I love English Paper Piecing so much, but I love tiny EPP the most! I'm currently working on a half inch hexagon project which will become a wall hanging. I love half inch hexagons and I think they might be my favourite size. I absolutely love combining embroidery and EPP and as I often use hexiform shapes rather than paper (which I buy from Ashmead Designs) embroidering into them is even easier!
I'm really passionate about sewing being an accessible craft/hobby to all people, which is something I will talk about more in depth in another post. But for now I will say that EPP is a great hobby and anyone can do it. It's inexpensive, only requires a few tools (needle, thread, paper, fabric, scissors and maybe a glue pen if you don't want to thread baste) and is so portable.
Recently I started a quarter inch hexagon project and I got lots of questions about it on Instagram. There was a lot of interest surrounding how I make the hexagons and sew them together. So I've made a little video tutorial that shows all of the steps and also how I made them into a little pincushion. I wanted a small pincushion to take around with me as when I'm stitching on the go I always need somewhere to park my needle in between stitches. I admit I was very tempted to make this little pincushion into a bracelet to wear whilst stitching, but maybe I will make another one for that.
The beauty of half inch and quarter inch projects is that they use up the teeny tiniest of scraps which I think is brilliant. I don't have a lot of money to buy fabric so I like to use up what I have and also, this is better for our environment.
I hope you like my video tutorial and that you find it useful, especially if you are a beginner. You can find it on the video tutorials tab under quilting tutorials or click on one of the links in this post. There are, of course, many ways to make things, I am just showing you my way. The two halves of the pincushion could be stitched with a ladder stitch whereas I have used a whip stitch. Please feel free to use my video as inspiration and to make the project your own in any way you like by changing stitches or adding your own twist. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below. Happy sewing!
I am a complete newbie when it comes to Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) and I must admit, it's taken some brain power to get my head around it! I'm loving this journey so far but I want to share what I've learnt in the hope it will help anyone else who is new to this magical technique. The first thing I did was look at some Youtube video tutorials. I'm a visual learner so I find this to be a great way to learn.
This tutorial by Mister Domestic is a good introduction to the basic FPP technique.
But I quickly realised that FPP was going to mean that I would have to print and cut out lots of paper templates which I found slightly off-putting because I prefer the sewing part. Then I discovered @sugaridoo and on youtube she has a tutorial for how to use freezer paper. This method means you only need to print and cut out one freezer paper template because it can be reused over and over again. You can watch her excellent tutorial here. This method just made sense to me and it's the method I've been using to sew all of my blocks, and it works brilliantly!
Irene's tutorial is definitely the best explanation of this technique, but here is my step by step guide just in case you'd like to see how I do it.
1. Cut a piece of freezer paper the same size as an A4 piece of paper. Iron it onto the A4 printer paper, waxy side face down. Put it into the printer and print the FPP pattern onto it. Remove the printer paper and cut out the freezer paper templates.
2. Iron the first pattern piece onto the wrong side of the fabric.
3. Hold it up to the light to ensure the design is positioned on the fabric correctly and that the fabric will cover the seam allowance.
4. Next fold back the next part of the template along the seam line and place the next piece of fabric on top of the first piece of fabric, right sides together. Hold it up to the light to check that the fabric covers the pattern piece and seam allowance.
5. Next I take it to the sewing machine and stitch carefully along the folded edge, not into the paper but up close to it.
6. Before unfolding the paper, now is the time to use your add a quarter inch ruler. I got mine free with a magazine. Place your ruler so that the quarter inch comes after the stitched line and trim.
7. Now you can unfold the paper and trim the whole piece to be the same size.
8. It is a good idea to give your piece another press with the iron to ensure the seams are pressed and that the freezer paper is stuck on properly.
9. Repeat these steps for the rest of your pattern, pressing the freezer paper when needed to keep things in place. I don't remove the freezer paper until the very end when the block is complete.
10. When it comes to joining two already pieced sections together, I fold down the paper seam allowance on both pieces, line them up right sides together and sew.
I reached out on Instagram to see if anybody had some tips and I received some excellent advice so I thought I would share here. I will link to the Instagram accounts of each person who gave me advice so credit is given to the very talented makers who helped me out. I hope the tips help you get started with FPP if you are finding it tricky.
