My Foundation Paper Piecing Setup

My Foundation Paper Piecing Setup

Quilting is one of those things where everyone has their own preferred way of doing things. However, sometimes it's nice to learn about how others do things so we can add them to our repertoire. For those of you newer to foundation paper piecing, I wanted to share how I like to set up my sewing room for FPPing efficiently. Photos are from a real life, lived-in sewing room :) I am not sponsored or paid to post about any of the products I link to in this post.

Sewing Machine

1.4mm or 1.6mm stitch length, needle in the middle. Pretty self explanatory! Having the needle in the middle of the presser foot helps me to stay directly on the solid sew lines while piecing. I find that 1.4mm works best when using printer paper, and 1.6mm when using foundation paper (Like Carol Doak's). I like using Wonderfil 80wt cottonized polyester thread to FPP because it's so thin and strong. (I also tend to use whatever is in my sewing machine which is more often than not Aurifil 50wt thread!)

Sewing Table

To the left (I'm right handed) of my machine on my sewing table is where I have one of my smaller cutting mats. On that mat I keep my rotary cutter and my add-a-quarter ruler, which is probably my favorite FPP tool. I stick a trash can directly under this cutting mat so I can swipe my trimmings straight into the trash. I trim a lot during FPP so I generate tons of fabric detritus which tend to get tracked around the entire house unless I take care of them immediately. I've been using a SewEzi portable sewing table for years and I highly recommend it. This table allows your sewing machine's sewing surface to sit flush with the table's surface with a custom acrylic insert.


A bit farther to the left of my cutting mat is where I have my wool pressing mat and my iron. I usually stand up to press just because I need a stretch, but if I have a ton of pressing to do in a big batch I'll place the wool pressing mat directly on my sewing table. Not recommending this, but it's also where I keep my iPad so I can watch my shows while I piece. I try not to watch anything too engrossing so I don't get too distracted. Project Runway All Stars is what I'm watching currently. Side note- I don't know why I have two irons.


This one is not exclusive to FPP but I just have to mention how much getting small storage containers has helped with the visual clutter that interrupts my creative flow. I found that storage containers designed for storing makeup work really well for all my little tools and notions and keep them within reach. I am definitely a person that generates "piles" so having a dedicated space for each item in my sewing room helps a ton. Usually, things are pretty messy in the midst of a project, but I like to totally straighten up before I transition to something new.

I recently purchased a storage cabinet that has pullout drawers to replace my old bins-on-a-shelf system. I've found that this new system hides my stuff well and the drawers are a better solution for fabric storage because it decreases the amount of rifling required to find anything. With the bins I would fail to put everything back together nicely.

Design Wall

Here's another one not exclusive to FPP. My design wall is extremely cheap. I have half of an R-Tech insulation panel that I stapled some sub-tier batting onto and installed on my wall in front of my sewing machine. It can hold individual blocks up without pinning. Once you have a full quilt top it tends to need some pins to help keep it up. Pictured is my Isla row of the month quilt in-progress.

So, do you have any tips on your sewing setup that you would like to share? I always like to hear about solutions my brain didn't even consider. Comment below!

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Thank you for this! I’m getting back to finishing some FPP and appreciated all your reminders. Thank you for keeping it real and not being so staged.

Allison C Bayer

This was great! I set up like a u with sewing machine in middle cutting station to the right, using a TV tray table with a 12 × 18 cutting mat, ironing board set up to chair height on the left, swivel desk chair, for me its swivel right trim center sew left press. tsp. That tv tray was a game changer its wood.

Nansi mc daniel

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