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12 Essential Tools and Notions for Perfect Foundation Paper Piecing

Foundation paper piecing (FPP) is a quilting technique that allows for precise and interact designs. To help you get started or refine your FPP skills, here’s a list of essential tools and notions that every foundation paper piecer should have in their toolkit, along with a few ‘nice-to-have’ items to enhance your quilting experience.  Find all the tools and materials mentioned below in the one place here.*
And if you're not familiar with the technique or would like a refresher, be sure to also check out my blog posts on how to FPP and tips on how to speed up the FPP process.


1. Rotary Cutter and Rotating Cutting Mat
A sharp rotary cutter paired with a rotating cutting mat is crucial for cutting fabric pieces accurately. The rotary cutter allows for smooth, clean cuts, while the cutting mat protects your workspace and prolongs the life of your blades. Personally, I prefer a rotating cutting mat so you don’t run the risk of accidentally tearing the pieced templates while I’m trimming. This due is indispensable for any quilter, ensuring precise cuts every time.

2. Fabric Glue Pen (or Stick)
A fabric glue pen (or stick) is a game-changer for foundation paper piecing. It temporarily holds your fabric pieces in place without the need for pins, which can distort your fabric or get in the way. The glue dries clear and washes out easily, making it an excellent choice for precise piecing.

3. Paper Scissors
Having a dedicated pair of scissors for cutting paper is essential. Using your fabric scissors on paper can dull them quickly.


4. Quilting Ruler
A good-quality ruler is indispensable for foundation paper piecing. It helps in measuring and cutting fabric pieces accurately, ensuring that each piece fits perfectly within the paper templates. My personal favourite is the Creative Grids brand. The marked grids and angles are clear; and there are grips on the bottom of the ruler which allows for precise cuts and alignment. It’s also useful for trimming excess fabric and squaring up your blocks, making sure that your finished quilt is neat and professional-looking.


5. Foundation Paper
Using the right paper for printing your templates can make a significant difference. Standard printer paper works well, but dedicated foundation paper piecing paper is thinner and easier to remove after stitching. It feeds through your printer just like regular paper but tears away cleanly, reducing the risk of distorting your stitches.

6. Printer
A reliable printer is essential for printing out your foundation paper piecing templates. An inkjet or laser printer with good resolution will ensure your templates are clear and precise, which is crucial for accurate piecing. Having a printer at home also means you can print templates as needed without delay.

7. Fabric Pen or Pencil
A fabric pen or pencil is essential for marking fabrics in foundation paper piecing. It allows you to draw guidelines, mark seam allowances, and note placement points on your fabric without leaving permanent marks. Choose one that is easily erasable or washes out without a trace to ensure your quilt remains clean and flawless. This tool is particularly helpful for precise piecing and ensuring all your fabric pieces are correctly aligned.


8. Seam Roller
A seam roller is a great alternative to pressing seams with an iron, especially when working with delicate or small pieces. It allows you to flatten seams without stretching or distorting the fabric. This tool is particularly useful for those who want to avoid getting up frequently to use the iron or when working in a small space.
9. Add-A-Quarter Ruler
The Add-A-Quarter Ruler is a must-have for foundation paper piecing. This tool simplifies the process of adding a seam allowance, thanks to its specially designed lip that fits snugly against the edge of your template. This ruler ensures consistent quarter-inch seams every time, making your piecing more accurate and your blocks easier to assemble.
10. Stiletto
A stiletto is a pointed tool that helps guide fabric under the presser foot, ensuring accurate stitching and preventing your fingers from getting too close to the needle. It’s particularly useful for working with small pieces or intricate designs, giving you more control over your fabric.

11. Tweezers
Tweezers are incredibly helpful for removing small bits of paper from your seams after you’ve finished piecing. They can also assist in placing and holding fabric pieces accurately, especially in tight spots. Look for tweezers with a fine tip for greater precision.
12. Light Box
A light box is a ‘nice-to-have’ tool that can make tracing and positioning templates much easier. It illuminates your work area, making it simpler to see through your paper and align your fabric pieces accurately. This tool can save time and reduce eye strain, especially for complex designs.
Whether you're just starting out or looking to upgrade your quilting toolkit, these essential tools and notions will help you achieve more precise and beautiful results in your FPP projects.  Find all the tools and materials mentioned below in the one place here.*

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