1. Nim @gingernim said when sewing a crucial point that needs to meet, pin it first and sew it with a longer stitch length, that way you can check it meets and unpick more easily. If it is ok then sew the seam again with a shorter stitch length.
2. Meegan @nanas_needle said to not be frugal with your fabric, so cut your pieces bigger than you need them and trim them down afterwards. She also said to think about the type of paper you use, thinner paper like vellum works better.
3. Donna @donnalyn18 recommends folding the paper on the seam lines and using an add a quarter inch ruler.
4. Irina @nordiccrafter gave quite a few excellent tips. She explained how FPP is like working in reverse and that you place the wrong side of the fabric against the paper. She suggested holding your paper and fabric up towards a light source to ensure you can see that you have enough fabric to cover the area. Irina also said it is important to reduce your stitch length so that you can remove the paper with ease and that locking your stitches at the beginning and end of a seam will help to stop them from coming undone.
5. Victoria @wonkystitches recommended using a glue pen to help keep things in place whilst stitching which is an excellent tip.
6. Lee @quarteracreblock pointed me in the direction of @quietplay who has some excellent tips on her website here. She also told me about the practice tree that @thecraftynomadfleet has here. Lee also told me about @teresadownunder who has amazing videos on her page. These tutorials have all been very useful indeed.
7. Cari @muddle_and_grace suggested checking out youtube videos about FPP and there are some brilliant tutorials on there.
So I hope all of the advice, hints and tips are useful if you are getting started. A massive thank you to everyone who offered me help, it's great to be able to share it here.
If you have any questions or other tips to share, please leave them in the comments.
Even though I've been sewing for as long as I can remember, I've recently stumbled across a new technique that I've never tried before, foundation paper piecing. It differs from English paper piecing because foundation paper piecing involves sewing through the paper and then removing it at the end. English paper piecing involves wrapping fabric around the paper shape whereas foundation paper piecing blocks are constructed flat. EPP involves hand sewing and FPP uses a sewing machine. FPP is completely new to me and I am by no means an expert, I have a lot to learn and I love that! I'm using my brain and I'm finding it a challenge and that's a good thing, I like to be continually learning. I thought I would document my FPP journey here and tell you about what I've learnt and made.
So first for some inspiration. I've been searching Pinterest for inspiring FPP patterns and there are so many. Here are some of my favourites to give you an idea of what FPP is if it's new to you too. All images are linked back to the source.
FPP blocks usually create pictures whereas EPP blocks create motifs. I find FPP to be magical. Tiny pieces of fabric are sewn together to create amazing pictures. I can't wait to get better at this technique so that I can make some of these fantastic designs. FPP is also used for none pictorial blocks like log cabin and this is because the technique of sewing through the paper gives greater accuracy for matching up seams.
Have you tried FPP before? What have you made? In my next post I will show you my first attempt at FPP and share the tips I've learnt thus far. Happy sewing!
Continuing from my last post, you should now have all 12 blocks finished and ready to turn into a quilt. Play around with your blocks and decide on how you would like them to be arranged. You may also want to trim you blocks at this point to ensure they are all 6 inch squares. Now it's time to add the sashing. We will start with the vertical sashing between the blocks.
1. Cut 16 strips of fabric that are 6 inches long and 2.5 inches wide.
2. Take the first block of your quilt and lay a strip of sashing on top of it right sides together, lining up the raw edges on the left side as they face you. Sew together using a quarter inch seam allowance, open out and press the seam open. Repeat this to sew the sashing on the right side of the block.
3. Take the next block in the row and place it on top of the righthand piece of sashing, right sides together. Line up the raw edges on the right side and sew together with a quarter inch seam allowance. Flip open and press the seam open.
4. Next add the another piece of sashing to the right side of block two, in the same way as you did in step 2.
5. Continuing in this way, add the third block in the row and the final piece of sashing.
6. Repeat these steps for the remaining three rows of your quilt.
7. Next add the long, horizontal sashing strips to join the rows together. Take your first row and place a sashing strip along the top, right sides together. Sew with a quarter inch seam allowance and flip open and press the seam open.
