Foundation Paper Piecing Quick Tip (Quilting Tutorial)

If you are new to foundation paper piecing or an advanced paper piecing guru, you can benefit from this quick tip.  This quick tip is best used on foundation paper piecing patterns that have multiple fabrics and can be used with beginner paper piecing patterns or advanced paper piecing patterns alike.

Paper Piecing Quick Tip - Marking Pattern

Need a foundation paper piecing tutorial? Click the link for our video and photo tutorial. Look at the end of this quick tip for foundation paper piecing projects.

Watch our video tutorial below or click the link if you prefer to watch Foundation Paper Piecing Quick Tip (Quilting Tutorial) in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

WHAT YOU NEED for this foundation paper piecing quick tip

  • Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern
  • Pencil

Foundation paper piece Pattern 

Below is a photo I took of a foundation paper piecing pattern for a butterfly. This butterfly charm block pattern is free from

This is a simple paper piecing pattern and the butterfly consists of four fabrics. 

  • Dark or Black for the Butterfly body
  • Purple for the main section of the bottom wings
  • Light Orange for the main section of the top wings
  • Dark Orange for the tips of the top and bottom wings
  • And a White for the background-color

The pieces below will make one butterfly.  The white sections are the background fabric and on this pattern, the butterfly sections are the darker colors.

Paper Piecing Quick Tip - Marking Pattern - Paper piece pattern

When I worked on the first butterfly paper pieced pattern, I got confused in where to place each fabric. I had all of the pieces piled up on my workspace by my sewing machine.

I ended up putting a few of the fabrics in the wrong location and had to take them out to replace them with the correct fabrics.

So, I used this technique for the next butterfly pattern.  I have also used this method with more complicated patterns too.

Mark your pattern

Before starting the next butterfly, I laid the cut-out pieces as shown above on my work table.  Using a pencil, I wrote small notes on the different pieces to indicate which color fabric to place in each section.

Paper Piecing Quick Tip - Marking Pattern

In the piece above, I wrote DKO for Dark Orange and LTO for Light Orange.  It's as simple as that!  

I marked all of the colored pieces on the pattern before starting any of the paper piecing.

This technique can work with almost any paper piecing pattern and help to keep track of where each fabric color goes.

Do you have a More Complicated Paper piece Pattern?  Another Tip!

I have worked on some super complicated foundation paper piecing patterns with even hundreds of pieces in one block and many fabrics.  An example of one is shown below.  This is a pattern for five light sabers. Paper Piecing Quick Tip Advanced Pattern photo

Instead of using letter codes on the pieces, numbers can be used when working on these harder patterns.  To use the numbers, get some numbered pins (look below for where to get some), and put a number pin in each fabric to identify it as that number.  The pattern in this example uses 16 different fabrics and they are lined up with a number pin in each.Paper Piecing Quick Tip Numbered Pins Closeup  

Then, mark the pattern with the corresponding numbers from the fabrics as shown below.  This also helps to keep track of each fabric, especially if you have similar fabric color shades in the same pattern.  I would never be able to keep track of the different shades of gray without labeling them.Paper Piecing Quick Tip Marked Pieces

This Star Wars themed Light Sabers block is free from


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

We hope you have enjoyed these quick tips for paper piecing.  Some other paper piecing tutorials and projects are below.

Learn how to Foundation Paper Piece with our video and photo tutorial.

Paper Pieced Table Runner

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Dritz 3010 Flat Flower Pins, 2-Inch (50-Count) #ad

These are inexpensive pins with flat heads. I have these and wrote letters and numbers on them myself with a marker. Affiliate Link to

Foundation Paper (Paper Piecing Paper) #ad

Size 8 1/2" x 11". 100 sheets per package. Now you can reproduce paper-piecing patterns whenever you wish with the quality and convenience of these papers Affiliate Link to Sold at Amazon

Gypsy Quilter ABC 123 Cool Pins #ad

These are quilters pins with ABC on one side and numbers on the other side. Affiliate Link to

Paper Piecing Quick Tip - Marking Pattern - pin

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