Cool Tool Monday

Today I thought I’d share a few cool tools that I use when I working on paper foundation projects. I’ve been making a few of them lately so the tools I use have been close at hand.

Necessary Tools.

Foundation Paper. Back when I first began to foundation piece, I printed my foundation patterns on copy paper. Now I use blank newsprint. It curls a bit when it comes out of my printer, but soon flattens out. Did you know you can buy 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of newsprint by the ream (500 sheets)? I didn’t know this until my recent shopping trip with Vicki of Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting. We made an attempt to find some at an art store, only to find out it had to be ordered online. Still, it would be worth purchasing and splitting with friends or just storing on a shelf.

Paper Scissors. I have a pair of scissors for cutting paper that I’ve used since I was a young girl. They were my mother’s coupon cutting scissors. The pair now resides in my quilt room, hidden from the rest of the world. They are just the perfect weight and size for snipping around a foundation pattern.

Cutting Mat. I have this little one right by my sewing machine, which comes in handy when trimming the fabric pieces after stitching, or for cutting that little piece of fabric to stitch next.

Small Rotary Cutter. This goes hand in hand with the small mat.

Small Ruler. I have the Add A Quarter ruler, which is really handy. However, if that ruler isn’t close at hand, I just use my regular 6-inch ruler. The Add A Quarter ruler is helpful because it has a lip that you set against the stitched seam which holds steady as you trim the seam allowance. The regular ruler has a tendency to slip around a bit.

Cool Tools Ruler -

Pins. While I don’t pin the fabric pieces I’m sewing together, I do pin the foundation pieces when I’m joining them together into blocks.

Good Lighting. Honestly, I can’t do paper foundation without a good light (or light table, if that works better for you). I determine how my fabric lies on the pattern by looking at it against a bright light. This light works really well for it. Until I had this light, I used my Ott light.

Cool Tools Light -

Other Helpful Tools

Colored Pencils or Markers. These come in handy for color coding your pattern piece so you get the right colors in the right places. See how I just scribbled a bit of the color on this pattern piece on the right? It made it so much easier to remember which color to grab. If you don’t want to use the colored pencils or markers, you can letter or number the parts like I’ve done on the left. Colors work better for me.

Cool Tools -

Lapel/Glue Stick. Until the recent red, white and blue block that I made, I hadn’t thought to use a glue stick. A few of the fabric pieces were attached by a short seam and they would team to shimmy around a bit when I was getting ready to sew the next seam. A quick little swipe of the glue stick on the paper held the fabric in place.

Tweezers. These Sew Easy Tweezers came in one of my Sew Sampler boxes and I have loved it ever since. I use it often, but especially when I do paper foundation. The bent point and tiny tip really help tug those tiny pieces out of the stitching.

Cool Tools -

So those are some of my favorite tools for this kind of project. What about you? Do you foundation piece? If so, what are your favorite tools?

Happy Monday, all!




9 thoughts on “Cool Tool Monday”

  1. This is great. I just took a paper piecing class early this year and am so glad I did! So any tips to make it easier are appreciated. Glue — yes, great idea. Cutting mat — I have an old, small one now near my machine. Cutter — will have to get that tiny cutter out, the one that is otherwise not useful… Paper — I bought a big pad of newsprint, which was helpful for my first use of a long row of triangles for a border. I only needed to splice the paper in one place for each border. I drew it on rather than running through the printer. For another project I used the printer. My printer wants each piece of newsprint individually fed, which is kind of a pain, but not a big deal in the scheme of things.

    Thanks for the tips.

  2. I use most of the same tools as you. I looked for the newsprint locally and all I found were pieces too large to run through the printer. I’ll have to get online and order some because copy paper can be too heavy. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Wow, that is sure tiny pieces on your last photo!! Besides all your great tool ideas you have, I also use an Add An Eighth ruler for the minuscule paper piecing.

  4. Excellent tool tips! I also use a stiff card (those annoying ones that come in magazines or the larger ones, that I cut in half, that tend to fill up your mailbox) to fold the seam back on and then place my add a quarter ruler over it. The added stiff card makes a better grip for the ruler to stay put while I trim the seam.

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