Best Foundation Paper Piecing Paper – Testing 7 Kinds!

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I love foundation paper piecing. For me, it is an easy way to make something that looks super precise without having to be perfect at cutting or 1/4 inch seams.

But when I started foundation paper piecing (FPP) I printed all my patterns out on regular printer paper and so I have often wondered if I am missing a trick.

best foundation paper piecing paper

So I bought 7 different kinds of paper to test and review. Would I prefer freezer paper? Are the more expensive foundation papers worth it? I wanted to find out!

I used a simple FPP block pattern and used the same pattern on all the types of paper I could find to see how they would compare.

I have ranked the papers based on 7 criteria. These are the criteria that are important to me, but you may have different things that are important to you when it comes to what you want from paper for foundation paper piecing (FPP).

What is Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP)

Foundation Paper Piecing or FPP for short, is a technique used to help sewers and quilters to piece quilt blocks with precision. It is often used for complex quilt blocks with many small pieces, but not always.

It involves printing (or tracing) a pattern onto a paper foundation. The sewer then follows the pattern instructions to sew on the printed line of the paper pattern.

As you’ll see from the paper options below there are some methods where you sew directly through the paper and remove it later and some where you sew just beside the paper.

You still use a 1/4″ seam allowance and you still sew with your fabrics right sides together. The difference is that you secure your first piece of fabric on the back of the block (the non printed side of the pattern) – I use a glue stick for this, before adding your second fabric patch right sides together – also under the paper.

You then sew on the solid lines and trim off the excess fabric before moving on to the next patch.

I have multiple video tutorials for how to use foundation paper piecing patterns on my YouTube channel for newcomers to FPP.

FPP for me is. a wonderful technique for using small scraps and funny-shaped leftover bits of fabric as well as a great way to work with even very elaborate patterns for a beginner as once you master the technique it becomes almost like ‘sewing by numbers’!

FPP Paper Review Criteria

  • Can I print on it? I don’t trace my patterns, instead, I print them. I either design them myself with software called EQ8 (electric quilt 8) or I purchase a PDF pattern and print it. Because of this, I need to be sure the seam line or sewing line as well as the outer line are clearly visible.
  • Can I see through it? By this I mean can you see through the blank papers without an alternate light source such as a lightbox.
  • How does it feel to sew on?
  • Can I press on it?
  • How easy is it to remove? I used a 1.5 stitch length on my sewing machine for all the blocks to make paper removal as easy as possible.
  • How accurate does the block turn out? Do I get precise results and the correct block size.
  • How expensive is it?

7 Different Types of FPP Paper

Regular Printer Paper

Amazon Basics Printer Paper
  • Obviously, this paper went through my printer just fine.
  • I was able to see through the printer paper when held up to the light, but not when it was lying on the cutting mat.
  • It was easy to sew through the printer paper.
  • It was easy to press.
  • The paper was easy to remove.
  • The block turned out the correct size.
  • Regular Printer paper is the least expensive option at approx. 1 cent per sheet depending on what quantity you buy it in.

One tip, if you are going to use printer paper, is to buy the thinnest, cheapest kind you can find. The thinner it is the easier it is to see through.

Freezer Paper

I used freezer paper sheets that are cut to the size of regular printer paper so that they fit through your printer correctly.

You can buy freezer paper on a roll but it would be time-consuming to try to cut that down to an easily printable size!

Quilters Freezer Paper Sheet
  • The freezer paper went through the printer easily. Just a note, you need to print on the mat side, not the shiny side.
  • I was able to see through the freezer paper when I held it up to the light.
  • The benefit of the freezer paper is that the shiny side (back of the paper) adheres to the fabric with a hot iron. Because of this, you don’t sew on the actual paper so you can use it repeatedly. In my personal experience, It doesn’t always adhere well and the fabric can slide around – but some people swear by it so it’s worth experimenting for yourself.
  • You are meant to press the shiny side of the paper to the fabric so it will adhere. I had mixed success with this and at times the freezer paper did not adhere to the fabric.
  • Obviously, because you don’t sew through the paper removing it is not an issue.
  • The block turned out the correct size.
  • Of the 7 types of paper I tested the freezer paper came in at #5 in terms of cost. That being said, it is reusable since you don’t sew through the paper, so per use it probably works out cheaper!

Vellum Paper

Translucent Vellum Paper
  • The vellum paper went through the printer easily.
  • I was able to see through the vellum paper even on the cutting mat.
  • It was easy to sew through the vellum paper.
  • The vellum paper curled when I pressed it with the iron. It was still workable, but not ideal. You could try just finger-pressing it.
  • The paper was easy to remove.
  • The block turned out the correct size.
  • The vellum paper I bought was expensive (here in the UK) but I have seen it on Amazon USA for 13 cents a sheet. So not too bad price-wise.

