In this week's video I am sharing some tips for how to improve your English paper piecing technique. I am definitely not an expert, but I've learnt a few things along the way, through making my own mistakes. I firmly believe there is no right and wrong to do things, but making some little changes here and there will hopefully help a little.
1. Make sure you have accurately cut paper shapes
2.Take care when glue basting, don't use too much
3. Don't put the glue too close to the edge
4.Try not to wrap the fabric too tightly around the shape
5. Use a seam allowance of at least 1/4"
1. Use a fine, long needle, for example, a size 9 milliners needle
2. Use a strong, fine thread. I like polyester thread such as Invisifil by Wonderfil
3. Use a colour that blends with your fabric
4. Pull the thread tight when you sew, making sure there aren't any gaps
5.Use a locking knot at every junction
6. Carry your thread at the back of the work
Happy New Year! I hope 2023 is a brilliant year for you full of good health and happiness.
The start of a brand new year always feels like a good time to reflect on the past year and think about what changes we can make for the new one. I began by thinking I didn't really achieve much last year because I thought about all of the things I didn't do. My list of goals, none of which I completed. All of the things I started but didn't finish. I had to remind myself that it was a tough year personally in many ways, my health wasn't at it's best. But hopefully I am through the worst of that now and I can move forward. When I looked back on what I did make, I was pleasantly surprised that I did work on some nice projects last year! I also taught some lovely workshops at the festival of quilts and the knitting and stitching show, meeting so many lovely people at both. So overall last year ended up being better than I initially thought!
A major highlight of the past year was the quilt as you go community project. I started a quilt as you go quilt and after sharing it on Youtube, I asked others to join in and to send info and photos of their projects in so I could share on the channel. The response was fantastic and I really enjoyed seeing what everyone was making. If you'd like to see too, I will leave the video below so you can watch, it's so inspiring I know you'll enjoy it too.
In 2022 I launched my Stitch School and I am really proud of it. So far there are two workshops on there, one that is an add on to the Hexagon Sewing Case pattern and one that is a stand alone mini workshop for the Flower Power Pincushion. I have lots in the works for more workshops in 2023 and I am looking forward to sharing that with you in due course.
Thank you so much for all of the support you have shown me over the past 12 months. Whether that is through following on Instagram or Youtube, buying my patterns and workshops, or purchasing items from my shop, it all means so much to me and I have a lot to be grateful for. Wishing you a wonderful 2023 full of lots of creativity.
Today I would like to tell you about a wonderful company I am very lucky to be working with, Serious Readers. They are a British company who make lights for reading and for hobbies. They very kindly sent me their high definition floor standing lamp along with a compact light for me to test out and they also kindly sponsored my latest Youtube video. I have never worked with a company in this way before. I do get approached every now and then but I have always turned down offers because they have never felt like a natural fit for me. However, when Serious Readers got in touch and I learnt about their lights and the sort of company they are, it felt like the perfect fit for me.
The lights are made in the UK and I loved the personal story behind the company. The founder of the company developed the technology to make a light for his mother who had developed sight problems. They use something called Daylight Wavelength technology and I thought this sounded really interesting because I have always found using a daylight lamp essential for my sewing. We have a lot of grey days in the UK! So I actually use a daylight lamp in the daytime as well as night! Therefore I was really interested to test out the lamp to see if I liked it better than ones I had used previously. At one time, I used to use two different daylight lamps at once to try to get enough light on my work!
First of all, I love the look of the lamp, it is really beautifully made and feels high quality. I also love that it came in packaging with only a small amount of plastic, it was clear that this was a conscious effort by the company and I love that. The small, compact lamp even came in its own drawstring bag!
But the big test was the light that it emitted, and I have to say, it has surpassed all of the three other daylight lamps I have tried over the years, made by various other companies. The Serious Readers high definition floor lamp is fantastic. Other lamps I have used in the past emit a very white, almost blue light, which is quite stark and sterile. The high definition light is a much warmer light, and this took me by surprise at first as it didn’t seem like your typical daylight bulb. As soon as I started worked on my sewing, I realised how much better this light was.
It is absolutely true to natural light, it feels like you are working on a bright sunny day and that feels so nice. I found the light to be really relaxing on my eyes and the fact it has a dimmer switch means you can set it at the exact level for the conditions you are working in and this makes it so comfortable to use.
On the brightest setting, it is far brighter than the other lights I have used and I have to say, I absolutely love it and I can’t imagine not sewing with this light, it will certainly be a firm fixture in my sewing room.
A huge thank you to Serious Readers for sending me the lights and sponsoring my video. They are a lovely company to work with. If you would like to find out more about their lights, here is a link to their site and if you were to decide to purchase one, you can use the code EMMA10 and you will get a free compact light too, which means you can have a second place in your house for sewing, that’s what I am using mine for!
One thing I love is working with scraps, especially if they are tiny! It feels so good to make something useful from fabric that would otherwise be thrown away. I don't actually throw any scraps away anymore. I tend to use scraps in my projects more than new fabric! But in my most recent video on Youtube, I challenged myself to use as many small scraps as I could and this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you make one too!
Hello Friends, how are you doing? I hope that wherever you are in the world that you are doing ok during the difficult times we have been facing. In the UK we are in our third lockdown and I have found this Winter lockdown to be difficult if I am honest. But I have tried to stay as positive as I can and sewing has really helped me to do that. I have just let myself make whatever I feel like and that has been really freeing and enjoyable.
