Paper Piecing Tutorial + Free Pattern

You Will Need:

  •    Scraps of fabric
  •    Rotary cutter and cutting mat
  •   Straight edge ruler
  •   Paper and Printer
  •   Sewing machine and thread
  •   Iron and Ironing surface
  •   Pattern Pieces which can be downloaded here (just be sure you print at 100%).

Step 1:

Print out paper piecing pattern. Two pieces will print on each page, and you will need four pieces to complete one block. Print as many as needed.

Step 2:

Trim down paper so that you have a minimum of ½” on each side of the pattern piece. See picture below:

 Step 3:

Turn over your pattern piece.

Place the fabric you want in the “1” place over the center of the paper. Place the fabric you want in the “2” place over it .

 Hold your pattern piece and fabric up to a light source and arrange your fabric so that the edges cross the border between the “1” and the “2” by at least ¼”.

 Step 4:

Now turn on your sewing machine, if it is not on already.  Set you stitch to a straight stitch. You don’t want your stitch to be too large, or the paper will not perforate enough. I set my stitch length to 1.8.

 Place your pattern piece and fabric under your presser foot and begin sewing on the line that divides “1” and “2”. Stop when you reach the intersecting line.

 Your pattern piece should now look like this:

 Step 5:

Fold back your paper on the line you have just sewn so that you can trim the excess fabric. 

Place your ruler over the line ¼” and trim excess fabric with rotary cutter.

 Unfold your paper so that it is a square again, and fold back “2” fabric and iron the seam in place.  


 Step 6:

Place a third fabric over your “1” fabric to go into the “3” space.

 The edge of this fabric should overlap the border between the “1” and “3” by at least ¼”.  

Place pattern piece and fabric under your presser foot and sew on line between “3” and “1” until you reach the intersecting line.  

Your pattern piece should now look like this: 

 Step 7:

Fold back paper and trim the excess fabric to ¼”.

 Now unfold the paper, fold the “3” fabric back, and press the seam in place.  

 Step 8:

Place the fabric you would like in the “4” place over the other fabric so that the edge of the new fabric crosses the border between the “1,2” and “4”. Hold up to the light to make sure you’ve got the fabric just where you want it.

  Place fabric and pattern piece under presser foot

 Begin sewing at corner between “2” and “4” and stop at the intersection of “4” and “5”.  Your seam should look like this:

 Step 9:

Now fold the paper back at the seam you just made, and place your ruler so that it passes the seam by ¼”. Cut the fabric with your rotary cutter. Unfold paper and fold back “4” fabric. Press seam in place.

 I used a large piece for the “4” spot. Once I ironed it out, the piece went well beyond the paper, so I simply trimmed it to about the size of the paper.

 Step 10:

Now take another piece of fabric and put it in place for the “5” spot. Hold it up to the light to make sure that it overlaps the “5” border by at least ¼”.

 Now place the paper and fabric under your machine and begin sewing on the “5” line. You can begin and end your seam a little before and after the line to make removing the paper easier.

 Step 11:

Your first section of the block is nearly complete! Just fold back the paper at the “5” border and trim the fabric to ¼” using your ruler and rotary cutter as you have done with each seam you have sewn.

Now unfold your paper and fold back the fabric and iron the seam in place. Your block should now look something like this:

 Now turn it over so that the paper is on top.

 Place your ruler on any edge of the pattern piece so that the ruler goes ¼” beyond the outer line.

 Trim the paper and fabric so that you are left with ¼” on each side of the pattern piece beyond the outer borders. Your pattern piece should now look like this:

 Starting with the “5” seam, gently tear along the perforation and remove the “5” piece.


Next remove the “4” piece and work your way in until you reach the “1” piece. You may need to gently stretch or bend the seam until you can grab a corner of the “1” piece to remove.

 Once you have removed all of the paper, your block should look like this:

 Press and set aside until you have completed three more sections.

 Once you have completed four sections you are ready to assemble your block! Just sew two blocks together, then press the seams open. Then sew those two sections together and you will have a completed block!

 Continue to make blocks to make a quilt, or just make one into a potholder. This would make a great wall hanging, too!

You are welcome to link back to this tutorial, but please do not copy the pattern or distribute it. This it meant to teach others how to paper piece and is not meant for profit.  Thanks!


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Olivia Jane Handcrafted