Quilt English Paper Piecing

English Paper Piecing (EPP) is a delightful hand sewing technique used in quilting. It involves using card stock shapes to maintain the fabric’s correct sizes and shapes. If you’re new to EPP, you’re in for a treat! This article will guide you through the process, providing valuable insights and tips to make your experience enjoyable and successful.

EPP Quilt

English Paper Piecing Supplies

To get started with EPP, you’ll need a few essential supplies:

  • Paper: EPP papers, typically made from card stock, provide structure to your fabric pieces while sewing them together. You can either purchase pre-cut papers or make your own using various methods. Some cutting options, like the AccuQuilt cutting machine and Fiskars hole-punch, can make this process even easier.

  • Fabric: Choose fabric pieces that are 1/4″ or 3/8″ larger than your papers on all sides. You can cut custom fabric shapes using an Add A Quarter ruler or opt for the convenient AccuQuilt Qube, which offers a wide range of block variations.

  • Glue Stick: A glue stick, such as the Sewline glue stick or an Elmer’s glue stick, is perfect for attaching fabric to your papers securely.

  • Thread: For EPP, I highly recommend Decobob 80 wt. thread from Wonderfil. This cottonized polyester thread combines the strength of polyester with the ease of working with cotton. It’s nearly invisible, which is ideal for achieving seamless EPP stitches.

  • Needles: Choose small hand sewing needles for your EPP projects.

You might find SewTites, Wonder Clips, or even masking tape helpful to keep your pieces aligned while sewing.

Cutting out English Paper Piecing card stock

Cutting English Paper Pieces with AccuQuilt

If you’re as excited about EPP as I am, you’ll love the AccuQuilt EPP Qube. This incredible tool features four shapes that work harmoniously to create endless block variations. The papers in the Qube have 1″ sides, and what’s even better is that the Qube includes dies for cutting both the papers and the fabrics!

When using an AccuQuilt to cut your papers, I recommend using 65 wt card stock and cutting two layers at a time. You can also repurpose recycled card stock from junk mail, minimizing waste and cost.

To ensure a smooth sewing process, mark each piece of fabric to identify its corresponding fabric placement. For instance, use “P” for pink/purple and “G” for gold.

English Paper Piecing layout using AccuQuilt Qube

Basting with a Glue Stick

Traditionally, basting EPP blocks involved using a needle and thread to stitch around the edges of a shape. However, gluing the fabric using a glue stick offers more flexibility, especially when working with different shapes and curves.

To glue baste, simply draw a thin line of glue on the back of your paper piece, approximately 1/8″ away from the edge. The glue should be close enough for the fabric to adhere but not too close to hinder sewing later on. Remember, a little glue goes a long way, so apply just enough.

Glue Basting EPP blocks with a glue stick

Two EPP Stitches to Try Out

When it comes to sewing EPP blocks together, there are two commonly used stitches: the whip stitch and the flat back stitch. Choose the one that suits your preferences and project requirements. To see both stitches in action, watch the video at the top of this post.

How to Sew a Whip Stitch

The whip stitch involves placing two fabric pieces right sides together and pinching them. Wonderclips or Sew Tites can be handy tools to keep them in place. Carefully insert your needle through a few threads of fabric on both pieces, tying a small knot. Stitch along the entire seam and finish with another knot.

How to Sew a Flat Back Stitch

Flat back stitches are ideal when you want your stitches to be completely invisible or when sewing around curves. Here’s how to sew a flat back stitch:

  1. Place your two fabric pieces face up in the desired arrangement.
  2. Cover the intended seam area with masking tape on the right side of the fabrics. The tape will hold the pieces in place while you sew.
  3. Flip the unit over to the back so that it lies flat.
  4. Beginning with a knot, sew along the seam from one fabric piece to the other.

English Paper Piecing, quilting tutorial, hand sewing stitches, sewing tutorial, free

Finishing your English Paper Piecing Project

Once you’ve sewn your seams, the next step is to carefully remove the papers and press your seams nice and flat. For crisp edges, consider using Best Press while pressing.

English Paper Piecing quilt block tutorial, learn how to make EPP quilt blocks

I turned my EPP blocks into beautiful fabric coasters! For the full tutorial on making coasters, head over to the Quill And Fox Blog.

Would you like more inspiration and tutorials using AccuQuilt? Check out these fantastic articles:

  • How to Make Perfect Half Square Triangles
  • Reverberate Quilt Pattern
  • How to use an AccuQuilt Go!
  • AccuQuilt FAQs
  • Solitaire Quilt Pattern
  • String Quilt Block Tutorial
  • 12 Ways to use the 12″ Qube

Enjoy your EPP journey and have fun creating stunning quilt blocks with this timeless technique!