As a sewist we are often knee-deep in scrap fabric, so let’s grab those scraps and do some English Paper Piecing!
You may know that Nikki loves English Paper Piecing and she always has an EPP project on the go. During this time of self-isolation, it’s the most perfect way to pass the time and you most likely have everything you need.
English Paper Piecing essentially involves hand stitching pieces of fabric together using a stabilizing paper or cardstock to achieve the desired shape. A piece of fabric is cut in a geometric shape, people usually start with a hexagon, that is 1/4″ larger than the paper shape template.
The fabric is then is basted to the paper or cardstock shape, and the resulting fabric shapes are sewn together to create a design. Once your shape has been sewn to other shapes on each side you can safely go ahead and remove the paper or card.
Done completely by hand, this slow hand stitching method is increasing in popularity and is a wonderful sewing option in this current climate of isolation and quarantine. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers and scraps from previous projects while creating something beautiful which will last you a lifetime.
What you will need
All you need is your cotton fabric scraps, small scissors, thread, and paper hexagon shapes.
Any thread will do for both basting and for sewing your hexagons together and you can also use any needle. Particularly the thread you use for your basting can be any old thread as it is only used as a temporary hold and will eventually end up in the bin! As you become more experienced you may wish to choose very slim needles and special thread but it really isn’t necessary.
Fabric wise, 100% cotton is always best but this doesn’t just need to be quilting cotton. Think about fabrics you may have around the house, old clothes or bedding that could be repurposed into a quilt. Alternatively, a Fat Quarter Bundle will give you enough to get started with. Avoid anything with stretch or anything too thick to piece with your needle when the paper is in place.
You can print off your own hexagon shapes at home using Printablepaper.com
If you don’t have access to a printer, then why not buy them already printed and cut out for you. Websites such as Sew & Quilt have great quilting supplies and specialize in hand-sewing and English Paper Piecing.
A few years ago we made a video tutorial on how to make your own hexagons for an English Paper Piecing quilt over on Youtube. It shows you what you need and how to create your first hexagons, finishing off by showing you how to sew them together. Check it out below.
Here is an English Paper Piecing quilt that Nikki made a few years ago for Rachel as her birthday present. It was made with matching fabric from the same Millefiore range and sew using 3/4″ hexagons (hexagons are measured across one of the sides, not across the middle).
If handsewing is just too slow for you then make sure to check out our Online Classes which will give you some fantastic quick projects to make.
We both love English Paper Piecing and it is just perfect for these strange days. So why not grab your scraps and fill your time keeping your hands busy making a beautiful handsewn quilt?
We would love to hear if you decide to give English Paper Piecing a try, do send us some pictures or tag us on social media.
Nikki & Rachel