My freezer paper piecing tutorial will save you so much time and *tears*. No more ripping out those tiny paper bits for hours! Oh, my achy, breaky fingers!
Raise your hand if you LOVE paper piecing but HATE ripping the papers off of the blocks.
*hands are raising everywhere*
Well, pull up a chair and I’ll tell you my story about how paper piecing killed my sewjo (sewing joy) and how discovering freezer paper piecing changed my quilting life for the better.
It gets better! I’ll show you EXACTLY how to do freezer paper piecing and give you a free guide to download. Yah!
Free Printable and Tutorial for Freezer paper piecing
DOWNLOAD THE Free Guide to Freezer Paper Piecing
Before I get to the story and tutorial, please download the free guide which will help you get the most out of this freezer paper piecing tutorial. . Keep it nearby for reference as you experiment with the techniques. Click the button below to get your free guide now.
Why I Quit Paper Piecing
Quitting for good
Once upon a time, I made a gorgeous quilt. It even made the cover of American Patchwork & Quilting (what! crazy town!), however, after I made this beauty, I swore off paper piecing. Forever.
I know – dramatic, but it’s true and I meant every word.
That cover quilt? Was a labor of love. Tearing those papers out of the blocks took twice as long as the actual making even though my mom helped me for hours.
Two people! Twice. As. Long!
And our fingers hurt for days after ripping. Not cool.
No more I said! No more foundation patterns for me. Ever. I just couldn’t fathom spending that much time on ripping again. Life is too short! Wouldn’t you rather spend time creating and making than RIPPING?. Amiright?
Freezer paper piecing Tutorial changed my life
Happily, a friend gave me a freezer paper piecing tutorial. And my life was changed! I saved so much time and paper… and no more achy fingers. My quilting world was reopened to those lovely foundation patterns.
Now it’s your turn to feel lucky because I’m sharing the technique with you today! This is the very same technique that makes quilters in my classes and online programs get excited about piecing my modern triangle quilt designs. Or any foundation pieced quilts. I love these aha moments!
FREEZER PAPER Piecing Versus Regular Paper
My freezer paper piecing tutorial is similar to paper foundation piecing in several ways. First, the general technique are similar. Second, there is the same focus on placement, trimming and pressing. All good, however, the most important and main difference is that you can reuse the templates without ripping them to shreds. And they are super easy to remove.
Have you made thousands of copies of templates? Not anymore, quilters of the world! You can trace a few copies on freezer paper and then reuse them. Or you can use printable freezer paper in your inkjet printer – it’s sized to fit your printer. There are other options, too. Like regular freezer paper off of the roll.
You may want to make a few copies for working in batches, which is what I like to do. I usually make four of each template and work in batches of four units.
Welcome to fun! Let’s get started!
Prepping the templates
You will need a printed copy of your template(s), a pen or pencil, a ruler, freezer paper and scissors for cutting paper (versus your good fabric scissors).
Using the ruler as a straight edge, trace the template onto the dull paper side of the freezer paper. The other side is shiny and coated with wax.
Add numbers and other information on the template. I include any helpful information that identifies a template that I’ll reuse. Before you cut them out, decide if you will trace the quarter-inch seam allowances as part of your template or add them at the end when you trim the blocks.
Cut out the traced template with the paper scissors. Next, fold or score the seam lines. This makes it easier to fold along the lines in subsequent steps. Try using an index card to make crisp lines by lining it up with dashed line and folding over it.
Sewing the first unit
Instead of pinning or glue basting the first fabric piece to the template like you would in paper piecing, you will iron the freezer paper to Fabric 1 (my Fabric 1 is white). Make sure the paper side of the freezer paper is facing up and the wrong side of the fabric is facing the shiny part of the freezer paper. The shiny side becomes the sticky side when pressed with the iron.
Next, line up Fabric 1 to the template and iron the freezer paper template to the fabric.
Next, line up your second fabric (my Fabric 2 is aqua) just as you would in paper piecing. When you are ready to sew along the line, fold the freezer paper out of the way of the seam line.
Stitch right next to the fold but not through the paper.
See how my seam line is right next to the fold, but not through the paper?
Now press the seam with the fabric right side up. This will also make the freezer paper stick to Fabric 2. Be sure to avoid pressing on the sticky (shiny) side of the freezer paper that is facing up around the edges to avoid stickiness on your iron plate.
TRIMMING and Adding seam Allowances
Put the unit fabric side down on a cutting board. Fold the freezer paper template back to expose the seam.
And trim the seam to 1/4″.
Repeat the process to finish piecing your template.
This is me lining up my Fabric 3 (dark blue) with Fabric 2 (aqua). See how the dark blue fabric is 1/4” above the seam behind the the needle? This is the same technique used with paper piecing. Make sure that the fabric piece is large enough on all sides to fit the template and quarter-inch seam allowances. Now you’re ready to sew the seam.
With the freezer paper template folded back, stitch right next to the fold.
Now take a look at the seam allowance. The stitches should be right next to the fold and I haven’t stitched through the paper.
Next, press the unit with the fabric side up.
For the last step, trim the excess fabric from the edges with the trimming template. Be sure you keep the 1/4” seam allowance all the way around as you trim. (I’m showing a different pattern here, however, it’s the same technique).
Now comes the really fun part! After the unit is completed, just peel the fabric unit from the freezer paper template. It comes right off.
Voila! No picking out paper from your seams and you can reuse that freezer paper template. YAH!!! How cool is that?!
If you *need* to try this technique right away:
Download the free printable – “The Complete Guide to Freezer Paper Piecing”. By clicking the button below.
Check out my list of must-have tools for Freezer Paper Piecing.
Need help? Join the conversation in the Facebook group.
For more on quilting modern triangles, check out these posts: