Freezer paper piecing will save you bunches of time and *tears* versus foundation paper piecing. After you read the tutorial, you’ll see why you should make the switch to freezer paper.
Do you love paper piecing results but cringe when ripping papers off the blocks?
*Heads bobbing ‘YES’ everywhere*
Would you believe that you’ll get great results using freezer paper?
Without ripping off tiny paper bits that cling to the fabric?
And doesn’t take hours?
And no more sore fingers?
Well, pull up a chair and I’ll tell you my story about how paper piecing quashed my sewing joy. And then how freezer paper piecing changed my quilting life FOREVER.
I’ve designed many quilts with modern triangles that use foundation piecing. Quilters use either foundation papers or freezer paper to make them.
You have a choice about the paper and technique. After I show you EXACTLY how to freezer paper piece today (and give you a free guide to download), you’ll say, “Use foundation paper? What…are you kidding? I’m on team Freezer Paper now!”
DOWNLOAD THE FREE GUIDE TO FREEZER PAPER PIECING
Before I move on to the story and tutorial, download the free guide to get the most-est from my freezer paper piecing tutorial. Keep it nearby for reference as you experiment with the techniques. Click the button below for your free guide now.
WHY I QUIT PAPER PIECING
Once upon a time, I made a fun, colorful quilt. It even made the cover of American Patchwork & Quilting, however, after I made it I swore off paper piecing. Forever.
Gosh, that sounds 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 piecing it, even with my mom ripping papers out too!
Two people! Two times the tears.
And our fingers hurt for days after ripping. Not cool.
My quilt on the magazine was the lemonade from my paper tearing “lemons”. Silver lining, y’all.
Still, I wailed and whined about sore fingers and thousands of paper bits.
Luckily, my cries went straight to my quilter friend’s ears and she gave me a freezer paper piecing tutorial. (Was she so done with all my whining? Prob’ly).
FREEZER PAPER PIECING TUTORIAL CHANGED MY LIFE
Freezer paper piecing changed my quilting life! I saved so much time and paper… and no more achy fingers. My quilting world reopened to designing and sewing lovely foundation patterns.
Now it’s your turn to feel like a lucky friend because I’m sharing the technique with you today! This is the very same technique I teach in my classes and online BOM programs. Members get excited about what they accomplish and gain valuable skills to take with them.
FREEZER PAPER PIECING VERSUS REGULAR PAPER
My freezer paper piecing tutorial is similar to paper foundation piecing in several ways. First, the general technique is similar. Second, I focus on placement, trimming and pressing. All good, however, the life-changing difference is that you reuse the templates without ripping them to shreds. And they are super easy to remove.
Have you made thousands of copies of templates? If so, you can stop right now, quilters of the world!
I trace a few copies on freezer paper and then reuse them many times. Or you can use printable freezer paper that is sized to fit an inkjet 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 your life-changing moment! 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. Some quilters like to use the quarter-inch seam foot and run the metal up next to the folded freezer 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:
Ready to give freezer paper magic a try? Here’s where you can get started for free:
- Get the FPP Guide – https://workshops.bryanhousequilts.com/get-freezer-paper-guide
- Get a pattern and take my free class – https://workshops.bryanhousequilts.com/scrappy-whirligig-class-blog
For more on quilting modern triangles, check out these posts:
I absolutely love this technique.
Joyce M Thomas says
Love this. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks