Today I want to share with you how I English Paper Piece.(EPP) I began experimenting with this technique early on in my Quilting life and fell in love with it! Here is how I do it and I hope this inspires you to give it a try as it is super easy and great fun.
I started with hexagons and still love them. They are a great starting point for EPP and allow you to learn the basic technique.
You can buy ready made paper templates from the UK from the lovely Jesse, owner of Sew and Quilt or in the US from paperpieces.com. Alternatively you can create your own, by creating your template and then printing it off onto copy paper and cutting out. I tend to use this method far more because I can get the exact size and shape of template I need and it is free! Incomptech is a great site for creating hexagons and other geometric shapes.
- Using a template, cut out the fabric you need leaving at least a quarter inch seam allowance around the template.
- Basting - is when you attach the template to the fabric either by washable glue or using a large tacking stitch taking care NOT to go through the paper template and just catching the fabric. I use both methods but when I have a large pile of templates to baste I always go for a prittstick of sewline glue pen.
- Once all your templates are basted, it is time to join them. Traditionally, the stitch used for this is called the "Whip stitch". It is quick and easy and if you use a good quality thread, the stitches can hardly be seen on the right side. I like to use Aurifil 50wt thread as it is strong, cotton and fine. Experiment until you find the right thread for you! With this stitch you just want to be catching the edges of the fabric and NOT going through the papers as this will cause problems removing templates when finished. I made a little (ropey) video to show you the basic stitch in action.
- You continue to use the whip stitch to join all the edges to your central hexagon and then return to join the remaining unsewn edges together. DO NOT BE AFRAID to bend your templates here. They will forgive you! and tend to bounce back into shape nicely! Sometimes bending them is unavoidable.
- A wonder clip is a great little extra hand when your hands are feeling tired with gripping so try that out too.
- And basically that is it! Once your project is finished you can remove all your paper templates usually.
- If not too distorted, these templates can be stored and re used if you wish.