I love English Paper Piecing. It's a nice "slow sewing" project that can be done in the evenings or even "on the go" while you're waiting for appointment times, car trips (if you're not driving.. haha!) at kids sports games, while they play at the park, with a cold drink out on the patio in the warm spring & summer months, etc...
Now, i've already went over "what" EPP is and you can read more on these links if you need a refresher:
So today I'm going to focus more on my favourite items along with a few tips & tricks!!
Let's start with the "stuff"...
- Paper: You want to use firm paper, not cheap notebook paper. I buy heavier 67lb cardstock paper from Staples in a big, fat pkg!
- English paper piecing shapes: I really like "Paper Pieces" for laser cut, ready to go paper pieces and am able to find them in various online scrapbooking shops. Just google them and they're easy enough to find!
- Making your own shapes: I invested in all 3 FISKARS hexagon paper punches (*photo below) for my hexie shapes. I found a couple on Amazon and one from Michaels - I used a coupon and it was a great price! This is a way to save $ on buying a gazillion precut hexagon shapes if you really get into it!
- Glue: I love my BOHIN glue stick. (*photo below) It's great for either gluing your fabric edges to the paper *or* just a small dab to hold the fabric while you hand baste your fabric onto the papers. I buy refills for it on Amazon. I love that it's slim and precise, but really you can use any gluestick.
- Thread: I *only* use "The Bottom Line" thread by Superior Threads. I've tried soo many different threads only to have them always snap, fray and knot. Since I jumped to "The Bottom Line", I haven't had as much as one snap, tangle or fray! It's amazing stuff!! I purchased mine in Canada from "Stitch in the Ditch"!
- Books: The BEST book for learning techniques and reading about EPP is "All Points Patchwork". Worth every single penny. I really love "The New Hexagon" and the "Mischief Quilt" kit for when you're ready to jump into a project!!
- Needles: I use 3 kinds of needles, 2 by Clover, 1 by BOHIN. There are plenty of needles out there, however, don't be cheap with your needles! Buy high quality and they won't let you down! My 3 faves are: BOHIN straw milliners no. 8, Clover "Black Gold" no. 9, Clover "Gold Eye Sharps" no. 10. (*pic below)
- Hex Essentials Rulers: These little acrylic templates are absolutely genius! I love them to bits!! So awesome for getting the perfect 'frame' on fussy cutting! So that adorable little strawberry can go exactly where you want it with no guesswork! I bought mine on Amazon.
I think that about covers the "stuff", now here are a few tips & tricks!!
- I hole punch all my shapes so I can simply take out the thread and *pop* out the papers. This keeps the fabric shape nice and makes it easy to reuse the papers! (*pic below) I bought my FISKARS paper punch for around $8.00 I think?
- I prefer thread basting my shapes rather than glue basting, but, glue basting is FAR quicker and I admit I've done it twice this month on projects since my time is so very tight! Glue basting means you can't reuse your paper shapes nearly as much however, so it's a trade off.
- Dig into your fabric scraps first! Epp is the perfect project for using up the smallest of fabric scraps!
- Watch your "angles", directional fabric can be fussier to work with, so make sure you're cutting it properly or you're going to end up with fabric pieces that don't look so great with the angles they've been cut on.
- When you're stitching your shapes together, use close & careful stitches and pull the thread tight. One comment I always get is that you can't see my thread between the epp shapes, which is a good thing! Keep at it if you can though, 'cause practice makes perfect!
- If you want to save $$ with your epp, googling paper shapes online is the way to go. Then you can simply print at home & cut your own shapes. I try to do this when possible and did it for the current project that I'm working on. I then cut with a small rotary trimmer and a ruler so I'm *exact*.
I think I've covered everything... if not, please leave a comment with your question and I'll do my best to help!
Now, what are you waiting for? Get English paper piecing!!