Using paper as a foundation for piecing quilts has many advantages. However, does one type of paper have more advantages than another? Some paper choices are lightweight printer paper, newsprint and vellum. This article discusses the advantages of paper piecing with vellum instead of the other types of papers.
Using vellum for paper piecing solves two problems that newsprint or regular paper have. First of all, newsprint or printer paper is difficult or impossible to see through, making it difficult to position fabric as you piece. Second, when removing newsprint or printer paper, little feather-like pieces of paper are left in the seams. Because many quilters don't like to leave any paper in the quilt, these feather-like pieces must be tediously removed with tweezers or by other, time-consuming means. Recently I tried using vellum and I really like it. Here is what I discovered.
Buying Vellum for Paper Piecing
I searched the internet for places to buy vellum for paper piecing. I found it available online only a Staples and Office Depot. Look for translucent vellum, 17 lb weight. Higher weights or premium weight will be too heavy for paper piecing. Translucent means you can see the fabric behind it. I did see an Office Depot brand but the only other brand I found was Jam Paper and Envelope. I also found on Amazon. Everywhere the price for 100 sheets of 8-1/2″ x 11″ was around $17.00
Advantages of Paper Piecing With Vellum
Here are some pictures illustrating the advantages of paper piecing with vellum.
Step 1 of paper piecing is to place the Section 1 fabric under Section 1. Use vellum for paper piecing and there's no question that the entire Section 1 is covered.
In the next step, you can clearly see that Section 2 fabric (blue and white) covers all of Section 2 as you place the fabric for sewing.
Section 3 fabric covering Section 3 before sewing.
Once you piece a section and press the fabric, you can clearly see that Section 3 is covered after piecing.
My Favorite Feature
I think my favorite feature for using vellum for paper piecing has got to be tearing the fabric after piecing.
All of these sections remained fully intact after tearing them off the unit. Even some of the smaller triangles shown in Sections 4 and 6 remained on the paper. Notice how the points are still intact. No tweezers required.
Inkjet or laser printer? I used both to test the printing. The Jam Paper website includes this product information for 17lb translucent vellum:
Clear Paper is printer-friendly on laser printers. Inkjet printers may not work well so be sure to check your printer's capabilities.
I used the inkjet printer first. It is faster than my inkjet but it really heats up the paper. You can smell the vellum in the are but it didn't linger I needed 104 pages so I printed about 20 at a time and let the printer cool down between batches. The vellum did fine in my inkjet printer. It does not heat up but it prints much slower. I printed 40 at a time with no problems.
You might ask if vellum dulls the rotary cutter blade. Just like any paper, vellum will dull your rotary blade. The vellum I found is acid free so it shouldn't cause any harm to your fabric if left over time.
I will continue to use vellum when I make copies for paper piecing because it made such a difference. Try it for yourself to see how you like it.
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