June Tailor Perfect Piecing Foundation Sheets

June Tailor Perfect Piecing Quilt Block Foundation Sheets
  • The June Tailor paper went through the printer easily.
  • I was able to see through the paper even on the cutting mat.
  • It was easy to sew through the June Tailor paper.
  • I found that this paper curled a bit when I pressed it but not as much as the vellum paper.
  • The paper was easy to remove. The directions say you can leave it on and complete the quilt, but I have never tried that.
  • The block turned out the correct size.
  • The June Tailor paper was the most expensive at 33 cents per sheet.

Papers for Foundation Piecing from The Patchwork Palace

Papers for Foundation Piecing
  • The paper from Patchwork Place went through the printer easily.
  • I was only able to see through the paper when I held it up to the light, but not on the cutting mat.
  • It was easy to sew through the Patchwork Place Paper.
  • This paper curled just a tiny bit when pressed.
  • The paper was easy to remove.
  • The block turned out the correct size.
  • The Patchwork Place paper was about 15 cents per sheet.

Newsprint Paper

Printer Friendly Newsprint Drawing Paper

The newsprint I bought was specifically cut to be printer-friendly. Just like the freezer paper you can get it in larger rolls and reams but that wouldn’t really work for printing FPP patterns.

This was the one I really wanted to work, because it is super cheap and super thin so could be perfect and I’ve heard good things about it.

But, the newsprint paper did not feed through my printer so I didn’t rank it in the other criteria. I was using a laser printer so that might have been the issue. I have yet to work up the courage to try it in my new inkjet printer given the mess it made in my last printer!

Tracing Paper

Crayola Tracing Paper

Another one I had high hopes for was the tracing paper which is also cheap and thin.

However as with the newsprint, on my printer, the tracing paper wouldn’t go through and got all jammed up.

Because of that, I couldn’t rank it on the other criteria.

I have heard good things from others about both newsprint and tracing paper for FPP so it might be worth testing them out yourself to see if they would work for you. I was pretty disappointed at not being able to try them properly!

Best FPP Paper for Me

I have used printer paper for quite some time.

Even though you can’t see through it I will probably continue to use it because it is relatively cheap and it doesn’t curl when I iron on it – I like to iron my FPP blocks after each seam.

If I was going to switch, I would try the patchwork palace paper. It was slightly thinner than the printer paper but still provided a sturdy foundation.

I wanted to like the freezer paper because it is reusable, but I felt there was more room for error and the chance that the blocks would not be precise enough.

The freezer paper just did not seem easy or intuitive for me personally, but loads of people swear by freezer paper piecing so it is definitely worth trying.

I wanted to like the Vellum because you can see through it so well, but it curls too much and seemed too “fiddly”. Perhaps it wouldn’t curl if you finger press only, but the heat of the iron definitely caused it to curl too much for my liking.

The June Tailer felt nice and was easy to work with but was expensive. Perhaps the main benefit of that one is that you don’t need to remove the paper but I have never tried that.

Obviously, I won’t use the newsprint or tracing paper because they wouldn’t go through my printer.

You can use this list to match the criteria that are most important to you as they might be very different from what I was looking for!

FPP Paper Video Review

Frequently Asked Questions

What side of a Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern do you sew on?

You sew on the side with the printed lines. So it is basically like sewing by numbers. You can sew straight through the paper on the line, or beside the line if you are using freezer paper.

Which paper should I use if I don’t want to sew through the paper?

Freezer paper is the one most people use when they don’t want to sew through the paper as it involves folding the paper and sewing beside the fold line.

Is FPP paper the same as EPP templates?

No. Foundation Paper Piecing paper is thinner and usually much larger than English Paper Piecing templates which tend to be a thicker cardboard cut to specific shapes. English Paper Piecing is a hand-sewing technique, while FPP is usually done with a sewing machine.

Pre-Printed FPP Paper Options

Don’t want to bother with printing your own patterns or figuring out which paper to use?

There are also plenty of options out there for purchasing pre-printed foundation paper. More expensive of course than printing it yourself, but for some convenience will be the key!

For these options, each foundation paper piece is usually a separate sheet on a pad or in a pack. So unless you photo copy them they will be one use per sheet.

  • It’s Sew Emma has a range of log cabin blocks on pre-printed foundation paper in various sizes.
  • She also does pineapple blocks too!
  • Violet Crafts also has a range of stunning FPP quilt patterns that you can buy with pre-printed FPP papers.

Other posts with tutorials on the basics of paper piecing: