English Paper Piecing (or EPP for short) is a quilting technique that sounds more complicated than the name suggests. In fact, it’s quite simple!
The Formal Definition: English Paper Piecing is a hand quilting method that allows quilters to sew intricate and complex shapes with the aid of acrylic and paper templates. EPP involves using these templates to help stabilize fabric before it is sewn together to form blocks, which are then sewn together to make quilts! English Paper Piecing Quilts are extremely popular due to the ability to make intricate designs that have very few long straight edges or sides. But there’s more to EPP’s popularity…
The quilts look spectacular! Not only do they look spectacular, but the process it takes to complete an English Paper Piecing quilt is cherished by the community.
In this article, I’ll go into more detail about why English Paper Piecing is such a popular quilting technique for brand new and experienced quilters with the following chapters:
1. The benefits of English Paper Piecing
2. The 10 Simple Steps It Takes to Make an English Paper Piecing Quilt
3. Getting started with your first English Paper Piecing Pattern
4. Selecting an English Paper Piecing Kit or Pattern
5. Additional supplies and resources for your next project
By the end of this article, I hope you’ll have the confidence and inspiration to get started first English Paper Piecing Pattern!
A sneak peak of the most popular English Paper Piecing Patterns!
Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein
View the most popular quilts from Willyne’s Millefiori Quilts 1, 2 and 3! Make sure you view our Complete Guide To The La Passacaglia Quilt that includes written and video tutorials to help you get started with your first Millefiori Quilt!
Tula Pink Patterns
All of Tula Pink’s English Paper Piecing Patterns in one location! Make sure you view our quilt kits for each pattern that feature Zuma, All Stars, Solids, Tabby Road, and More!
Brimfield Awakening Series
Designed by Kim Marticucci, the Brimfield Block Series is named after the famous Antique Roadshow “Brimfield”. Brimfield Awakening was the first pattern launched in the series and Brimfield Meadow is the newest pattern that was recently launched!
Individual English Paper Piecing Patterns
Several of the most popular patterns by individual designers.
Kim McLean Patterns
Looking for a challenge? Kim’s patterns are the perfect mix of complexity and creativity that will allow you to make a beautiful quilt with a mix of fabrics. Kim’s patterns feature and are sewn in Kaffe Fassett Fabric.
Katja Marek Patterns
Katja Marek’s first English Paper Piecing Quilt, The New Hexagon, was a raging success. View all of her books and English Paper Piecing Patterns below!
Sue Daley English Paper Piecing
Sue Daley has over 100 English Paper Piecing Patterns! Known for loyal following in Australia – she has an extensive series of tutorials to help get started with her most popular quilt patterns.
Jen Kingwell is another quilter from Australia known for her hand piecing technique.
Carl Hentsch Patterns
Carl is well known for his machine and foundation paper piecing quilt patterns but now has a line of English Paper Piecing Patterns!
Sharon Burgess (Lillabelle Lane) Patterns
Another designer from Australia, Sharon recently launched her first book which contains over 12 English Paper Piecing Patterns. At TheDIYAddict, we carry her 3 most popular patterns below!
What is English Paper Piecing?
English Paper Piecing (commonly called EPP) is a method of stabilizing fabric around a heavy paper shape before sewing the pieces together to create intricately pieced designs. It provides excellent accuracy and precision piecing.
English Paper Piecing originated in England and was called Mosaic or honeycomb patchwork. In the late 1700’s, when all things English became popular in the U.S., the term English Paper Piecing was coined. The most popular shape has always been the hexagon because it makes good use of fabric scrap and is easy to assemble. The most recognizable hexagon pattern is Grandmother’s Flower Garden, which became popular in the 1920-1930s.
Even though they sound similar, Foundation Paper Piecing, is not the same thing! Foundation paper piecing involves printing a light, weight paper template of the required block and then sewing the fabric directly on to paper foundation template. Once the pieces are all sewn to the paper pattern, the paper is torn from the back of the block and the block is used in the normal way.
English Paper Piecing is often referred to as Hand Piecing or hand sewing and is a traditional sewing method that utilizes a running stitch to sew fabric pieces together. The hand sewer sews a ¼” seam allowance with needle and thread by, beginning a ¼” from the end of the shape, loading stitches on the needle and finishing ¼” away from the end of the shape by pulling the needle through the loaded stitches.
What Are The Benefits of English Paper Piecing and Why Do Quilters love It?
English Paper Piecing offers us an easy way to precision piece shapes together. No sewing machine is needed. It is relaxing and very portable. Road trips, air travel, TV time are all opportunities to create with EPP. Fussy cutting to feature individual motifs gives your EPP project a unique look. EPP is a great use for fabric scraps! But one of the favorite features of EPP (short for English Paper Piecing) is the ability to fussy cut intricate shapes from your fabric! More on that in Chapter 12.
I don’t like Engish Paper Piecing and It looks Too Complicated
EPP looks challenging at first, but it’s much easier than people think! One of the big issues is that quilters transitioning from a machine to hand sewing have trouble with the stitching around sharp points and seams. Traditional stitches include the Whip Stitch and Running Stitch – but we’d like to introduce you to the ‘Flat Back Stitch’. The flat back stitch simplifies the process, helps with sewing curves, and makes your stitches invisible! Just ask the Crafty Planner! Some machine quilters are hesitant to get started, but after viewing our video on the flat back stitch, they can’t wait to start their first project!
Hide Your Stitches Using The Flat Back Stitch
English Paper Piecing Patterns and Fabric = English Paper Piecing Kits!
An English paper piecing kit is an excellent way to get started with EPP. EPP kits offer great value and ease of use. One of the best features of purchasing a kit is that it’s variations are designed to your liking, they includes fabric, and you can add to them from your stash!
What’s Included? It depends on the kit, but most kits include a pattern guide, acrylic templates, paper pieces, and fabric! One item to note is that even though most included a pattern guide, some quilts, such as the Millefiori Series require you to purchase the book separately.
What Kind of Fabric Is Usually Included? It ranges, at TheDIYAddict we only sell the top designers such include Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Elizabeth Hartman, Lizzy House, and more.
How Should You Go About Choosing Your English Paper Piecing Kit? There is no right or wrong answer to this, it’s up to personal preference. We always suggest purchasing a kit based on the fabric and it’s variation design as the colors are the largest factor in quilting! (you’re your showing everyone your acrylic templates and paper pieces).
Which Patterns Offer Quilt Kits? We’re in the process of putting together more and more kits mostly weekly, sometimes daily. At the moment, all of our modern patterns have at least one quilt kit for sale.
Choosing Between 3/8″ and 1/4″ English Paper Piecing Templates and Paper Pieces
Acrylic EPP templates are available with either ¼” or 3/8” seam allowance, depending on your preference. For the beginner, the 3/8” seam allowance can be a little more forgiving. You can easily make your templates using quilter’s template plastic or cardboard. Acrylic EPP templates are used to cut your fabric with the least amount of waste and proper seam allowance.
EPP acrylic templates are available in a tremendous variety of shapes and sizes. Hexagons, elongated hexagons, half hexagons, one-third hexagons, pentagons, octagons, 8 point diamonds, 6 point diamonds, squares, houses, kites, jewels, trapezoids, Dresden plates, clamshells, Chrysanthemums, equilateral triangles, pyramids, apple cores, hearts, banners, and even custom manufactured shapes. Yes, companies will custom cut acrylic templates to your specifications.
Templates also come in various colors such as green, yellow, pink, purple, grey, clear, and red.
Which Ones Should You Choose? We always suggest clear templates over colored ones as they are easier to see your fabric with when you are fussy cutting!
Most online stores will allow you to select between 3/8″ and 1/4″ seam allowances.
Which Ones Should You Choose? For beginners, we always suggest 3/8″ Templates.
What Are Paper Pieces?
Paper Pieces are another important part of English Paper Piecing and make up a third of a pattern (with the first 2 being the pattern guide and acrylic templates). Paper Pieces are used to stabilize the fabric while glue basting. The papers come in many different sizes but are normally whit and are made with card stock or recycled paper. Cardstock is the preferred paper type as it’s more durable compared to recycled paper when it comes time to baste your shapes together.
Step by Step English Paper Piecing Tutorials To Help Get You Started!
