Ruthann's Freezer Paper On Top Method
for Hand Piecing Miniature Quilt Blocks

This method is perfect for hand piecing miniature quilt blocks such as Dear Jane and Dear Hannah.


  1. Pin cushion with straw needles, ultra-fine pins, and appliqué pins

  2. Aurifil cotton thread

  3. Full-sized fabric scissors

  4. Paper scissors

  5. Embroidery scissors

  6. Iron

  7. Work surface/ironing surface (I use a 12-inch piece of marble covered with flannel)

  8. Background fabric

  9. Focus fabric

  10. Freezer paper

  11. Highlighter

  12. Sharpie

  13. Dear Jane block ruler

  14. Rotary cutter (not shown)


This tutorial shows the Dear Jane block J-3, Rick's Volleyball Net

  1. Print or trace the block onto freezer paper and mark it in the following way:

a. Use a Sharpie to put hash marks on the edge of

    every piece that is an outside piece.

b. Make registration marks on curved pieces


c. Mark grain lines (optional).

d. Number the pieces.

e. Put a dot on each piece that will be focus fabric.

f.  If the block can be more easily pieced in

    sections, use a highlighter to mark divisions.

  1. Cut the pieces apart and lay them out on your work surface. I use a 12-inch square of marble flooring wrapped in flannel, which is also my ironing surface for miniature blocks.

Note: If the block is complicated and you've marked divisions, cut and piece each section separately so pieces don't get lost.

  1. Iron the freezer paper pieces to the fabric. I like to fussy cut, and I am very conscious of matching lines and plaids. That's a personal preference, but I like the way the resulting blocks look

(Shameless plug for Brenda Papadakis' Dear Jane fabric!)

  1. Cut out the fabric pieces making sure to have about 1/4 inch seam allowance on the edges of all inner pieces, and at least 1/2 inch seam allowance on the outer edges of all outer pieces (those you marked with hash marks). Assemble them on your work surface.
  1. Hand sew the fabric pieces together. For larger sections, pin at regular intervals. Match the edges of the freezer paper, and put your needle in exactly at the corner of the two pieces of freezer paper, and end at the next corner.

Note: Don't sew into the seam allowances. This way the centers of pinwheels or stars can "twirl" on the back, lessening the bulk, and inset or "Y" seams are simpler to do.

Note: Do not remove any freezer paper until you are completely finished with the block.

  1. Iron as you go using a dry iron -- although you can finger press if you're on the road.
  1. If you made registration marks, make sure to match them as you sew.
  1. If necessary, sew the block in sections, then assemble the sections.
  1. When the block is done, if you've matched your FP edges exactly (which is really easy to do!), it will be perfect, and it will always be large enough because you've added that additional 1/2 inch on the outer edges.
  1. Now for the reveal. Remove all of the freezer paper and admire your masterpiece!

Here is the back.

Note: For appliqué blocks, I use chalk to mark the block size on the foundation fabric and to mark where appliqué pieces go. Then I use the freezer paper on top method for each appliqué piece and appliqué into place.

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