English Paper Piecing

Recently, I began to explore some basic quilting through English Paper Piecing. Now, quilting is not something I am an expert on at all, but I really enjoyed this simple hand sewing technique and wanted to share some of the useful information I have found with you.

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So what is English Paper Piecing or EPP? Reportedly dating back to the 1700s, this hand sewn technique originated in England and was a way of using scrap paper to create quilts. The quilt shapes are created using fabric wrapped around paper pieces, which are then joined together to create a block. The most popular shape for EPP is a hexagon, but the technique has since evolved to include stars, petals and many other tessolating shapes.

This is a portable craft as all you need it paper, fabric scraps (quilting cotton is best), a needle and thread. Many people use a cutting machine to make their shapes, or you can find shops selling pre cut hexagons and shapes. The fabric pieces should be larger than the paper pieces, so you can fold the edges around the paper and fix using a basting stitch. Some shops sell a handy glue pen to use if you aren’t keen on stitching.

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Once you have a few shapes basted to the paper, you can then sew the shapes together in the desired pattern. Take two shapes and place them right sides together and use a whip stitch along the edge, being careful not to sew through the paper. Repeat for the other sides of the shape. Once you have fixed all sides of your shape to another piece, you can remove the basting stitches and paper, which will have held everything together.

You can then think about sewing your shape onto a cushion front, tote bag or continue to make a large quilt! This is definitely a ‘slow craft’, but one that can be enjoyed on the go as well as at home. Have you tried Engilsh Paper Piecing?

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