Over the last 12 months, I have really learnt how important sewing is to my mental health and well-being. If I haven't managed to fit a bit of stitching into my day, I don't feel as calm, relaxed and happy. Stitching allows me to forget about any worries and gives me something positive to focus on. This week on my Youtube channel, I shared a video about the projects I have been working on during this lockdown and what it is about these projects in particular, that is helping me to cope with lockdown. You can find the video below. I have also linked a video below that I made in September, which describes how slow stitching helps me deal with stress and anxiety. I hope you enjoy watching these videos, thank you so much and take good care of yourself.
This week's Youtube video (well it should have been last week's but I am behind on all of my plans already!) is a little tutorial for how to make a hexagon cushion. This cushion is really easy to make for the following reasons:
1. I used pre-cut 1 1/4" hexagons from Ava and Neve for most of the hexagons, I only cut a few out myself. This really speeds up the process. The Liberty fabrics are so pretty and I love the overall "busy look" they created. I usually use solids to break up prints in what I make but I wanted to create a different look here. I also tried to create a bit of a rainbow gradient but not too obvious.
2. I used 1 inch Hexiform hexagons which were pre-cut too. Using pre-cut shapes and fabrics made it really quick to baste the shapes to get to the sewing part faster.
3. I glue based the shapes which is another really quick and easy method.
4. You can make the cushion any size you want, just lay out your hexagons to the desired size, remembering you will lose 1/4" in your seam allowance at the end. As a guide, my finished cushion is 14 1/2" x 12 1/2" and I made it from 7 rows of full 1 inch hexagons, 10 hexagons in each row. I also added 5 half hexagons to the top and 5 to the bottom. So that's a total of 70 x 1" hexagons and 10 x 1" half hexagons.
5. Hexiform is designed to be left in so this speeds the process up further as removing papers can take time.
Having said all of that, it still took hours to sew it all together by hand so it was not a quick project for me. It was extremely enjoyable and relaxing to make and I am really happy with my finished cushion. I have lots of plans for more EPP cushions and I might have started two more already!
Thanks for checking out my video, have a lovely day.
I've always loved vintage sewing items, from fabric to patterns to books and magazines, they've always fascinated me. It's the reason I got interested in sewing, it's the reason I named myself Vintage Sewing Box on social media many, years ago! A few weeks before Covid changed our world, I visited the Bronte Museum in Haworth and I was in awe of all of the wonderful vintage sewing and patchwork items that were there.
The Bronte sisters were avid sewers and painters as well as readers and writers. They were such a creative family. I love the quilt on this bed and I want to recreate it someday, in my own colour palette.
There was even an exhibition by an artist called Tamar Stone, of tiny patchwork quilts. This was displayed in the Bronte house and it was lovely to see. If you can visit one day, I highly recommend it. The Brontes are an important part of British literary history and it is so interesting to learn about their lives.
I've been looking through the vintage sewing things my Gran left to me. It's really inspiring to see them, but also very emotional as they bring back memories. Unfortunately she did not finish much of what she had, and many of her kits are untouched. It makes me determined to use and enjoy what I have. If you'd like to see more in detail, I have a video showing everything on my YouTube channel and there's an unexpected twist in the middle as I decide to start working on one of her table cloths. I hope I can do it justice.
Have you collected any vintage or antique sewing things? What do you treasure? I'd love to know.
Hello everybody, I hope you are all well and staying safe at home. I feel like life is a battle at the moment, trying to deal with what is happening and the constant worries about so many things. Keeping busy is my strategy so I have two new things to share with you. First up, I've started a YouTube channel. I get asked frequently if I have a YouTube channel and also told I should have one! I didn't have much confidence in my video making skills so I didn't pursue it but after some thought I've decided to give it a go. The thumbs down feature on YouTube has always put me off. I know that when I get a thumbs down on a video, I will be a bit hurt. I don't have thick skin but I think I need to work on that, I know I will never please everyone! Currently there are only a few short videos on there as I work on uploading videos I have already shared on other platforms but I have big plans and ideas for what I'd like to share. First of all, I want to bring clear, concise 'how to' style videos to show people how to do English Paper Piecing and embroidery. These will be a combination of short videos teaching one or two techniques, and also longer, more in depth videos. As well as techniques, I have some ideas for project tutorials that I want to teach through video. My other idea is to do some lifestyle videos showing how slow stitching can be a beneficial part of every day life. What I show on YouTube will be different from Instagram. Instagram will be more of a daily snapshot at what I'm making and Youtube will be more tutorial led. What are your thoughts? Would you like to see videos like these from me? Do you have any other ideas for videos you think I should make? If you'd like to subscribe to my channel, I would be truly honoured. It's completely free and it means that you will see my new videos when I make them. You can find my channel here.
The other thing I have been working on is updating my Hexagon Needle Book tutorial and putting it into PDF format. It's still available as a blog post but I thought it would be easier for people to download the PDF and save it to their computers rather than having to search for my tutorial. The PDF download is of course free and can be found here. Thank you to everyone who has made one so far, it's so exciting to see them popping up on Instagram. If you do make one and share it on Instagram, please tag me so I can see it.
Take care, until next time, happy sewing!
About the Author
My name is Emma and I love all things sewing, especially EPP. My little blog is the place where I document what I'm making. I hope you enjoy reading what I'm up to! All opinions are my own and I only share things that I think you will love. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.