fold back one edge until you line up the black line with the edge- Use your wooden pressure here to get a good crease.

Open the paper and fabric up- you will notice that there is a crease in the fabric.  If you can’t see it well enough, refold and repress with the wooden pressure.

Place your next piece right side down on top…..let this piece go past the crease 1/4″ for your seam allowance.

Pinch with your fingers or pin in place, then turn so the paper is now on top– showing your sewing lines.

Sew on the lines with your sewing machine.  * backstitch at both ends- this will help the seam stay when you are removing the paper later.

Mug Rug tutorial - learn paper piecing technique | patchwork posse #quilting #tutorial

Open up the fabric that you have just sewn and using your wooden iron, give it a good press.

Fold back the fabric and the paper {you don’t want to cut it!} and trim any extra fabric that is past the seam.  If you don’t, it will make the block bulky and if there is a lighter color on top the other seam will show through!

Repeat the same process with the other side.

Repeat the same process with the top of the mushroom.  It really is like sewing by number. lol  Make sure you use your wooden iron with each step and it will keep your seams nice and no puckers in the folds!

Place the block right sides facing down, paper on top.  Trim your block using the paper as a guide.  Cut 1/4″ past the outside edge {remember this is your seam allowance!}

After you have all your pieces, you’ll be leaving the paper in the quilt block until it’s totally assembled.  It does get a little much if there are a lot of pieces in the pattern – but you’ll be removing the paper once it’s all put together.  Until then, leave the paper.

My favorite paper piecing thread: Coats n Clark

Quick Summary — Coats & Clark Paper Piecing Thread~

  • How to use: Thread it through your machine.  Make sure you adjust your stitch length to a 2.0 or smaller, so the paper is easier to remove.  I used it in both the top thread and the spool thread.  Sometimes if I don’t, the sewing machine has a fuss and things get all crazy.  Plus, if one is thin and the other is not, it kind of defeats the whole purpose of sewing with it in the first place.
  • What color of spool is it? Coats & Clark color code their spools- the paper piecing thread is light purple.
  • Description: Explore paper piecing technique to make unique quilt blocks with the Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP Paper Piecing Thread 225 Yds. Made of 100% polyester, this paper piecing thread is very fine and offers durability to your quilting projects.
  • Where to get it? Amazon or a local sewing machine shop.  Comes in a 6 Pack
  • Why use it?  It prevents bulking on the seams and allows paper to be cut easily without distortion.
  • A few more notes:  I also have used this hand stitching when sewing hexagons together.  Because the thread is thin, it nestles right in and makes the tacking and stitching super nice.  Plus, with the color assortment, you can find what you need when sewing with hexagons.
  • Read More: How to Paper Piece Tutorial
  • Projects: Mushroom Mug Rug – Paper pieced

What kind of hints do you have for paper piecing? 

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