Most quilters produce and arrange paper piecing templates as mirror images of the desired quilt block. This is because both English paper piecing and foundation paper piecing techniques require the quilter to place the templates on the wrong side of the fabric.
In English paper piecing, the quilter creates each shape by wrapping fabric around the template and basting. He then seams the shapes together to form the quilt block and removes the paper. Hexagons, trapezoids, diamonds, squares and triangles are all popular shapes used with this technique. A popular example of a quilt block made using this method is Grandmother's Flower Garden, which is a cluster of at least seven hexagons sewn together in a circular pattern.
English paper piecing often requires multiple copies of the same template. Many quilters produce their own templates using paper, template plastic or freezer paper. Those experienced with this method of paper piecing discourage the use of a copier to duplicate templates because most copiers do not offer the high level of precision necessary to obtain accurate results.
In foundation paper piecing, the quilter sews fabric to the back of a paper template. This template is the mirror image of either a quilt block or an entire quilt. The quilter removes the paper after the template is no longer needed. Thin paper, such as newsprint, is a popular choice for template material because removal of the template can cause seams to loosen.