8. Repeat this for the sashing on the bottom on the top row.
9. Now add the next row to that piece of sashing by placing the row, right sides together, on top of the sashing, lining up the raw edges. Flip open and press the seams open. Continue in this way to add each row with sashing in between. Now your quilt top is done! It's time to quilt.
10. I don't have a huge table for creating my quilt layers, so I use the floor. Spread out your backing fabric with the wrong side facing up and secure to the floor with masking tape.
11. Next lay the wadding on top and the quilt top on top of that.
12. Pin the layers together using quilters pins, making sure your pin goes through all layers. I put a pin every few inches apart as I also sprayed some quilters basting glue on my layers to keep them together. If you don't use the glue, make sure you use more pins.
13. Now remove the masking tape and begin to quilt. I stitched in the ditch (sewing along each seam on the right side) and I quilted my squares diagonally but you can choose however you wish to quilt them.
14. Once the quilting is done, trim your backing fabric and wadding to be the same size as your quilt top and remove your pins.
15. Now it's time to add the binding. Press your binding in half and pin in place on the quilt top, lining up the raw edges.
16. I turn the raw edge at the start in on itself to encase it. Sew in place with a quarter inch seam allowance.
17. At each corner, I sew off the edge at the corner, lift the presser foot and readjust the angle of the binding so that it is a right angle. I then continue to sew along. This will give you a mitred corner.
18. When you get back to the beginning, put the end of your binding inside the beginning of your binding to encase it.
19. Now flip your binding round to the back of the quilt and stitch in place by hand with an invisible appliqué stitch.
Your quilt is done! I hope you enjoy this tutorial. If you have any questions please contact me. Happy sewing!
Let's start making the quilt! To start we need to cut our fabrics. This is really easy because we are working with strips that are 2.5 inches wide for everything! So that keeps things nice and simple.
For the coloured nine patch blocks, you need will need 24 strips of fabric that are 2.5 inches wide. Each block uses two contrasting fabrics. So you will need one strip to be 10 inches long and one to be 12.5 inches long.
1. Cut your 10 inch long strip into four 2.5 inch squares. Cut your 12.5 inch long strip into five 2.5 inch squares. The photo shows how to line your ruler up with the 2.5 measurement in line with the edge of the fabric. Then you can cut along the edge of the ruler.
2. Decide which fabrics you are going to pair up for each block if you haven't already done so. We will be creating a pattern like this;
Once all of that cutting is done, it's time to get sewing! We will be sewing each block a row at a time, then joining them together.
3. Take the top left square and the top middle square. Place them right sides together and sew in place down one side using a quarter inch seam allowance.
As I've used white thread I've drawn over it on the computer in blue to show you where to stitch.
4. Open it out and repeat on the other side of the central square with your top right square.
5. Now there are different opinions about what to do with your seams. Some people press them to one side. I press them open. I like this because I find it easier to line them up when joining them to other pieces. I've never had a problem with fabric showing through to the other side. So press your seams open if you wish.
Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 for the middle and bottom rows.
6. Now it's time to join your three rows together. Lay out your three rows how you'd like them to look when finished, with the right sides facing up. Pick up the top row and flip it over on top of the middle row so that the right sides of each row are facing each other. You need to make sure you have flipped the top row over towards you before placing it on top of the middle row, so that you are lining up the bottom raw edge of the top row and the top raw edge of the middle row! Sounds complicated but it isn't, it's just tricky to explain in words! So here is a photo. Sew along the blue line with a quarter inch seam allowance.
Top Tip! It is important to line the two middle seams up of both rows before you sew them together. I use pins to do this and I stick the pin through the middle of each seam, catching the middle of the seam on the other piece.
7. Open it out and press your seam open.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 to join the bottom row, making sure you flip the bottom row up, lining up the top raw edge of the bottom row with the bottom raw edge of the middle row!
9. And that is your block finished! Repeat for the rest of your blocks and you will be ready to add sashing. I will be back tomorrow showing you how to do that! As always, if you have any questions or need me to clarify anything, leave a comment or send me an email.
I've been sharing on Instagram a small quilt I've been making and I think it's perfect for beginners. It is the ideal size to be used in a pushchair/buggy or for a child to use with dolls and teddies as it measures just 26 inches wide and 34 inches long. I've created it using a simple nine patch block and I repeated that throughout the quilt, separating the blocks with sashing.
