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 freezer paper piecing patterns 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.
The basics of freezer paper piecing are that you begin with a numbered pattern printed or drawn on the non-glossy side of freezer paper. 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 paper piecing is that with freezer paper piecing you do not sew through the paper, while with paper piecing you use light weight tissue-type paper and you sew directly through the paper.
Why would you want to use freezer paper piecing?
- First of all, it makes it super easy to get great seam and corner matches on your sewing. You sew right along the edge of the paper, and not relying on cutting perfect 1/4″ seam allowances.
- 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 isn’t sticking as well as you’d like? Just put a dab of fabric glue stick on the fabric to secure 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 smaller stitch so it is easy to remove the paper, but that makes it hard to remove stitches.
- 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.
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! Love this? Join her NEW! Block of the Month Club Diamonds and Drama Queens, where she will highlight a famous stone each month and provide the pattern for that gem. Starting April 2021 with The McClean Diamond.
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Patterns for MJ’s new Block of the Month will be available in 3 sizes (9”, 12”, and 18”) via PDF downloaded files. Learn more about Diamonds and Drama Queens and sign up now!
Try this small pattern designed by MJ Kinman to learn more about her process for making her amazing gemstone quilts, then join her block of the month club!
En Pointe (6″ square) Freezer Paper Pieced Gemstone
I created this pattern specifically for quiltmakers who may not be familiar with 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. She’s also the pattern I chose to use as the logo for my new Diamonds & Drama Queens Block of the Month club.
Join MJ with her new Diamonds & Drama Queens Block of the Month!
I first fell in love with gems in 1968. Paging through a National Geographic magazine, I found a story about coronations of royalty around the world. The color and sparkle of the gems that graced their crowns, tiaras, and costumes mesmerized me. I was hooked. These moments inspire my block of the month quilt patterns.
As I combined my passion of quiltmaking with my love of gems, I wanted to learn all I could about the world’s most famous gems and the people who owned them. What I learned is that these awesome stones attracted the most intriguing, eccentric, and outrageous people. And I want to share their stories with you. My new Block of the Month club, Diamonds & Drama Queens, does just that!
Starting April 1st — a perfect day to start our wild and wacky journey — you’ll be able to download a PDF file each month of the block inspired by these amazing gems and their equally amazing owners. Patterns will be available in three sizes: 9″, 12″ and 18″. Choose the size that you prefer — or make all three.
In addition to a downloadable PDF file of the pattern that you can print onto freezer paper on your home printer*, you’ll also receive links to a video about the featured gem and the stories surrounding its history, including the people who fell into its orbit. Some gems celebrate deep and abiding love, while others give us a peek into outrageous and eccentric lifestyles. And some reveal stories of deep sorrow and loss.
For example, I’ll tell you about shy, reclusive Huguette Clark, daughter of copper king, William Clark. She owned mansions and jewels, but cared for none of it.
Evelyn Walsh McLean was also a real drama queen. Some say that the owner of the Hope Diamond once appeared at the top of her grand staircase one evening before a wild party wearing the jewel – and nothing else!
*Note: I use a technique called freezer paper piecing. This is traditional piecing using freezer paper as your templates. If you can sew 2 pieces of fabric together with a quarter-inch seam allowance, YOU CAN DO THIS! You can purchase freezer paper by the roll or in pre-cut sheets.
I’m excited about this adventure! I hope you’ll join me for this romp into the wild side of gems and jewels. To subscribe to the 12-month program ($95 USD for the annual subscription April 1, 2021 through March 30, 2022), visit https://www.mjkinman.com/block-of-the-month.
More about MJ Kinman
MJ likes to say she makes the biggest diamonds in the world. But instead of using the hardest substances in the world, she uses the softest – fabric. The adventure started nearly 25 years ago when an image of a gem captured her imagination. As a new quiltmaker, she was unsure how to transform that image into a quilt but knew there had to be a way. So MJ began searching for the right techniques and, seven years later, made her first gem quilt.
MJ’s last series, entitled “Bourbon Diamonds” celebrates Kentucky’s favorite spirit. Her current series is based on the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. MJ’s work has been exhibited in national competitions, galleries, and museums, including the National Quilt Museum and the International Quilt Museum. Her gems have been featured in Quiltfolk, Quilting Arts Magazine, McCall’s Quilting, France Patchwork, Patchwork Professional (Germany),Create Whimsy, Make Modern Magazine, and Online Quilting Magazine.
You may have seen MJ on Quilting Arts TV and The Quilt Show.com with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims over the past few years. Her work is included in private and corporate collections, including Maker’s Mark Distillery and the National Quilt Museum (Paducah, Kentucky).
MJ’s first pattern series, The Birthstone Series, is a collection of 12 blocks representing the traditional birthstone gems. Her latest series — the Diamond Divas Series — features large diamond quilt patterns. MJ is also a BERNINA Brand Ambassador and her first book, Gemstone Quilts, was released by C&T Publishing in 2020.
MJ is always delighted to share her techniques with students. Prior to moving her classes and trunk shows online during the pandemic, MJ taught throughout the United States and Canada. Most recently, she’s joined the team at Creative Spark (C&T Publishing’s online learning platform). You can also join MJ’s online community of gem-loving quiltmakers by becoming part of the Tiny Treasures Club or participate in her newest Block-of-the-Month club “Diamonds & Drama Queens”.
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