English Paper Piecing


English Paper PiecingGood Morning, Quilters!

June was a wild and crazy month–lots of  family time and several exciting events…

But I couldn’t sneak away to my sewing room-not even once!

I’m still a little twitchy!

English Paper Piecing

Fortunately, I picked up a collection of English Paper Piecing (EPP) papers-at Spring Quilt Market.

I met the owner of PaperPieces.com, Jess Finn, and she recommended the Lucy Boston pattern.  (I thought all EPP was hexies!)

English Paper Piecing

I’ve tried paper piecing before, though I’ve never really completed anything.

I can see why quilters get hooked on EPP–small, portable and satisfying!

English Paper PiecingI’m not sure how the pieces all go together…English Paper Piecing

Does anyone know of a good book, video or tutorial?

I have a long car ride coming soon….

What about YOU?  What’s YOUR favorite portable project?

Do YOU English Paper Piece?

What’s YOUR favorite EPP?

We’d LOVE to hear!




PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!



78 thoughts on “English Paper Piecing

  1. To save you a little effort (or a lot), the basting stitches can be made larger. EPP is really fun and I think you’ll enjoy it.

  2. I’ve made a quilt top using pieced hexagons from Katia Marek’s book The New Hexagon. I also found extra blocks on Inklingo. The idea was to use my batik stash but of course I ended up buying more.

  3. EPP was okay till I discovered Inklingo. Would never go back. Website is full of all kinds of help and if you still get stuck, Linda Frantz is very responsive to emails asking for help.

  4. Mister Domestic is doing an EPPparty with Pat Bravo. They have a bunch of youtube videos that go through basting, stitching, stitching corners etc-look for these is the early block postings or search them on you tube. I’ve finished one and working on another–I can’t keep up-but it’s fun to do!

  5. Basting goes even easier with the method where you don’t go through the paper. All the stitches are on the wrong side, catching the folds at each corner. Have you seen the Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses book by Linda Franz?

  6. You will soon pick it up, you are very talented.
    If you YouTube “Sue Daley, Busy Fingers” she has some great tutorials on EPP. There’s a really useful one on how to secure your stitches.
    Good luck 😁

  7. I know there is a great Facebook group on Lucy Boston & EPP ~ I’m interested but haven’t tried it as yet because I’m currently busy with making suffolk puffs (yo-yos) for a large project.

  8. I can only look and admire, 85 yr. old fingers just can’t do any hand work any more. Makes me love my machines even more, though.

  9. The best thing for beginning , is right in the middle. Sow them together with a blind stich. The yarn isbgoing to be strait across on the right side, on the left side it can go diagonal.stich in the seam , otherwise the yarn pop on the right side.
    Habe fun piecing ist togethether, seems a nice pattern.
    Greetings from Berlin

  10. Hugs n Kisses has several tutorials and I especially like Helen Stubbings Applique sheets and precut shapes. No need to remove the paper for English paper piecing. I am currently sewing ‘The Good Old Days’ pattern. Love it. I also like Sue Daley. She teaches you to make fine stitches with fine thread.

  11. Ever since my guild hosted Jessica Alexandrakis, author of Quilting on the Go, I’ve been a fan of EPP. She did a class for us and I made a couple of her projects. Her book is quite helpful. Such a good teacher! Now I’m working my way through the 52 hexies in Katja Marek’s book. Basting with fabric glue, a suggestion from her book, feels like cheating, but it sure speeds up the process.

  12. I take along paperpiecing for road trips also. It goes amazingly fast. I use hexagons. This is my first, and provided I successfully finish, I am going to try different shapes, but one step at a time.

    I do a couple of things differently. My hexagon paper templates have a small hole in the center. I pin the template to squares of fabric cut to fit the hexies except for the extra fabric in each corner. Now I cut off the extra and gluebaste the seam allowance down. Right now I am using a stick of Elmers School glue, but I have used Sewline glue stick and like that better.

  13. My favorite book for EPP is Quilting on the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis. It’s a wonderful resource for beginners and intermediate stitchers. It also gives directions for finishing borders to prepare for quilting…

    Another fun book is All Points Patchwork by Dianne Gilleand, which gives the basics as well, but is also an idea book and jumping off point for those who want to design their own EPP designs.

    Good luck with your English Paper Piecing. I take my EPP travel kit everywhere. I stitch in the car, at the doctor’s office, at night in front of the television… anytime I would otherwise be sitting idle. I find it makes me more patient. I am amazed how quickly a queen sized quilt can be made when you’re stitching an hour each evening while watching tv… or on long car trips.

    I taught EPP as a monthly class at my LQS for 2 years. and from time to time at my favorite women’ quilt camp and retreat. Let me know if you get stuck…I’ll help you out.

  14. Great topic, Lori!! I love to have a hand work project going at all times for road trips, waiting etc. I’ve done EPP but never finished it. You just sparked another idea in this filled up stitchy head of mine lol

  15. I love EPP! Have been addicted for about 6 years now, and although I don’t do it all the time, I always have something going that I can do on long car/plane rides or while watching TV with my husband. I have never basted all the way through the papers and the fabrics. I only baste the corners on the back or glue baste. I find glue basting is wonderful for small projects where I don’t plan to reuse the papers many times, but when working on large projects where I plan to reuse the papers many times over, I prefer to thread baste on the back. I buy many of my papers from Paper Pieces, which is a time saver, and am currently working on Katja Marek’s Perpetuaaly Hexie. All of the above comments are spot on as there are so many different ways to approach EPP. Have fun…I’m sure you’re going to love it!

  16. Also addicted! Here’s my take on EPP with minimalist instructions. https://thebackporchstitcher.com/2015/07/07/epp-and-me/

    And Lori – get a glue stick. It’s so much more fun. Or at least, as others suggested, take your basting stitches as you snug up the corners – in the fabric only.

    And maybe one of these days, I’ll post some more on my blog!

    Anyone who is interested in EPP will like the English Paper Piecing group on Facebook, and for eye candy–and some seriously fun fussy cutting–go to the Millefiori/ La Passacaglia English Paper Piecing Facebook group. Such wonderful, helpful people (as all quilters are)! AND the Paper Pieces gals are AWESOME and very helpful.

    My EPP project (a La Passacaglia) has been stalled for awhile. I interrupted it with some knitting, quilting, clothing construction, etc. (So many ideas! So little time!) You made my fingers itch…

  17. Lori, thank you for sparking this discussion, and thanks to everyone who commented with all of your great suggestions! I’m bookmarking this post for when I get serious about EPP – I have tried it but keep getting distracted with other quilting projects. Upcoming road trip to Myrtle Beach – a perfect time for some serious EPP! Several of my quilt guild friends are EPPing and one is making a queen bed quilt using 1″ (per side) hexies!

    Quilt on!

  18. An interesting variation on EPP is Mickey Depre’s Pieced Hexies. She’s written two books and has a Craftsy class on the subject. Just Google ‘pieced hexies’ for lots of info and images.

  19. I do a lot of EPP, and I keep it very simple. Thread basting, and then whip stitch for joining. When a piece is surrounded by other pieces, then I remove the basting sts and the paper. That’s it. Mindless, delicious fun.

  20. I start EPP projects but never really finish anything! I have a friend who has completed a Grandmother’s flower garden and other full size quilts using the EPP method.
    I just finished a Debby Macomber trilogy, the Dakota series. Not a new one but good.

  21. The reason for using large stitches is that this is basting – each stitch has to be unpicked if you stitch through the paper…

    If you choose not to stitch through the paper, you don’t have to pick out any basting stitches.

    If you want to try this: Bonnie Hunter has quite an extensive tutorial on how she is basting her hexagons here: http://quiltville.blogspot.no/2010/10/hexagon-tutorial.html the only thing I would change is rather than using a pin to hold my paper and my fabric together, I would use a glue pen (there are special ones for EPP) and add a little to the center of the template, then there is no buckling of the template from the pin. Mostly she will baste and then attach the piece right away, rather than baste all first.

    However, there is a third option: you can also use the glue pen mentioned above around the edge of the template, pull the fabric round the edge and glue it down and thus avoid the basting all together… This is how I do it now and I am quite happy with the result:-)

    Good luck whichever way you choose. And thank you for a very inspirational blog!

  22. I use a glue stick for EPP. Much easier. Also, you might want to refrain from calling it “paper piecing,” as that craft is completely different. You go, girl!

    • Doesn’t using glue require you to rip the papers out and fuse with the glued on paper? Jessica Alexandrakis (Quilting on the Go) recommends using paper clips to hold fabric in place while stitching. I prefer this method over all the others. And if you drop a paper clip in the car, no one will get poked!

  23. About a year ago my daughter started a small hexie project. I thought she was crazy doing that much hand sewing. I had a mini charm pack and I didn’t know what to do with it so thought I would try it just to use the minis. As they say the rest is history. I have a small lap quilt in progress and had to buy more mini charm packs. For Christmas she bought me fabric and a book to do the Patchwork of the Crosses. I don’t want to start that until I get my hexie quilt done so I am focused on that every chance I get. I love it and now I have done more that she has. LOL

  24. I play with EPP off and on and have found that “ladder” stitching the pieces together is invisible as opposed to other methods. Also, Superior Threads “Bob’s Donuts” have a good variety of hues and as they are bobbins, they are easy to transport!

  25. I love to EPP. However I prefer to use a glue stick to baste my edges whenever I can. I do thread baste my quarter inch hexies though. I keep that project on me at all times. It is so small and portable I can slip it in my purse and work on it anywhere anytime!

  26. Check out the Stars in the Garden pattern by Yellow Creek Quilting Designs. I made mine using 3/8″ hexies and loved making it. Now I am glue basting 1″ hexies (tiny drops of Elmer’s Washable School Glue bottle and clover mini iron) and then sewing them together first into flowers and then into rows via machine to make a twin-sized quilt. I am using tiny zig zag stitches and Superior smoke-colored Monopoly thread on top with regular piecing thread on the bottom using my sewing machine. You really have a difficult time seeing the Monopoly stitches. I am also preparing hexies for a second quilt with each hexie being made from a different fabric. It’s amazing that they all look great together on the design wall. I purchased a Fiskars hexie punch and use those subscription cards from magazines for my papers. Hexie-mania! Can’t get enough of them.

    • What’s in a name… After all the great comments, I read this one and thought “Gosh, Monopoly (like the game) thread — I’ve never heard of that, must be great for everything…” then I realized, “Oh Mono(filament)Poly(ester)” Ha, Ha, Ha on me. Love EPP hexies in smallish doses, so I usually make “DNA” and applique to a background.

      • Susan…now I’m having a moment…”DNA” ? I Googled ‘DNA quilting’ and found an image of HST units arranged to form a double-helix design. But that’s pieced, not appliquéd. So clue me in, please! Thanks!

  27. I have been working on the Millefiori BOM. I have just finished joining all of the rosettes and now need to audition fabric to finish off the edges.

  28. Instead of basting I was taught to iron the fabric around the stiff paper then remove the paper and press it down good with the iron a last time. It holds amazingly well. The glue stick sounds good…..I’m going to try that next time!

  29. I love EPP. I have made two table toppers. I have started the Insanity Quilt by Rhonda Pearce. The Accuquilt hexie dies are a Great time saver. I cut out a 1000 pieces in a couple of hours.

  30. I love English Paper Piecing. Very fun and so many lovely things to make, too. Very portable and take it with you kind of projects. I started out hand basting, as you are doing. Then I learned about using a glue stick instead and it is much faster and then I can save my hands for the actual stitching. Glue sticks like Sewline Water Soluble Glue Pen and Refills. Also Fons & Porter, too.
    You will do great at this. There are all kinds of shapes, too!

  31. Love reading all these comments about EPP.. I have done, and enjoyed, paper piecing but I will certainly have to try this too! Thank you for posting this inquiry that lead to such great information.
    My take-along project are the individual blocks that will make up the centers on my Christmas quilt. I am doing red work embroidery and sewing a variety of snowmen.

  32. Great topic Lori, I started EPP in the 1980’s (and no the project is not done yet) EPP is so satisfying to me that I have several projects going and a very favorite of mine is an I Spy fussy cut into hexi shapes. I do either the glue method or the stitch at the corners with hexes that are made of possibly cardstock, but then there is a gloss or sheen over them that must act as a protective barrier. Re-using the shapes in this way assures my hexes are all the same, unlike my first WIP.

  33. Dear Lori

    I love EPP and have taught it at our local quilt store. Everyone has their own way of doing this but I prefer the glue method and I use invisafil by Wonderfil. I like the fact you cant see your stitches.

  34. I started EPP recently so that I would have hand work to do on a bus trip. Turned out it was too bumpy on the bus to work on it. I am basting each corner. Might have to try the glue method. A friend told me there is also a starch method that sounds interesting. I can’t imagine making a big quilt with the method I have been using. I did find a really cute purse that I think I could handle though. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/230457705912589580/

    • The bag on Pinterest is really nice. I like the quilting the maker used on the hexies. I also started EPP for something to do in the car. I even had a small dog in the lap.

  35. I use a paper clip or the mini clips to hold the fabric edges down. Long running stitches through the paper and catch each corner with a running Stitch. My favorites are 1/2″ paper hexies from eep for a mini Jo Morton doll quilt. I have used the 1/4″ hexies, but you have to hold the edges between thumb and first finger and trim as you go. They are absolutely addictive.

  36. Wow! You have so many great comments here! As others have said, Sue Daly has some great beginner tutorials, and the “EPP Party” that Pat Bravo and Mister Domestic are doing is great for inspiration (check out #eppparty on Instagram), and they have some great tutorial videos as well.
    I love glue basting. It is faster, and more secure than thread.
    If you’d like to watch it, here is a short video I filmed at Quiltmarket with basics on basting and stitching EPP. https://youtu.be/YwK3PM_7MbA

  37. Sue Daly has great tutorials, she just did a series a couple of months ago with Jenny @ Missouri Star for their YouTube videos. You might consider glue basting I stopped tread basting years ago and switched to glue, I find it’s much faster. The Sewline or Fons & Porter glue pens are really great for EPP. I use YLI clear invisible thread for EVERYTHING you never have to worry about your stitches showing. Ziplock bags are your best friends to keep everything organized.

  38. Thanks for all the great ideas. I have never done EPP but have often thought about trying it for those doctor visit wait times, etc. However, I am a machine person and do as little hand sewing as possible. With the glue method, I just might actually get a project done.

  39. I am soooo ignorant.. I am trying to wrap my mind around a glue filled quilt! How does that result in something you would want to cuddle under? Lot for me to learn here!

  40. I don’t stitch through the papers, just baste the backs, with a small double stitch at each corner. I never remove the basting stitches doing it this way. I use clips like Wonder Clips to hold the fabric to the papers as I baste. I stitch them together with a whipstitch using very fine thread – usually Bottom Line. There are lots of possible shapes for EPP – it is definitely not just hexies.

  41. I know that some of the early comments mentioned Inklingo, but I just have to throw in my 2 cents here too. Inkingo is spectacular for hand piecing carry along projects! There is even a section on the Inklingo website (under the hand piecing tab) called English Paper Piecing Rescue. So many people had started EPP projects and then put them aside – using Inklingo and sewing with a nice running stitch (on a printed line!) is just so much easier and allowed quilters to “rescue” their EPP projects! There is even a free collection to introduce you to the technique. I highly recommend you watch the introduction video on the EPP Rescue page. It’s quite addictive! Please check it out!

  42. OMG so many replies, just ask us a question and we reply. I did a very small hexagon reversible table center and just did decorative top stitching with my machines decorative stitches. Did one side with 4th July prints – fun little project.

    Thank You Lori for all your work and inspiration. I am more of a reader than a doer as housekeeping, family and 5 gardens get in the way. Love to wish I can do more and you keep me wishing.

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