No Ripping Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial Part Two

Yesterday I shared Part One of my “no ripping foundation paper piecing tutorial”. Part One covered preparing the block templates from freezer paper and preparing cutting templates. Today I’m covering how to cut the fabrics and sew the block. These instructions refer specifically to my Sugar Loaf block but you can adapt the instructions to any foundation paper pieced block.

You’ll need

  • Freezer paper templates as described in Part One
  • Cutting templates as described in Part One
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Fabric
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Quilter’s Ruler
  • Cutting Mat

1. Cutting

Note: The measurements below are for reasonable size pieces but are not hugely generous. You may wish to cut larger pieces if you’re new to foundation paper piecing. As you get familiar with the process you may choose to cut smaller pieces.

Background fabric

  • 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ for pieces one, five and six. This size allows 1/4″ added to every edge.
  • 4 3/4″ x 1 1/4″ for piece seven

Triangle fabric

  • 11″ x 1″ (cross cut into 3 1/2″, 3 1/2″ and 4″, these are pieces two, three and four respectively)

From the large background rectangle, cut pieces one, five and six. This is where the cutting templates you prepared in Part One come in handy! Lay your templates out on the rectangle of background fabric (fabric is right side up) as shown above. Ensure that you have about 1/4″ around each template. The above layout ensures that:

  • the outside edges of your block are cut on the grain (no stretchy bias edges)
  • if your fabric is directional, the print is running in the same direction
  • there is minimal fabric waste.

Using your rotary cutter and ruler, start with piece six.  Lay the ruler over template six at the same angle as the template, add a 1/4″ to the template edge and cut the background fabric. Remove piece six, then repeat the process for piece five. You’re then left with a triangle of fabric for piece one.

If you used an old needle to create your freezer paper templates in Part One, replace the needle now. Rethread your machine if you haven’t already.
You’re now ready to start sewing!

2. Sewing

Flip the freezer paper template (prepared in Part One of this tutorial) over to the shiny side, centre the background fabric piece one over section one, with the right side of the fabric facing up. Make sure to have a 1/4″ seam allowance on all edges. Holding the template and fabric up to the light can help determine whether you have the fabric positioned correctly. Iron the fabric directly to the paper so that it is firmly stuck. When applying the iron I don’t worry about the iron touching the paper, it’s also possible to iron from the reverse side. Check that the fabric is positioned correctly before continuing, if not gently peel the fabric off and start again).

Take the template to your cutting board, gently peel a little of the fabric away from the paper along the first seam line (shown as the dashed line below).

Fold the template along this seam line.

Line the 1/4″ line of your ruler up with the folded edge of the paper, trim excess fabric so that you have 1/4″ fabric overhang. You’re now ready to sew the first seam.

Take your fabric for piece two (3 1/2″ x 1″ triangle fabric), line it up with your cut edge, right sides together. Centre piece two so that there is a 1/4″ overlap at either end of section two. The blue arrows below show the ends of section two, your fabric needs to go 1/4″ beyond these two points.

Note I don’t reduce the stitch length, as there are no papers to rip out afterwards you can get away with your normal stitch length. You will be cutting through seams though so it’s up to you. Personally I like the fact that unpicking is so much easier at my normal stitch length.

Fold the template back on the crease line you’ve just created. Holding the second piece of fabric in place, and with the freezer paper on top, line your needle up next to the fold. Sew the two pieces of fabric together, taking care to sew next to the fold but not through the paper.

Fold piece two back against the freezer paper and iron to set in place. Hooray, you’ve completed the first seam. You’re now ready to attach piece three.

From now on you’re just repeating the above steps.

The next seam line is shown by the pencil in the above image, between piece one and three. Gently peel the fabric on that side away from the freezer paper and crease the template along the perforated seam line. Trim excess fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the folded edge.

Take your fabric for piece three ( 3 1/2″ x 1″ triangle fabric). Line up with the cut edge. Sew in place as before.

Set with an iron. Peel excess fabric back from the next seam line (where piece four will be attached). Fold the freezer paper along this seam line.
Trim the excess fabric, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.
 Sew piece four (4″ x 1″ triangle fabric) in place.


The next two pieces are probably the trickiest to add, this is where using cutting templates really helps. Your fabric pieces are generously sized and already the right shape. It’s just a matter of taking care to line the fabric up so that it will cover the entire section when folded back in place. If you’re not sure, try folding the new piece back before sewing the seam to check whether it covers the section.

Tip for adding piece six, before sewing, make sure piece six overlaps the corner of the paper as shown by the arrow above.
Finally add background piece seven (4 3/4″ x 1 1/4″). Iron again. Trim excess fabric from the edges of your freezer paper template so that your block measures 4 1/2″ square.
Gently remove the freezer paper template from the back of your block.
You’ve completed your first block.
Your freezer paper template can be reused (my record is nine times). It’s even easier the second time as the creases have already been made.

Summary of the steps

Once you’ve repeated the process a few times it will get easier. I thought it might be handy to have a little summary of the steps for those who’ve done it a few times already and don’t need the detail that I’ve gone into above….
  • Iron fabric to template.
  • Peel fabric away from template.
  • Fold template along seam line.
  • Trim excess fabric.
  • Position new fabric.
  • Sew along fold.
  • Repeat.

Thank you for reading my tutorial! I’ve taken a lot of care to write it, if you think I’ve made a mistake or anything is not clear, please let me know in the comments. I’ll do my best to help!

If you use my pattern or tutorial I’d love to see..
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8 thoughts to “No Ripping Foundation Paper Piecing [Part Two] Cutting and Sewing

  • dutchcomfort

    Thanks Rachel! It works like a charm, I have finished eight of them now! I always use an add 1/4" ruler to cut off the excess fabric! Can highly recommend to buy one of those!

  • LethargicLass

    Your tutorial is excellent Rachel! I can't wait to try this block 🙂

  • agnes

    Thank you for taking the time to write this tutorial. I want to try this method!

  • Janet M

    Hi Rachel – love your block & tutorial!
    I just made my first block and it turned out so cute! The only part I struggled with was pressing the fabric on to the freezer paper and not touching the exposed paper with the hot iron in the first steps. Did I miss something or do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

  • Rachel

    Thanks so much for asking Janet! I don't worry about the iron touching the paper, and when I'm ironing the first piece of fabric on I usually flip the paper over and iron from the back. The paper sticks to the ironing board a little but peels off easily. I've updated the instructions 🙂

  • Erin Barry

    Possibly the best tutorial I have read on this method so far!! Thank you!!!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this tip to perforate the freezer paper! I always use freezer paper to my pp projects since I saw a tutorial in the web, but there, we used to make a crease with the back of the seam reaper to make easier to fold each line of the pattern, and the way you teached is amazing! Thank you soooo much for sharing your awesome talent, dear Rachel! Hugs from your brazilian friend, Sil

  • Grayangi

    I love that you can iron the freezer paper to hold. I just use my printer paper and pin it in the center but for smaller stuff I would prefer no pins. I always do the fold thing. When I first saw the idea of paper piecing I didn't want to print and cut out several templates so I just folded it out of the way as I went. Very nice tutorial.


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