Freezer Paper Piecing Tutorial
Freezer Paper Piecing Tutorial
Paper piecing generally involves sewing fabric pieces directly to a piece of paper to create a quilt block. It makes for perfectly crisp looking piecing of sometimes intricate quilt blocks. The down side is having to remove the paper off the back of the block when you’re all done. A total pain as far as I’m concerned.
Enter freezer paper. Freezer paper is available at most grocery stores right along side the plastic wrap and foils. It is white paper with a plastic coating on one side. You know the plastic side because it’s shiny. The dull side can be written on and printed on. I think it should be renamed quilting paper because not only is it good for appliqué, but it’s great for paper piecing now, too. I’d done paper piecing a little, but this freezer paper technique was just explained to me, so I went home and figured it out.
I’m making a block from the Dear Jane book for this tutorial (K12 – Doris’s Dilemma to be exact). These are 4 1/2″ inches finished, so it’s helpful to be precise. To start, cut yourself a piece of freezer paper (FP) a little larger than the size of your finished block plus your seam allowance. You can either trace your design, or draft it directly onto the paper. It’s also possible to print directly onto the FP if you cut a piece the size of printer paper, and you’re lucky enough to have your design on the computer. Remember the lines are your sewing lines, so for the outside of the block I like to draw a ligher line to note where my seam allowance ends.
(I actually traced, but ended up re-drawing this block myself because I wasn’t happy with the exact draft in the book). I find it helpful to number the pieces in the order they will be sewn, and even sometimes note the color of the piece.
Hold the fabric piece in place on the FP with the wrong side of the fabric to the shiny side of the FP. Using your iron on a med-high setting with no steam, and pressing on the DULL side of the FP, press the piece onto the FP.
Holding that #2 piece in place, flip the whole thing over. Now you are going to sew with your needle right up against the fold of the FP. The goal is to sew as close as possible to the fold without actually perforating the paper.
Open up the pieces and finger press the seam open. This is pretty important, because you’re otherwise pressing blindly through the FP! Press the seam open – again, ironing on the DULL side of the FP. If the paper sticks to your ironing board it’s no problem, as the FP does not leave residue on fabric and can be used multiple times. If you iron the shiny side of the paper it will make a mess on your iron! Either way, I try to use the tip or side of my iron and just get the piece and seam that I need pressed.
Open up your pieces again, finger press, then press with the iron. Once it’s pressed open, double check to make sure that your pieces are large enough to cover seam allowances. Next, fold the paper on your next sewing line(s). Loosen just the seam allowance, and trim to 1/4″. Continue with the next fabric pieces in the same fashion as above.