[ Quilting Tips ]

Essential tools for paper piecing – under $10

I have been doing alot of foundation paper piecing recently. There are some supplies to have on hand that make the process easier. Today I will share the essential tools for paper piecing. If you are looking for a fast paper piecing project, download my Holiday Gnome pattern – it’s free through the end of December 2019.

FPP gnome quilt block

Paper Piecing Tools



Index Card

Add-a-Quarter ruler

essential tools for paper piecing

{Disclaimer: this post includes affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after following one of my links. Please read my full disclosure here.}

Paper Foundation

Most of the time I print FPP patterns on whatever paper is in the printer. My husband works in IT and if I have a FPP project in the works, I ask him to bring scrap paper home. Print the pattern on the back of anything and you will be ready to go. Newsprint is the deluxe option when paper piecing. Since newsprint is a thinner paper, it is easier to sew and rip away. Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper is available at most quilt shops, or you can buy it online.

Glue vs Pins

When I am working on a paper piecing project, I rarely use pins. Since paper piecing generally means working with small pieces of fabric, there isn’t really a need to hold them together long enough to make pinning necessary. The only time you must have a pin is to secure the paper pattern to the very first piece of fabric. This first step is where I substitute glue for a pin. Elmer’s School Glue is safe to use on fabric. I buy the washable kind and use just a small dab. Once the first seam has been stitched, I won’t need any more glue.

Watch me paper piece in this video.

learn FPP

Essential Tools for Paper Piecing 

There are 4 basic steps to paper piecing: Fold, Trim, Add a piece, Sew. When you need to fold the paper, index cards (or postcards) are a lifesaver. Line up the long edge of the card with the seam line that you sew next. Fold the paper back over the card and you will be set up to trim.


With the popularity of email these days, it might be hard to find a postcard. But I am here to help! Leave a comment and we can connect privately for a postcard exchange. I look forward to lots of happy mail.

Paper Piecing Success

Quilters sew with quarter-inch seams, and the Add-A-Quarter ruler gives us that perfect seam allowance every time. Press the ruler against the card when you trim the fabric. This cut edge becomes the guideline for positioning your next piece of fabric.

paper piecing ruler

Using the right tools for the job makes the whole process easier. Are you a paper piecing fan or do you prefer another type of quilting?

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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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