EPP Video Tutorials
Our finest collection of English Paper Piecing tutorials for your liking. First, let’s start with our video series which will help you visual each step of the english paper Piecing Process. We definitely suggest watching our most popular video about the “Flat Back Stitch” which is used to hide your thread! Below our videos, is a step by step written guide as well as a general guide to popular questions such as “How Much Glue is Too Much For My Glue Basting”. Enjoy!
When you first receive your acrylic templates, they will have paper coding or adhesive on them which you will need to remove. The ideal way to do this is with an old needle or pin!
One of the biggest pain points of English Paper Piecing is hiding your stitches and sewing curves. The flat back stitch addresses both of these topics **Must Watch Video**
A quilters favorite; fussy cutting! English Paper Piecing is excellent for having an excuse to fussy cut your favorite fabrics!
Our video guide to wrapping and working with your paper pieces.
How to Mark Your Clear Templates So You Don’t Lose Them!
Save your fingers by thread snipping!
A helpful hint to save your bent needles!
Popular Tutorial Topics We thought We’d Discuss Due The Questions We Receive!
Choosing Your Fabric
English paper piecing designs benefit greatly when fabrics with strong contrast are used. Choose a representative range of fabric including light, medium and dark fabrics. Placing light shapes next to dark shapes can highlight both shapes. Fussy cutting individual designs or motifs from a fabric can create secondary designs when the pieces are sewn together. Don’t be afraid to play with stripes to create movement in your quilt. Use your acrylic template and a double mirror to audition motifs in your fabric before cutting.
Cutting Your Fabric
The acrylic template and rotary cutter are the easiest tools for cutting your fabric shapes. Simply square up your fabric, measure the width of your acrylic template, then cut a strip of fabric that width For example, if you are cutting a 1” hexagon, it has a width of 2 ½”, so cut a 2 ½” wide strip of fabric. Then, using the rotary cutter and acrylic template, cut your shapes by cutting around the acrylic template, then moving the template along the strip of fabric and cutting another shape until you run out of fabric. You can stack up a few strips of fabric and cut several pieces at once making quick work of cutting your fabric shapes.
Fussy cutting is a method of cutting a single motif or design from a fabric. Fussy cutting can highlight a particular motif from large scale fabrics. You can use your acrylic cutting template or a special fussy cutting finder template, with the center removed, that allows you to see the motif more easily. Move your acrylic template across your fabric to audition individual motifs until you see the motif you wish to use. Keep in mind the number of shapes you will need for each section of your design. Identify the repeats in your fabric. Is it a simple or a half step repeat that staggers the repeat? Ensure you have enough fabric for the number of motifs needed. The larger the repeat, (further apart) the more fabric needed. A half step repeat, 24” apart may require over 2 yards of fabric to obtain 6 motifs.
Using a China marker, mark small registration marks on the template for reference when cutting the next motif. OR, use a pencil, trace around the template and then cut on this line with scissors or rotary cutter. OR use your rotary cutter to carefully cut around the acrylic template. You can put a small piece of two-sided sticky tape on the bottom of your template that will adhere to the first fabric cut. Use this fabric to align the template to cut the next motif.
For accuracy, while gluing, simply punch a hole in the paper template then use a pin to hold the paper in place while you glue it, or put a small dab of glue on the fabric to hold the paper template in place before you begin gluing.
Getting Ready to Glue The Individual Shapes to the Paper Template
When covering a diamond or triangle paper template leave the ears of the fabric pointing out. All of the ears should be facing in the same direction, either clockwise or counter clockwise. This way the ears will nestle into rosettes on the back of the block after the diamonds or triangles are sewn together, keeping the bulk of the fabric down to a minimum. Do not sew the ears down or cut them off.
Glue basting is easy and quick and if you want to redo you simply peel the fabric from the paper piece and begin again. Center the paper template on your fabric, making sure each paper template lines up on the fabric piece as you desire. For fussy cut motifs, make sure the motif is centered on the paper template as you intended. Adjust as necessary. Once the motif is in place, you are ready to glue your fabric on the template. It is not necessary to have each motif exactly in the same place, as your eye will often make it look like it is perfectly placed.
Beginning along one edge of the paper template and using the edge of the glue pen, swipe a thin line of glue about 1/8” away from the edge of the paper template. Do not put glue too close to the edge of your paper template as this will making sewing the pieces together difficult. Fold the fabric over the top edge, wrap the fabric around the paper template and work around each side of the shape, applying glue and folding over the fabric as you go.
