Freezer paper piecing is a quilting technique that is fast and accurate — so it’s perfect to use with detailed quilting designs, making sure that your seams and corners match. There are many patterns for this technique on the market, and you can draw your own on the dull side of the freezer paper, or design your own using a variety of computer programs.
What is freezer paper piecing?
The basics of freezer paper piecing in quilting begin with a numbered pattern printed or drawn on the non-glossy side of freezer paper. The freezer paper becomes your pattern pieces. Cut out the templates, press them onto your fabrics, and then cut them out with 1/4″ seam allowances. Using your pattern, you then sew the pieces back together again.
What differentiates this from foundation paper piecing is that with freezer paper piecing you do not sew through the paper. With traditional foundation paper piecing you use light weight tissue-type paper and sew through the paper. With freezer paper foundation templates, you stitch next to the paper instead of through it. When you are done stitching, the freezer paper peels off easily and does not pull or distort the stitches when removing the paper pattern as you complete the quilt block section.
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Why would you want to use freezer paper piecing?
- First of all, it is super easy to get great seam and corner matches on your sewing. You sew right along the edge of the paper instead of 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric. If your seam allowances are not cut at exactly 1/4″, your pattern will still match perfectly. This is a very accurate method of piecing.
- You can reuse freezer paper pieced patterns because you carefully peel off the pattern after sewing. This makes it great for quilts where you use the same block multiple times — you don’t need to mark and cut so many templates. So you can use the patterns multiple times. And, if the glossy part doesn’t stick as well as you like a dab of fabric glue stick on the fabric secures the pattern.
- With freezer paper piecing you use your normal stitch length. So if you make a little mistake (like none of us ever do! Ha!), removing stitches is easy. In regular paper piecing you use a much shorter stitch to make it easy to remove the paper, but that makes it hard to remove stitches if you need to.
- Removing the freezer paper from the back of your work is easy and doesn’t impact or pull on your stitches, unlike regular paper piecing.
Get started with freezer paper quilting
We’ve got a great pattern designed by MJ Kinman to show you the basic steps – and then you end up with a fantastic small gemstone quilt! Ready for more? MJ designed a birthstone series of patterns that will give you more experience with fabric layouts to create sparkle and glow in your quilts.
Try this small pattern that MJ Kinman designed and learn more about her process for making her amazing gemstone quilts!
En Pointe (6″ square) Freezer Paper Pieced Gemstone
I created this pattern specifically for quiltmakers who may not know about freezer paper piecing, the same technique I use to create my giant gem quilts. Even though this gem has only 13 facets, her dramatic value contrast is the key to her beauty.
How to make your own freezer paper template:
You need to start with an image or drawing. Chardel details the process she used in one of her quilts, Painted Hills art quilt. She made this drawing of the hills from her photograph.
Once you have your diagram, start looking for ways to divide the drawing into sections you can sew together. Start with the obvious ‘blocks’ in the design. Subdivide those blocks into smaller sections with fewer pieces. You’ll end up with a pattern like this:
You can see above that Chardel noted major sections with colored pencils. She numbered the smaller sections to make smaller mini-blocks that will build the larger areas. The numbers help organize where the pieces belong on the quilt map.
Then the fun begins of picking fabrics and sewing all of the pieces together! The smallest mini-blocks build sections that become major units of the quilt. Here is the quilt in progress that shows two large areas put together.
Here is the finished Painted Hills art quilt:
For more information, visit MJ’s website and social media sites:
Phone: 502-287-3034 (Eastern Time Zone)
Email: [email protected]
Address: 709 Fairhill Drive, Louisville, KY 40207