In a recent eNewsletter (and a post here on the website) – I asked you about your experiences with English Paper Piecing (EPP). I had lots of questions about techniques, what are your favorite shapes to work on, and what are your favorite tools to use.
Here are the questions I asked you: Along with a summary of your answers to my questions.
- Do you prefer hexagons or do you like some other shape (diamonds, fans, etc.)?
- Most of you suggested starting with hexagons and then trying out other shapes after I get the hang of the process.
- What size shapes do you find to be easiest to work with?
- Your suggestions were pretty evenly split between the 1″ (finished) Hexagons and those preferring larger (4 – 5 in finished) hexagons.
- Do you like the removable papers with the hole – or without?
- Again you answers were evenly split between papers with a hole and those that don’t want the hole in the center of the papers.
- Do you like the shapes that stay in place – instead of needing to remove them?
- Only one of you that responded had tried the new leave in paper shapes. I think they are more of a light weight interfacing material – I’m going to get some and try it out.
- Do you use a glue stick or a glue pen – or some other way to hold the fabric in place while you are turning the edges under?
- Most of you said to avoid the glue stick – it’s too messy. Instead you recommended the glue pen. Several of you preferred to hand baste the fabric around the shapes.
- What size seam allowance do you prefer?
- The consensus seems to be either 1/4 inch or 3/8 inch for the seam allowance. That makes sense to me.
- What other tips or advice do you have for me as I dip my toes into these unfamiliar waters?
- Several of you told me to just jump in and give it a try.
- Experiment with different size shapes.
- Use clear templates to fussy cut the fabric – make sure the templates include the seam allowance.
So – Here’s My Plan
I bought a copy of Quilting on the Go – English Paper Piecing by Sharon Burgess. It has a really clear introduction to the basics of EPP – along with a bunch of projects I can make with my completed shapes.
I’m getting started with 1″ hexagons. I bought the shapes without holes and I can punch my own holes easily enough if I decide they are easier to use that way.
To start with – I chose an all-in-one Hexagon Template by Dritz – meaning that I can fussy cut multiple sizes using the same template. Once I decide which size I prefer to work with – I think I’ll get the full set of Hexagon Templates that include a different template for each size of a hexagon. I think this would make the fussy cutting easier in the long run.
I also purchased the Sewline Fabric Glue Pen with extra refills so I can give that a try. I will also try hand basting as well to see which method works best for me.
The fabrics I’m using are leftover scraps from the products I used to make and sell wholesale. It’s a huge assortment of wildly different designs, colors, and graphic images. My goal is to make the hexagon flowers in such a way that each individual fabric is celebrated. I do have an idea in mind for a non-traditional setting once I get enough hexagon flowers made. That’s a long way down the road – but I’m excited to get started.
After I try out all the ideas you shared with me – I’ll share my progress as I get some flowers made up and settle on a technique that works well for me.