Sew basting is another option of stabilizing your fabric around the paper template. There are 2 methods of sew basting. The first, using a single strand of thread and needle, you simply hand sew through the fabric seam allowance and the paper template, wrapping the fabric around the paper template as you sew around the shape. Make sure that you stitch over the fold at each corner to secure your fabric. This method keeps your fabric securely around the paper template.
A second option is to pleat the fabric to hold it around the paper template. This method does not sew through the paper template and instead, you fold the fabric around 2 side of the paper piece, and make small stitches at the corner where the fabric folds over itself, sewing only through the fabric. Move to the next corner and fold the fabric around the paper piece and sew a few stitches there. Continue to move around your paper piece until you return to your beginning where you will secure your stitches with a small knot. When using this method, make sure your fabric is securely folded around the paper template to insure accuracy when piecing your shapes together.
Stitch along the edge of the shapes, using a fine thread and a #11 straw needle. If using the Flat Back stitch, lay the pieces flat and on the back side, stitch evenly along catching fabric from the two shapes as you go. Watch The DIY Addict’s tutorial video for instructions for this method. If using a whip stitch, place basted pieces face to face with wrong sides facing outward, align the pieces up evenly, and stitch along the edge. Knot one end of an 18” length of thread using a quilter’s knot or other large knot that keeps the thread from popping through your fabric. Using a single strand of thread (a double strand will more likely show) slide the needle beneath the seam allowance and come out at the point you wish to begin sewing. Sew only through the fabric, not the paper template. There should be a small channel along the edge of the folded fabric that your needle can pick into. Catch a small bite of fabric, but more than a few threads for stability. Stitch about 15-20 stitches per inch. You do not need to cut your thread at the end of sewing each shape, simply align the next 2 shapes and continue sewing.
At the beginning and end of each shape, knot your thread by passing the thread through a stitch loop twice before cinching the stitch closed, and then sew back 2-4 stitches to secure your knot. That way you can easily remove individual shapes later if necessary.
Small, close stitches will show less on the right side. You can use your fingers, low tact tape or small clips to hold the pieces in place as you sew. Using a small clip will take the pressure off of your fingers and hand and help you avoid holding the pieces too tightly, which can result in sore fingers or hands.
Avoid having to sew together deep “V” seams. Often, you can avoid them simply by breaking your work into shaped sections that keep the seam lines to be sewn relatively straight. For example, if sewing together a cluster of hexagons, you can sew the outer circle together before attaching it to the center hexagon. Be sure to leave one seam open to allow stitching around the center hexagon and then “out” of the circle, so that you are not struggling to add a center to a closed circle.
If you feel stuck with how to piece two shapes together, lay them out in the way you wish for them to look and work backwards. Often you’ll sew one seam and then twist it into another place to sew the other side of the shape. You can use your fingers or small clips to hold the pieces in place as you sew. You may need to bend and gently fold your shapes to be able to sew the shapes together.
Finishing Your English Paper Piecing Project
Hurray, your piecing is complete and you are ready to finish your project. Decide if you want to add borders or simply end with the EPP edge. Most EPP projects end up with an uneven edge. The options for finishing those projects include: cutting and squaring up the edge, making additional pieces to fill in the edge, or appliqueing the edge onto a border.
To cut and square up your edge, simply use your quilting ruler and rotary cutter to cut the edge of your finished project. Be sure to include a ¼” seam allowance beyond any points or shape edge that you do not want to cut off. Now, if you wish add a border before quilting and binding your work.
To make additional pieces to fill in the edge, determine the shapes you need to create a straight edge. If your project consists of hexagons, you can fill in with half hexagons to get a straight edge. If your project has more complicated shapes such as pentagons or diamonds, you may need to create portions of these shapes to fill in the edge. Sew the additional shapes as needed to create a straight edge.
To applique your finished project onto a border, leave the precut papers in the outer edge of your finished EPP work. Using your cutting ruler, determine the measurement of your desired border, adding enough fabric to extend 1” beneath the finished edge of your EPP work. If needed, press your fabric now. Next, using your quilting ruler and a temporary marker (Clover marker or Roxanne’s quilting pencil), mark a line on your border fabric where the edge of your finished EPP work will be placed. You will use this marked line to align your EPP work onto the border. Next, using your glue pen and or pins, align the EPP edge along the marked line and secure it to your border. You can now hand applique your finished EPP edge onto the border. Or you can simply use your sewing machine to top stitch your EPP edge in place. If the finished EPP work has 2 edges that are straight, finish these edges after squaring up the appliqued edges first.
Add a facing is another method of finishing an uneven EPP edge. Cut your batting the size of your finished EPP quilt top. Cut your backing slightly larger. Baste your EPP top, batting and backing together, either pinning or spray basting, depending upon your preferred method. Quilt (either machine or hand) to within ¼” of the edge of your finished quilt top. Carefully trim the backing to ¼” beyond the edge of your quilt top. Clip the corners of your backing where needed so the backing can be folded beneath the quilt top. Turn the backing fabric edge so it is even with the quilt top. Using a ladder stitch, sew the backing and top together, using your needle to gently move the batting away from the sewing edge, tucking it between the top and backing. Stitch the ladder stitch in a straight line from the back to the front using small stitches in the fold of the fabric. This should give you nearly invisible stitches and a clean finished edge.
Sewline Glue Pen
A water-soluble, fabric type glue is best. Sew Line works well for EPP. Some find the economy of Elmer’s glue stick to fit their budget too. Glue should be used sparingly and applied to the paper, not the fabric. Includes 1 pen.
Glue Pen Refills
This clever glue stick means the end of sewing around pins! Water-soluble glue that dries clear. A quick, convenient way to hold fabrics for sewing or positioning pieces. Blue glue dries clear. Includes 1 refill tube
These small, strong plastic clips will hold your pieces tightly together. Using a small clip to hold your pieces together will take the pressure off of your fingers and hand and help you avoid holding the pieces too tightly!
A must have for English Paper Pieces or Hand Piecers! Protect your index and thumb on either hand while you stitch. Heat-resistant. Press your clothing and fabrics without burning your fingers.
Thread and Needle Case
An amazing case for threaded needles in which threads are wound up on a reel. This keeps your thread neatly stored for future use. Can fit up to 10 threaded needles at a time of any weight.
Milliners Needles Sz 11
You want to match your needle to your thread. If you are using a fine thread, switch to a fine needle. A #10 or #11 Straw needle works well. We’ve found that millers is an ideal brand for beginners.
45MM Olfa Rotary Cutter
Olfa’s most popular size cutter. For general quilting, sewing and craft projects. Cut in any direction. Cut many materials, cloth, leather, paper, vinyl, film, etc. Use it with your right or left hand.
45MM Blade Replacements
This blade is made of high quality tungsten carbide tool steel for unparalleled sharpness and superior edge retention. This replacement is only for the Original 45mm Rotary Cutter. 1 blade per pack.
18MM Olfa Rotary Cutter
Olfa’s most popular size cutter. For general quilting, sewing and craft projects. Cut in any direction. Cut many materials, cloth, leather, paper, vinyl, film, etc. Use it with your right or left hand.
Bottom Line Thread Cream
Designed by Libby Lehman for quilting, embroidery, bobbin, binding, and applique. 60 wt. lint-free polyester, 1420 yd. spools. Bottom line is our favorite English Paper Piecing thread company!
Bottom Line Thread Taupe
Designed by Libby Lehman for quilting, embroidery, bobbin, binding, and applique. 60 wt. lint-free polyester, 1420 yd. spools. Bottom Line is our favorite English Paper Piecing thread company!
Bottom Line Thread Grey
Designed by Libby Lehman for quilting, embroidery, bobbin, binding, and applique. 60 wt. lint-free polyester, 1420 yd. spools. Bottom Line is our favorite English Paper Piecing thread company!
A List of English Paper Piecing Books
English Paper Piecing Books
When it comes to English Paper Piecing Books, there aren’t as many as you’d think compared to ‘traditional quilting’. In fact, that are actually very few EPP books available. One of the major differences between machine quilting and EPP books are the density and amount of directions. An English Paper Piecing book might contain a total of 10 to 20 patterns and can have as many as 160 total pages; an estimated 8 pages per pattern.
Why So Many Pages? Because English Paper Piecing quilts have a basic set of instructions but are then extremely unique when it comes to combing non-repetitive blocks and finishing your quilt. An EPP book with 15 patterns will have 15 sets of different directions.
