Can I Sew Paper With My Sewing Machine?

Last Updated on June 7, 2023

If you’re passionate about sewing and paper crafts, you may have wondered if combining these two interests is possible. Can you sew paper with your trusty sewing machine?

Here, we will explore this intriguing question and the possibilities of sewing on paper. Let’s uncover the potential of this unique technique and discover how you can unleash your creativity in new and exciting ways!

Can I Sew Paper With My Sewing Machine
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Can I sew paper with my sewing machine?

Yes, you can sew paper with your sewing machine. Sewing on paper can be a creative and fun way to add unique embellishments to various projects, such as booklets, collages, and greeting cards.

While you don’t need any special thread, needle, or foot specifically for sewing on paper, there are a few tips that can help you achieve better results:

  • Needle Selection: Using a standard universal needle when sewing on paper is generally recommended. This type of needle works well with most paper thicknesses and provides a clean stitch.
  • Thread Choice: Regular sewing thread can be used for sewing on paper. However, if you want to add an extra touch of creativity, you can also experiment with decorative threads or even metallic threads to achieve different effects.
  • Stitch Length and Tension: Adjust the stitch length and tension on your sewing machine according to the paper’s thickness. Thicker papers may require longer stitch lengths and slightly looser tension settings to prevent the paper from tearing.
  • Test on Scrap Paper: Before sewing on your actual project, it’s a good idea to test the stitching on a scrap piece of paper. This allows you to fine-tune your machine settings and ensure that the stitches look as desired.
  • Feed the Paper Smoothly: When sewing on paper, guide it through the machine smoothly and avoid pulling or pushing it forcefully. Gentle and even pressure will help prevent the paper from wrinkling or tearing.
  • Clean Your Machine: Paper fibers can accumulate in your sewing machine, so cleaning them regularly is essential. Remove any paper dust or debris from the machine’s mechanisms to maintain its smooth operation.

Remember, sewing on paper may dull your needle faster than sewing on fabric, so it’s a good practice to have spare needles on hand. With a few adjustments and a bit of practice, you can enjoy the creative possibilities that sewing on paper offers.

Is it okay to sew on paper?

Yes, it is okay to sew on paper. Sewing and embroidering on paper can be a creative and cost-effective way to enhance various crafts. Whether you’re engaging in activities like teaching children to sew, embellishing greeting cards, or adding colorful elements to scrapbook pages, sewing on paper can yield beautiful results.

What paper can be sewn?

Manila paper is a type of paper that can be sewn. While it is commonly used as pattern paper for tracing sewing patterns, it is also suitable for sewing and dressmaking projects. Despite its fragility, it can withstand the sewing process when handled carefully. Sewing on Manila paper can help create and test patterns before cutting fabric, allowing for adjustments and modifications without wasting expensive materials.

What thread is used to sew paper?

 When sewing paper and cardboard, waxed nylon thread with a thickness of 0.8 mm is commonly used. The wax coating on the nylon thread helps to strengthen the thread and prevent it from fraying or breaking while sewing through the paper or cardboard material.

What tension should a sewing machine be on for paper?

When sewing with paper, setting your sewing machine’s tension at a lower setting is generally recommended. If your machine has an auto-tension setting, you can try using that, as many people find it suitable for paper projects. However, if your machine does not have an auto setting or you prefer manual control, you may need to experiment to find the best tension for your specific paper project.

Setting the tension at 1 or 2 is suggested as a starting point. This lower tension helps prevent the paper from becoming too tightly stitched or perforated. However, remember that different paper projects may have varying requirements, so testing and adjusting the tension is important.

By starting with a lower tension setting and gradually increasing it if needed, you can achieve a balance that allows the machine to stitch the paper without causing any tears or distortion. It’s always a good idea to practice on scrap paper before working on your actual project to ensure the desired results.

Can a sewing machine sew through cardboard?

No, a typical sewing machine is not designed to sew through cardboard. Sewing machines are specifically built to sew fabric and other soft materials. Sewing through cardboard can damage the machine’s needle, motor, and other components. It is best to use appropriate tools such as scissors, knives, or a box cutter for cutting and working with cardboard.

By using decorative stitches and variegated threads, you can add vibrant pops of color to your paper crafts, allowing for unique and eye-catching designs. So go ahead and explore the creative possibilities of sewing on paper!

How do you use sewing paper?

Using sewing paper can be a fun and creative way to add unique touches to your paper crafts, such as cards, journals, and scrapbooking projects. While I’m not a sewing professional, I can provide you with some tips and tricks here:

  1. Choose a Good Quality Sewing Machine: Invest in a sewing machine that is suitable for sewing on paper. Look for a machine with positive reviews and features that meet your needs. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but ensure it is of decent quality to avoid frustration.
  2. Set the Tension and Stitch Length: Adjust the tension on your sewing machine to around 3.5. This setting may vary depending on your specific machine, so consult your manual for guidance. Select a stitch length of approximately 2.0 to 2.5 for sewing on paper. This spacing between stitches will help prevent tearing.
  3. Use the Right Needle: A standard needle works well for sewing on paper. However, some crafters prefer using a heavy-duty needle, especially with thicker materials. Keep your needle clean by wiping it with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol after sewing with glue or adhesive materials.
  4. Clean and Maintain Your Machine: Regularly clean your sewing machine to prevent dust buildup. Remove the dust and debris from the bobbin area and surrounding areas. Proper maintenance ensures smooth operation and extends the life of your machine.
  5. Choose the Right Thread: Use high-quality threads suitable for your sewing machine. Gutterman is a popular brand that works well for many crafters. Select threads that complement your project and come in a variety of colors.
  6. Adjusting Stitch Options: Experiment with different stitching options on your sewing machine. For paper projects, a straight stitch or zigzag stitch often works best. Play around with the stitch length and width to achieve different effects and secure your paper layers.
  7. Sewing in Layers: When working with delicate or multi-layered materials like tissue paper or collages, sew in layers. Start by sewing a base layer to hold everything in place. Then, add additional layers while being mindful of potential thread entanglements.
  8. Take It Slow: When sewing on paper, go at a slower pace to prevent the paper from getting caught in the needle. This is particularly important when working with tissue paper or delicate materials.

