Monday, 30 July 2012

what I have learned about English Paper Piecing


  • English Paper Piecing otherwise known as EPP.

HEALTH WARNING!
EPP can be addictive!


I discovered EPP quite early on in my quilting journey through blog land.  I found the simple wrapping of fabric around papers and hand stitching a very satisfying and simple road into creating wonderfully complex looking creations and immense satisfaction at what I was able to produce with a few simple pieces of equipment.  This was before I had the full quilters tool kit of rotary cutter, various rulers, mat and whatever other notions I could justify buying!!

My first hexagon project -


I am no authority on this method but I have learned some things that suit me best and I want to share them with you and how much I love EPP! 

  • The Quilting Police will not turn up at your home and arrest you if you modify your method slightly to suit you!  Bloggers all over blog land have their own tips, techniques and wisdom to share.  It is useful to check out their blogs and what they prefer and then find what YOU prefer to do through making things. I'm a ginger monkey,  Self sewn, Lily's quilts.

  • I love the accesibility of EPP.  You don't even need a sewing machine to do or any fancy equipment and you can create the most beautiful things!  I love the connection it brings about with women (and men of course - Quiltdad, Thomas Knauer, Dan Rouse are men who love to quilt!) of the past who would create huge quilts in this simple way.  

  • I am frugal ( cheap!) and make my own templates but you can buy them for great value from Paper Pieces.com.  You can also print them off from various websites.  I use letter writing paper which is like cartridge paper almost.  Basildon Bond.

  • glue a dot in the middle of the template. Prittstick does fine, and stick to fabric or pin in place but I like the sticky stuff.  The papers are easy to remove if you just use a small dot.  Other people glue baste the fabric to the templates using fabric glue and this cuts down the amount of time needed with sewing.  Instead of using a large bating stitch they use glue and then stitch the pieces together.  

  • Aurifil, Aurifil, Aurifil for whip stitching the pieces together.  It is very smooth, doesn't tangle and no beeswax needed to prevent that, it barely shows  up your stitching on the right side of your project.  It is the King of threads in my humble opinion! 



  • it is flexible. You do need to have accurate templates but if a tiny bit is out it is not end of the world.  Aim for accuracy but fabric can be manipulated. 

  • I cut the shapes from fabric.  don't want to waste fabric.  Others cut squares, again personal choice! 

  • great for scraps.  I keep all my scraps!  Frugal remember!

  • encourages creativity. You can design your own patterns and mess about with the layout of shapes. 

  • satisfying portable project.  I keep my EPP bits in this lunch box while others use pouches which are great to just throw in your handbag and take to the park if you have kids!



I have re- learned the names of lots of shapes I forgot I knew; Hexagons, octagons, pentagons, rhombus ( diamonds) and so on.  I can now tell my kids with authority of that is a ..... shape rather than having to double check! 

You do need perserverance to keep going.  It is wonderful to see a project come together but it does take time.

Katy from I'm a ginger monkey has an awesome hexagon quilt along going on just now.  I had too much else going on to join in but take a look at all the wonderful EPPing going on as a result of her inspiring work.  


So there you go!  Why I love EPP.  So what do you love about EPP?  Or if you have yet to try then please do and let me know how you get on!
Collette xxxx

Oh there are some wonderful books out there too you can get with inspiring projects.   This one is on my wish list! -



10 comments:

  1. Really good post Collette - I avoided EPP for many years but am now a convert. It makes a good holiday project.

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  2. I love EPP!!! LOVE IT!!! I did so much when I wasn't machine sewing and have a whole 3 batches worth of two sizes of hexies and some diamonds! I love making them. I too make my own templates from scrap paper. I glue dot then baste. I also re-use my templates again and again! =D

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  3. You're right C, it is addictive! That book is on my wish list too! Jxo

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  4. I love EPP too and have been making bags out of hexagons this year as presents using the pattern in Cath Kidston's Sew book. Hexa Go Go is on my wishlist too.

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  5. Yep EPP is definitely addictive! I've had problems using aurifil leading me to wonder if I have a dodgy spool.

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  6. You are right - it is addictive, and I also agree about Aurifil - great for whipstitching. I love EPP!

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  7. You are so right! I have only tried the hexagons and LOVE the samples you have at the top of your post! beautiful! Johanna

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  8. Great post! I totally agree!

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  9. This is such a great post, you have a lovely flowing style which makes me want to read on ... Lovely EPP too ...

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