Is This Why They Are Move Expensive? We’re not experts at TheDIYAddict, but we believe the books are more expensive due to the sheer amount of total pages and graphics included for each pattern. (who doesn’t love pictures of beautiful quilts!!)
Comparing Pattern Books, Guides, and Supply Kits One of the main questions we receive at TheDIYAddict is what is the difference between pattern books, pattern guides, and supply bundles for English Paper Piecing patterns. Pattern books are collections of individual patterns usually by the same designer that have a central theme. Pattern guides, on the other hand, are directions, instructions, and fabric requirements for one quilt. Supply bundles include or might not include a pattern guide or pattern book. For instance, you might purchase the Glorious Hexagons Quilt Pattern supplies, but have to purchase the book separately with another vendor or website.
What’s Inside An English Paper Piecing Book? Not including patterns, there isn’t much substance to an individual book, but as mentioned above, each pattern can be very dense when it comes to individual instructions. Seeing how English Paper Piecing consists of using acrylic templates and paper pieces, there is a lot of direction with putting together the pattern as well as supplies and materials.
Can You Be More Specific? In the images below this paragraph, you can see two pages from Millefiori Quilts 2 (more information on that below). But let’s dive into it. The first page is usually a landscape photo of the completed quilt to show what it can potentially look like when it’s finished. The second pages usually describe the required materials and fabric. In regards to fabric, the requirements are very similar to a machine quilt which includes total yardage, types of fabric you might want to include, and directions for fussy cutting. Depending on the book, there might be a breakdown of different fabric requirements based on multiple variations. The 2nd part of the page, or even a whole new page altogether is usually dedicated to Acrylic Templates and Paper Pieces. Seeing how EPP is a hand sewing method, acrylic templates, and paper pieces are used for precision cutting, joining the blocks together, and finishing your quilt (mostly about the varying seam allowances and paper styles). One thing to note is that most EPP books do not include information on where to purchase additional supplies; it’s mostly through 3rd party vendors, websites, or manufacturers such as TheDIYAddict. The next pages are dedicated to putting together ‘blocks’ or ‘rosettes’ – it depends on the book you purchase, but varying shapes as stars can be used to describe blocks as well. Having said this, some EPP quilts such as Grandmother’s Flower Garden have only one shape and are repeated for the entirety of the quilt. On the other hand, a Millefiori Quilt such as The La Passacaglia may have up to 8 different blocks, rosettes, and shapes that need to be individually put together then sewn together to form the finished quilt.
English Paper Piecing Books We Sell and/or Recommend? At the moment, we at TheDIYAddict only sell three distinct EPP books which consist of the Millefiori Quilt series by Willyne Hammerstein.
Millefiori Quilt Series. All three of the books were authored by Willyne with special guests being included in the books. For instance, Kaffe Fassett helped design the Ballet Quilt which is on the cover of the Millefiori Quilts 2. The series is designed around Millefiori Quilts, which is a form of Italian stained glass made up unique shapes which are often circular. The terminology of a ‘rosette’ block was popularized by the Millefiori Quilts series. The first book was released in 2011 and the 3rd book is being released in Septemeber 2017. Each quilt books contains around 17 individual patterns. At TheDIYAddict, we sell all 3 quilt books and the acrylic templates and paper pieces to make the cover quilts on each of the books (La Passacaglia, Ballet with Kaffe Fassett, and Moncarapacho). By clicking on the books below, you’ll be taken to their perspective page where you can learn about the books and purchase all of your supplies (including fabric).
Here Are Several Other Books Recommended By Our Readers.
All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing beyond the Hexagon, written by Diane Gilliland – an excellent and comprehensive resource for the EPP technique.
The New Hexagon: 52 Blocks to English Paper Piece, written by Katja Marek – The New Hexagon and the Glorious Hexagon quilt alongs utilize this book.
English Paper Piecing Quilt Samples
English Paper Piecing Quilts
Willyne Hammerstein’s La Passacaglia quilt is an exceptionally popular pattern featuring over lapping English paper pieced rosettes. This pattern is found in Quiltmania’s book Millefiori Quilts 1. This book features many EPP patterns with instructions in both French and English. The pattern consists of a layout showing the location of the rosettes and drawings of the templates. It does not include fabric giving you the opportunity to create your own palette. Kits with the necessary acrylic templates and precut paper pieces for this popular project are available from www.thediyaddict.com.