Can you machine embroider on paper?

Yes, you can machine embroider on paper. While running your machine at full speed is possible, reducing the speed if your machine allows it is recommended. Some individuals prefer embroidering on cardstock at a slower speed as it tends to result in a cleaner and crisper outcome.

When embroidering on paper, it is advisable to use a sharp needle. A sharp needle is designed to penetrate the paper fibers more easily, creating precise and clean embroidery stitches. Using a sharp needle helps prevent tearing or damaging the paper during embroidery.

What is sewing paper called?

The sewing paper mentioned in the provided information is called “manila pattern paper.” It is also known by other names such as “oak tag” or “tagboard.”

This particular type of paper is favored in sewing studios due to its durability and ability to withstand small nicks caused by rotary cutters. Manila pattern paper is particularly useful for creating slopers, as it can be used to trace and transfer designs onto other pieces of fabric or paper.

What is an alternative to sewing paper?

An alternative to sewing paper can be found in various materials that offer similar properties and can be used for pattern-making, tracing, or creating mock-ups. Here are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Parchment Tracing Paper (Roll): Parchment tracing paper is a translucent paper that allows you to trace patterns accurately. It is durable and can withstand repeated use. The transparency of parchment tracing paper allows for easily transferring patterns onto fabric, making it a popular choice among sewers and pattern makers.
  • Wrapping/Shipping Paper: Wrapping or shipping paper can be a cost-effective alternative for sewing paper. It is often available in large rolls, providing ample surface area for pattern-making and tracing. While not as transparent as tracing paper, it can still be used to transfer patterns and create templates.
  • All-Purpose White Paper Roll: An all-purpose white paper roll, commonly used in art and craft projects, can serve as a substitute for sewing paper. Although not as translucent as tracing paper, it offers a sturdy pattern-making surface and can be easily marked with pencils or markers. It is readily available and affordable, making it a convenient option for sewers on a budget.

What is a fabric paper?

A fabric paper is a unique material created by combining paper and fabric using watery glue. This fusion results in a versatile material that possesses the characteristics of both paper and fabric. It can be an interesting and creative medium to work with for various craft projects.

To create fabric paper, you will need freezer paper or wax paper to cover your work surface. The process involves applying a watery glue to bind the fabric and paper layers together. This adhesive mixture allows the fabric to adhere to the paper, creating a sturdy and flexible composite material.

Fabric paper offers several advantages in crafting and creative projects. It combines the texture and appearance of fabric with the structure and versatility of paper. This unique material can be easily cut, folded, and sewn, making it suitable for various applications, such as scrapbooking, card-making, mixed media art, and textile-based crafts.

The combination of fabric and paper adds dimension, texture, and visual interest to your projects. You can use fabric paper to create embellishments, backgrounds, journal covers, or even fabric-based artwork. It allows you to incorporate different fabric patterns, colors, and textures into your designs, providing a tactile and visually appealing element.

How do you stitch on paper?

To stitch on paper, you can follow these three easy methods:

Using an Embroidery Stencil Kit

  • Choose a design from the embroidery stencil kit or create your own.
  • Place the stencil over the paper and use a paper piercer or a brad setter to poke holes according to the guidelines on the stencil.
  • Thread a hand-sewing needle with craft thread.
  • Start from the bottom of the paper and come up through the first hole, then go down through the second hole, creating a backstitch.
  • Repeat the back stitch by coming up through the next hole and going back through the previous hole until you complete the design.
  • Tie a knot at the end of the thread, or secure it with washi tape, and trim any excess thread.

Tracing and Poking Holes

  • Trace the desired design onto the paper using a pencil.
  • Use a paper piercer to poke holes along the traced lines as guidelines for stitching.
  • Thread a hand-sewing needle with craft thread.
  • Start sewing from one end of the design, going up through the first hole and back down through the second hole, creating a backstitch.
  • Continue the back stitch by going up through the next hole and back down through the previous hole until you finish the design.
  • Tie a knot and trim the thread.

Writing with a Pencil

  • Write or draw your design directly on the paper using a pencil.
  • Slide a piercing mat underneath the paper to protect the surface.
  • Use a paper piercer to poke holes along the lines of the design, spacing them closer for curves and further apart for straight lines.
  • Erase the pencil lines using a white eraser.
  • Thread a hand-sewing needle with craft thread.
  • Start sewing from any point, connecting the dots by going in the shortest distances around the design.
  • Tie knots at the end, trim the excess thread, and secure the stitched paper onto another surface if desired.

These methods allow you to add hand stitching to paper, providing a unique and creative touch to your projects, such as scrapbooking, card making, or journaling.


In conclusion, sewing on paper can open up a world of possibilities for creative individuals who enjoy experimenting with different art forms. While it’s important to consider the limitations and precautions associated with this technique, there is no denying the unique and stunning results that can be achieved.

So, the next time you want to add an extra charm to your papercrafts or create beautiful handmade cards or art pieces, don’t hesitate to try sewing on paper. Let your sewing machine be your creative tool for fabric and paper, and let your imagination run wild!

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