What's nice about this quilt is that you can easily make it larger if you wish and also, the nine patch block looks more complex than simple squares, but it really isn't hard to do at all. As a beginner, you'll learn some useful techniques that will have you feeling confident enough to tackle your next quilt.
It's entirely up to you how you make this quilt. You can play around with fabrics, colours and size. To keep it simple, I will provide a list of what I used.
That's it! Gather your supplies and I will be back with the next steps - how to piece the quilt top. Happy sewing!
I'm starting a new series of blog posts aimed at anyone who would like to make a quilt for the first time and is not sure where to begin. There is already a wealth of information out there but it can be quite overwhelming. So my aim is to break it all down and to make it easy to understand and follow. This post will explain some quilting terminology and there will be subsequent posts about the materials you need, how to make a simple quilt top, how to turn it into a quilt and how to bind the edge.
As with any craft, quilting comes with an array of terminology that might be confusing to you if you are entering the world of quilting for the first time. So let's simplify some of the common terms.
1. Quilt - a quilt is made up of three layers, a quilt top which is created using some sort of patchwork, the middle layer which is some sort of wadding or batting which gives the quilt its warmth, and a backing fabric which is typically one single piece of fabric.
2. Piecing - this means the creation of a quilt top, by cutting fabrics into smaller pieces and joining them back together again in a particular design. This is typically done on a sewing machine.
3. English paper piecing - a style of patchwork that is done by hand. It involves cutting fabrics into small shapes and wrapping them around paper templates, joining them together with other shapes to form a design and removing the paper templates when the quilt top is complete.
4. Binding - a strip of fabric that is wrapped around the edge of the quilt to conceal the raw edges.
5. Blocks - Quilts can be large so they are usually made from small segments that are joined together. These smaller parts are called blocks and they are usually square.
5. Quilt sandwich - this refers to the layering up of your quilt, comprising of your quilt top, your wadding and your backing fabric. The wadding is the 'filling' and the quilt top and backing are the 'bread'.
6. Basting - a temporary way of keeping your layers together whilst they are being quilted. You can baste them together using pins, spray glue or tacking stitches which will be removed when the quilting is done.
7. Quilting - this is the act of using the stitches to sew through all three layers to quilt them together. This can be done by machine or by hand.
8. Walking foot - a special sewing machine foot that helps to guide the layers of fabric through your machine in a way that prevents them from slipping. This foot is essential for quilting, unless your machine has a built in foot like mine does.
9. Free motion - this is when you drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine (the teeth that pull the fabric through the machine) and using an open toe free motion foot, you can quilt through the layers in any direction in which you move the fabric yourself. This opens up a world of design possibility.
10. Long arm quilting- this is done on a special, huge machine. The quilt is put on a frame and can be quilted with larger, all-over designs. This is a professional finish although some home sewers do have these machines.
11. Applique - the application of fabric shapes to a backing fabric. They can be sewn by hand, turning the edge of the shapes under first or they can be stuck to the backing fabric with either glue or iron-on fusible webbing and then sewn around the raw edge. Applique is a lovely technique for creating pictorial quilts.
12. Sashing - fabric strips that are sewn between the blocks of the quilt to space them out and create a clean, fresh look.
13. Low volume - this refers to fabrics that have a more neutral colour palette and have a less busy pattern. Low volume fabrics are important for creating contrast in your quilt design and allowing intricate pieced designs to really stand out.
14. Fussy cutting - when you cut your fabric into smaller pieces for patchwork, rather than cutting anywhere, you can pick a motif or part of the fabric that you want to be the focus of your shape, and centralise it. Fussy cutting offers a lot of scope for creating new designs from your fabric and you can create very intricate patterns this way, but it inevitably creates more fabric waste.
And that's it for now! If you have come across any more terms you are unsure of then please leave them in the comments and I will try to answer what they mean.
I will be back soon with another post about getting started with your first quilt.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
About the Author
My name is Emma and I love all things sewing. My little blog is the place where I document what I'm making. I hope you enjoy reading what I'm up to. Thanks for stopping by. All opinions are my own and there is no sponsored content or affiliate links on my site.