The free paper piecing patterns in our library are available for you to download right to your home computer and printer. All include at least some paper piecing, if not all.
The blocks are listed by their most common name in alphabetical order.
Click on the image (found in the Library below) of the block you want.
Most of our free paper piecing patterns have full-fledged, step-by-step, illustrated instructions. On those pages, look for either the 'Downloads' section or in the Cutting Chart. There you'll find the links to the free downloadable pattern(s) to print.
Some of the images below will lead directly to the PDF pattern page.
To download any of our free paper piecing patterns, YOU MUST HAVE ADOBE READER installed on your computer. You can get Adobe Reader here if you don't already have it.
What's so special about ADOBE?
It's simple. My patterns have dashed placement guides to make the positioning of the first patch virtually foolproof. With Adobe, they show exactly as intended—a dashed line. In other programs it renders as a solid line which can make the pattern confusing for the beginning quilter.
In order to print, open the downloaded file, and select the "Print" option.
To print blocks at the correct size, under 'Page Sizing and
Handling' in the Adobe print menu, set 'Custom Scale' to 100%. Click here to see what it looks like on the Print Menu page.
If you use something other than Adobe, you'll need to set 'Page Scaling' to 'None' to print at '100%'. Printing at 'Actual Size' tends to print blocks at weird sizes.
Once you've printed your pattern, use the information on the printed page to measure your block to confirm that it printed at the correct size. Many pages include a 1" square graphic to help you make this determination.
If there's a free paper piecing pattern anywhere on this site, you'll find a live link to it below.
All the free paper piecing patterns on this website are for your personal use only. Blocks are listed with their finished size(s).
If you are a member of a guild and would like to include directions for some of our free paper piecing patterns in your newsletter, please get in touch with me via a Contact form. Be sure to include the pattern name and your email.
Brand new to paper piecing? Then check out our Foundation Paper Piecing Instructions. This section takes you through the process of paper piecing a block using a 3" finished 8-pointed star.
If you've been paper piecing for awhile, check out our Construction Tips below. I think you'll find the Best Pressing Technique especially helpful!
These tips will help ensure your successful stitching of these free paper piecing patterns.
There is no special rule for fabric preparation for paper piecing—other than press your fabric first—and that's pretty standard.
If you prewash (I do!—to learn why click here), then prewash. If you don't, then don't.
Personally, though, I find that a heavily starched fabric is much easier to finger press and that the press 'holds' much better. Because the fabric is stiff, there is less tendency for the patch to fold back on itself when it is stitched to the foundation--that means less ripping.
A mix of 50% StaFlo liquid fabric starch to 50% water works beautifully. (I am able to reliably find it at WalMart these days.)
I like to leave the paper on until the piecing is complete. For the majority of the patterns on this page, that is my best advice.
However, when you work on more complicated paper piecing patterns, like English Roses, I can't always wait, and do start removing the paper early from the centers.
The starch helps hold and stabilize any bias edges.
Just remember, that if you choose to use starch, you will need to wash your finished quilt at the end to remove it.
Click here to learn more about starching your fabric.
For trouble-free stitching:
Set your stitch length to 1.5 or 15-18 stitches per inch. This helps perforate the paper and make it easier to remove.
Increase your needle tension just a wee bit (0.1 to 0.2 and then test it). This helps fortify your stitches when you remove the paper.
Consider using a 90/14 needle. Many quilters recommend this.
Personally, I rarely use the bigger needle. I find that when I use Carol Doak's Foundation Paper (it is about the same weight as newsprint) that the smaller stitch length and my regular 80/12 needle works just fine. If you are using a thicker paper, definitely move to the larger needle size. What works best for YOU is what is important!
And start a new project with a new needle. Needles are the cheapest part of your sewing machine, but can be the cause of so many problems.
If you have an open toe applique foot, install it. It provides an unobstructed view of your needle so that you can easily hit the stitching line.
And finally, if you can, slow down your sewing machine speed. The line is there to be stitched on, but if you are regularly missing the line, you're probably sewing too fast. It's much faster to sew slower and not have to rip out patches.
When stitching on the line to add patches, you must start about a 1/4" before the line starts and end about 1/4" after the line ends.
There is no need to use a 'fix stitch' or backstitch. The next line of stitches secures these stitches. But if there is nothing to 'catch' the seams will eventually pull apart.
Click here for the step-by-step instructions to insure that your points match perfectly.
If your paper pieced block is made from several units, seam allowances can be pressed either open or to one side.
If the seam line is particularly 'lumpy' like in this Sunflowers quilt (and you WILL know it when you see it), it is helpful to trim the seam allowance of the finished unit or section to 1/2". (It makes the pressing SO MUCH easier!)
Then join the units together to make a section or block. Press the seam allowance in the closed position to set the seam. Then press it open. And finally, trim the seam allowances down to closer to 1/4".
If you've heavily starched your quilt fabric, you'll find that most seams can be finger-pressed—reducing the number of times you must get up to go to the iron.
Finger-pressing a patch open before pressing with an iron also helps to minimize tucks.
Just like regular patchwork, press the seam flat to set it and then open.
Check out our Best Technique for Pressing Quilt Blocks to ensure a really flat block. (Pay special attention in Steps 3&4.) Then once the block is cool, trim the seam allowances to 1/4". You'll have a beautifully flat unit.
I use this technique for all my paper piecing and it has made a HUGE difference in the flatness of the final block.
Looking for more blocks to make...even if they're not paper pieced?
...to find all sorts of traditionally pieced ones, too!
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