Disclosure: The products in this post were provided by Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, AccuQuilt, Aurifil Thread and Schmetz Needles.
Our final challenge for 2021 was English Paper Piecing (commonly called EPP). We were challenged to hand sew (using a running stitch) shapes, stabilized by heavy paper, to create a design of our choice. Our design needed to be a minimum of 12″ x 12″. That doesn’t seem very large, but hand sewing a six sided shape to other six sided shapes can take some time.
When I think of EPP, I picture Grandmother’s Flower Garden, but I discovered so many other designs also. I got my inspiration for my design from Quick and Easy Hexagon Quilts by Kris Vierra of Quilter on the Run. In her book, there are a variety of interesting shapes including stars, diamonds, butterflies, and balloons! I chose to go with the diamond shapes from her quilt, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. In her book, Kris also includes quilting designs which I love.
Looking at cutting all those hexagons, I thought there must be a way to do this using my AccuQuilt Go! cutter. I found die # 55422 which cuts the paper and the fabric for 1″ hexagons! This saved a lot of time and frustration trying to cut all those pieces!
I decided to just do a section on the quilt and use it as a table topper for under one of my sewing machines. I needed five fabrics for my project. Because Island Batik has been so generous with their fabrics, I had plenty to choose from.
Once I chose my colors, I needed to determine how many hexagons of each color are needed for my design. I was able to cut 4 layers of fabric and 2 layers of card stock at the same time which made cutting quick and painless.
I also hole-punched the card stock since I read it was easier to remove at the end. I just used a standard hand held hole punch.
I used a Bohin Glue Stick to prepare my shapes. I tried larger glue sticks, but found it hard to get a thin enough line that wouldn’t interfere with sewing. This was one of those projects that could be done while sitting in front of the tv or even in the car when doing our holiday traveling.
Once the shapes were prepared, I used Wonder Clips to hold them in place while I sewed, and sewed, and sewed. I used matching Aurifil thread where I could; the challenge came when joining two different colors of fabrics.
So, full disclosure… I made it to the half way point, below, and decided to give machine piecing a try.
I used a small zig zag stitch, invisible thread, and a Schmetz Chrome 70/10 needle to get the job done… a lot quicker. I think I enjoyed the hand sewing more, but I needed to take my time and have good lighting to get a good stitch. When I rushed, my stitches were awful!
Removing the paper was fairly easy. I loosened the glue with an awl and used it to pull off the paper from the punched hole.
I used two layers of Hobbs Cotton Batting and 5 colors of Aurifil thread to quilt my EPP.
Now that I have my feet wet in EPP, I may try some other designs. It would be a good take-along project.
Be sure to go see what the other Island Batik Ambassadors are doing for their EPP projects.