Millefiori Quilts English Paper Piecing
The Millefiori Quilt Series is the most popular English Paper Piecing book series to date. Designed and authored by Willyne Hammerstein of Denmark, her 3 unique books, and over 50 quilt patterns are known for their circular blocks known as ‘Rosettes’. The most popular quilt is known as the La Passacaglia which can be found on the cover of Millefiori Quilts 1. You can learn more about Millefiori Quilts 1, 2, and 3 HERE.
Designed by Willyne Hammerstein and featured in her book Millefiori Quilts (book #1) from publisher Quiltmania. La Passacaglia is one of the most recognizable and unique EPP projects. It has been adopted by fabric designer, Tula Pink and now comes in various sizes.
Ballet With Kaffe Fassett
Designed by Willyne Hammerstein and Kaffe Fassett and featured in her book Millefiori Quilts (book #2) from publisher Quiltmania. Ballet is featured on the cover of the book.
The cover quilt on Millefiori Quilts 3 that was recently released in September 2017!
The Most Popular Shape – English Paper Piecing Hexagons!
English Paper Piecing Shapes
Quilters often ask what are popular shapes for English Paper Piecing? What makes a shape popular? When a shape is easy to work with, patterns are readily available or the current trend is a particular shape or pattern, that’s what becomes popular.
Hexagons, with their six sides, are possibly the easiest shape to work with. The six-sided shape can be sewn to another hexagon and by using different colors of fabric on each round circling the center hexagon, create a variety of patterns. Single ring, double ring and triple ring patterns can be used to make strikingly beautiful quilts. A tripe ring pattern layout in a diamond configuration gives an altogether different look. Half hexagons can be added to the hexagon to expand the design possibilities.
Honeycombs or elongated hexagons are another easy shape to work with. The honeycomb can be sewn into rows, or rows with alternating rows of squares, to create a Lozenge quilt. Lucy Boston’s Patchwork of the Crosses pattern, begins with four honeycombs intersecting to make a center cross, before adding corner honeycombs to the cross and then sets of two around the center to create a block. Squares are added to connect the honeycomb blocks.
Clam shells are another popular English paper piecing shape. Their simple rounded, half circle shape may be slightly challenging to work with, but simple tips can help overcome this. Clam shells are measured by measuring the widest point across the vertical center of the shape. They are sewn together in alternating rows to form gentle curving patterns.
As mentioned previously, hexagons are the most popular shape in English Paper Piecing. Quilts such as the Grandmother’s Flower Garden use it exclusively, while other quilts rely on it as one of their shapes. The great thing about hexagons is that they’re versatile! If you type in “English Paper Piecing Hexagons” into google, there are so many vendors and sizes it’s hard to decipher. At TheDIYAddict, we do not sell individual hexagons, but there are a lot of online vendors that do. You can find them in 1/8″, 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″ and 2″. Or any size for that matter.
On the other hand, we have to state that there are also issues when purchasing hexagons. We’ve heard horror stories how individuals buy hexagons from one vendor, then purchase more hexagons from another vendor, and even though they state they are 1/2″, they don’t match! This problem arises when using multiple vendors, mostly due to the fact that there is no unified way to size your paper pieces and acrylic templates.
What’s Needed For An English Paper Piecing Project?
English Paper Piecing makes quick work of both easy and intricately pieced quilts. The choice of project sizes is unlimited: bed quilts, lap quilts and baby quilts. EPP is perfect for home accessories, including bed runners, table runners, placemats, curtain valances and much more. English Paper Piecing is a great way to add decoration to clothing and purses. Create intricately pieced designs and then applique the patterns to your garment or accessory. The opportunities are endless.
At TheDIYAddict, we only sell quilts verse other EPP projects. We’d love to hear your interest on what projects we should carry in the future – comment at the bottom of this article!
What’s The Difference and Why Do I Need English Paper Piecing Papers?
Precut paper pieces are an essential tool for EPP. You may have packs of a particular shape available from different sellers posting their packs on Instagram or Pinterest.
