There’s another alternative to real paper in addition to the dissolving paper I reviewed last week. Linda Hahn introduced me to a thin polyester sheet that works just like paper but can be left in the quilt! So here’s the scoop on it.
First, a view of the back of one of my blocks made with the polyester “paper”.
You probably can see that I’ve torn off a tiny bit of the non-paper in the upper right corner. I did that just to prove I could. So if you really, really want to, you can remove the foundation. (But why?)
I found a similar non-woven foundation sold by June Tailor. Linda’s are available through her website at 25 sheets for $10–considerably less expensive than the dissolving paper I reviewed last week. I found the June Tailor on Amazon at 50 sheets for about $17, an even better value.
Both these products are just a little stiff. It makes them run through the printer well and they are see-through enough to be easy to trace on.
I washed scraps of each. They didn’t appear to absorb water, and there was no change in texture, no loss of either ink from my printer or from the Pigma pen. The material came out exactly as it went in, with the exception that the washer wadded it up a bit, resulting in wrinkles.
I washed the pieces with the 1″ test squares on them so I could verify no shrinkage, and it’s good on that score as well.
I searched to see if I could find a similar product in larger sheets, but the only candidate, Pellon 911, seemed heavier and stiffer.
The only potential problem with these polyester sheets is that they do crackle a little if you crunch them. I don’t think they’ll do that when they’re sewn inside a quilt, but eventually I’ll find out. I’ll let you know.
And what of the original alternative, paper for paper piecing? There are lots of opinions out there. You can buy Carol Doak’s foundation paper, which seems to me to be the same as newsprint paper, which is cheaper by the ream.
Some people swear that ordinary printer paper tears off more cleanly.
And Elizabeth (OPQuilt.com) uses 17 lb Vellum. I didn’t know what Vellum is, so I asked Ms. Google. It’s “parchment” made from calf skin. I have seen it, and it’s lovely in texture and certainly transparent enough for tracing. I expect it tears out well, since Elizabeth goes to the trouble to find it. Her only complaint is that it’s difficult to find in quantity. Well, Elizabeth, I found I could order larger quantities from one of the big box office supply stores–for just under $100 a ream!!!
If you’re interested in the New York Beauty block, Elizabeth is continuing her series of free blocks, one each Wednesday in June. You can start at her blog or go directly to her Payhip store. But go now if you want the blocks, because I expect they’ll be combined into a paid pattern eventually.
I modified her latest block, but here’s my version: