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What paper should I use for paperpiecing?

Carrie Anne asks...

Can you use ordinary copy stock paper to print out patterns for piecing on sewing machine?

Julie replies...

Hi Carrie Anne!

The short answer is 'Yes, you can!'. I've used the same paper that I use in my home printer without any problems.

Nonetheless, I prefer to use a paper made specifically for paper piecing. My two favorites are:
These are both links to my affiliate partners so that you can learn more about them and see current pricing.

These are the reasons why...

If you're paper piecing, that means you've accepted the fact you're going to have to remove the paper. If you're making a block with larger and or fewer pieces, the thicker computer paper just isn't an issue.

Notwithstanding, if you're going to be piecing a block that's got lots of small pieces or really sharp angles, in my humble opinion, anything that makes removing the foundation easier is what I'm going to do. (Time is usually a quilter's most precious resource.)

Each of the foundations I mentioned above foot the bill.

The newsprint they're both printed on is a much softer, much more fragile paper...strong enough to print and sew on, but weaker went it comes to ripping it for removal. (If I accidentally tear my pattern during construction, I tape it back together using Scotch Brand's Magic Tape—just don't iron it because it'll melt.)


Yep! In my humble opinion, it sure is.

One thing I do to maximize my use is to print my paperpieced patterns without the outside seam allowance when it's for my own personal use.

If you've looked at any of my paperpiecing tutorials on the website, all the blocks are trimmed in the last step, so having an actual dashed line serves as nothing more than a reminder. Does that make sense?

All the patterns on the website DO INCLUDE this outside seam allowance, because there are beginners using these patterns. I do not want to confuse them.

NOTE: I use Electric Quilt 7 to create all the paperpieced patterns on the website.

Alternatives to quilting-specific supplies

We all know that once something gets labelled 'For Quilters', it's like a kiss of death. The price always goes up.

That sucks!

Look for the cheapest printing paper that will go through your computer.

Cheap usually means thin.

Thin usually means easier to tear.

It may also be possible to find newsprint that isn't intended for quilting, but will go through your printer without damaging it. (I can't guarantee that all paper is safe to run through your printer.)

The biggest obstacle is that newsprint is generally available at some funky size that isn't printer-friendly. You may have to trim it to size.

Carrie Anne, I hope this has helped so that you can make the best decision for your projects. Thanks for writing!

Readers, what's your favorite paper to use for foundation piecing? Please share your experience with your fellow quilters via the 'Comments' link found below.

Thank you.


Julie Baird

Comments for What paper should I use for paperpiecing?

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Bond for paperpiecing
by: Mina

I bought a carton of 16# acid free bond on Amazon for about $25. It is quite thin. You can also buy newsprint by the package or carton.

From the Editor:I love buying in bulk, Mina. Great share!

I do recommend that you do a bit of testing before printing everything, especially when trying a 'new-to-you-not-intended-for-paper-piecing' paper. My testing and experience has shown me that non-paper-piecing papers have more of a tendency to transfer some of the printing to my ironing board cover.

A quick test will reveal whether or not you'l have to watch out for it on your own ironing board. Simply cover with scrap fabric or muslin to keep your cover clean. Change/wash as needed to protect your project.

Saving $$$$ is a good thing...especially when you use as much paper piecing paper as I do!

Thanks again!



Paper for piecing
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for explaining" it.

From the Editor:

You are most welcome!

~ Julie

using copy paper
by: Liz

People use copy paper for foundation piecing because it's plentiful and fairly cheap. Also, it copies well! The disadvantage is the tear away which can distort or even rip out stitches. So: to overcome this: use a very small stitch and a big needle. (the big needle will punch a bigger hole into the paper for easy removal).

Helpful info
by: munchulli

Thank you for in-depth answer. It is very informative.

Paper piecing
by: Carrie

Thank you for very informative and detailed ideas for paper piecing.

From the Editor: You are most welcome. I'm glad to be of help!

~ Julie

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