Tear Away

June 6, 2011

I’m not a huge fan of paper (foundation) piecing, but for some projects its a must. I typically choose it when I want great accuracy in my piecing.

Most often this is when I’m working on a Mariner’s Compass quilt, because I’ve discovered a way to draft compasses any shape and any size with simple paper folding techniques.

For this I use newsprint. “Roll ends” of newsprint can be found at most newspaper offices for very little expense (yielding a good amount of large paper!).

I find the newsprint tears off easily after stitching.

While I was in Paducah I purchased a pack of EQ Printables. The sheets can go through a printer and are supposed to be easy to tear away. Have you tried it? What do you think?

There are currently so many options I haven’t tried: other tear aways, wash aways, heat aways. I don’t have the time (or inclination :-) to try them all, so help me please!

What’s your favorite?

Any you would avoid?



  1. The class I took in Paducah with Linda Hahn used EQ Printables and the idea is that you leave it in the project. No tearing… no washing. It is like having a light interfacing in your block. It worked great for me!

  2. I’ve been working on a Bella Bella mosaic type piece for a while now and am using light weight computer paper for the small pieces that need a daub of glue stick and a light interfacing type for other areas of the quilt. Tearing out the paper in the seams from small pieced areas takes time, but necessary. Will use as a wall hanging, I think. If I were making a medallion for a quilt, I would use the water soluble product that can go into the printer. Brand names, I don’t recall. Probably bought them at Joann Fabrics. Hope this helps, bonnie

  3. I’ve not tried EQ Printables (though I love all things EQ). I’ve also used newsprint which I found at an office supply store in reams of 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets which was great for printing, however the ink smeared on it. I really like Ranae Merrill’s translucent foundation piecing paper which is lightweight and easy to tear away. The price is also very reasonable.

  4. My favorite is light-weight vellum. It holds together when sewing yet tears easily. It can be purchased from paper companies at a reasonable price.

    The one I dislike is June Tailor’s Perfect Piecing. It claims to tear away easily but it didn’t. It is also expensive.

  5. Carol Doak’s paper is similar to newsprint ends and goes through printer nicely and tears off well. George Sciliano sells a product that stays in. He uses it on those tiny quilts he makes. It softens when washed but doesn’t wash away. If you can put up with items staying a little more stiff, (because I don’t wash the small pieces) I like sewing on it. Don’t know how it compares to the EQ printables. Sewing on a muslin base is my least favorite unless the muslin has been really well starched.

  6. The following comment was emailed to me from Laurie Prentice-Dunn. I thought the info was helpful and wanted to include it here. Chris

    “I tried the EQ Printables foundation sheets and decided that just using regular paper worked better for me and tore away easier than these. I also tried leaving the foundation in my piece but when I washed the quilt the result was not as pleasing as just taking away the foundation. So – I’ve got a couple of packs of these sheets here and haven’t used them – since – ’05 I think!

    I actually like to do foundation piecing. I love the programs that allow me to choose the size and to print out multiples on my paper. Of course I set my stitch length very short and that helps the paper to be weakened and tear away more easily. But – regular old copy paper suits me for these.

    I have also used “doctor paper” (the white paper on rolls that are on examining tables) that I draw my own design on – works great. And I’ve used drafting paper which is similar to parchment paper – both work well also for me.”

  7. I use the light weight vellum. Also, because it is see thru you can see where to position your fabric. It’s the best.

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