Precut paper templates are readily available, reusable and inexpensive. While hexagons are the most popular shape, diamonds, squares, pentagons, triangles and other geometric shapes are available too. A packet of precut paper shapes is inexpensive and can be reused several times. The precut paper piece packet insures that every piece is the same size, giving you accuracy and precision piecing. Precut paper pieces are available through online retail outlets such as The DIY Addict.
Paper pieces come in a variety of paper styles (but not colors). One of the most popular is cardstock, which we recommend and source for all of our patterns. Some individuals will use regular pinter paper as well, but we feel that the paper is too flimsy when it comes to supporting all of your lovely fabric.
Note: We recommend that individuals buy precut paper pieces sets that belong to a complete pattern or kit verses trying to piece together sets from different retailers or online stores. There are horror stories of quilters buying precut paper pieces from two retailers, starting their project, only to find that one of the retailers has different sized shapes than the other, making the pattern un-sew able.
Plastic templates are available and are used by basting fabric around the template. The templates are reusable, but if you are making a large project can be a little expensive.
English paper piecing papers are measured across an edge (never the center) and shapes with the same measurement fit together. A 1” hexagon will fit together with a 1” diamond, 1” triangle, 1” half hexagon, and on. Technically, a 1” kite does not have a 1” side, but if you sew 6 kites together, you will create a hexagon.
Why Should You Purchase Individual Paper Pieces AND Clear Acrylic Templates?
Some quilters choose to purchase the precut paper pieces and not the required acrylic templates, but this is mostly individual preference (a lot of quilting is individual preference!). A large majority of English Paper Piecing kits include both the required acrylic templates AND precut paper pieces because it makes the overall process easier. Having the required acrylic templates allows you to easily see your fabric for fussy cutting (more information below). It is certainly possible to head this route, but for the beginner, it is not recommended. Cutting fabric to create intricate secondary patterns and designs is part of the fun for EPPers!
Conversely, if you purchase only the required acrylic templates and not use precut paper pieces your project will be “hand pieced” not English Paper Pieced. The individual precut paper piece shapes are used to stabilize the fabric and provide precision piecing. For the beginner, it makes EPPing much easier.
Choosing Your English Paper Piecing Fabric
Who doesn’t love fabric?! When it comes to fabric, we’re one of the only English Paper Piecing Vendors that sells curated bundles and Quilt Kits. A great feature of our bundles and kits is that we combine multiple designers, fabric houses, and styles verse only complete collections. If you aren’t familiar with fussy cutting, we try to build kits that include fabrics that are perfect for fussy cutting with a mix of solids, blenders, and low volume fabric. Our designer list includes Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Elizabeth Hartman, Kaffe Fassett, Denyse Schmidt, and others. The current fabric houses we kit from are Andover Fabrics, Free Spirit Fabrics, Cotton and Steel Fabrics, and Art Gallery Fabrics.
Welcome to our Quilting Fabric selection where you can view all of our curated bundles and complete collections in one convenient location! We offer complete collections, curated bundles, and English Paper Piecing Kits. We are mostly known for our unique selection of curated bundles which are often a combination of designers from different fabric houses that have a specific theme. Several examples of the themes that are currently available include our Low Volume Bundle, Fussy Cutters Delight, Rainbow Bundle, and our Milky Way Bundle. We always suggest signing up for our newsletter if you are looking to be updated with new product announcements. Our bundles are in limited supply and sell fast!
WHY SHOP THEDIYADDICT.COM?
TheDIYAddict.com is one of the largest online stores specializing ni English Paper Piecing, Paper Piecing, Foundation Piecing, and Machine Quilting products. We offer a wide range of products that includes quilt books and quilt magazines, acrylic templates, precision cut paper pieces, and quilting fabric. We have the latest and newest quilting accessories and supplies from the top brands, fabric designers, and manufacturers (not to mention we also manufacture some of our own products!)
Our goal is simple: supply quilters with high-quality products and accessories they need to and provide industry-leading customer service. It sounds like we are a big team, but we are actually a mother and daughter team working together to offer the best deals and inventory as well as a price match guarantee and no hassle return policy that lets you shop with confidence. We cater to new and life-long quilters and have a passion for the craft ourselves. Happy Quilting! 🙂
You can also find us on The DeStash where we list all of our giveaways, deals, and supplies!
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