The papers that you baste your fabrics over provide all the accuracy for this technique so it really is a project that you can pick up and put down and chat while you work – much less concentration required than with machine sewing!
Depending on the anticipated size of your finished project, you might need to cut out and prepare quite a few hexagons before you start sewing them together. This is just so that you can ensure you scatter the colours evenly over the whole quilt. another option is to create rosettes or diamonds of groups of fabrics and then frame them with another colour.
In this project Linda’s using blue grey scraps to frame each diamond rosette arrangement of hexagons. The use of the blue grey is subtle, it’s not tonally hugely different to some of the colours in the rosettes, but it will help to build harmony across the whole quilt. It’ll provide consistency meaning that the rosettes can be really scrappy in their colour make up.
Linda usually uses a mid-grey thread colour when working with scraps like this. A neutral thread colour will go with most of the fabrics and be fairly invisible.
An English paper pieced project is perfect for summer sewing, but let’s face it, Linda’ usually has an EPP project on the go most of the year! It’s a great option for summer sewing because it’s hand stitched and portable so you’re not tied to the sewing machine, or even the house. You can sit in the garden, take it on holiday, stitch while you travel, take it to a friend’s house, you name it!
In this new project, you can see Linda’s using up lots and lots of fabric scraps. You really can mix in all sorts of colours together so long as you maintain colour relationships that work. For instance, work with colours that have a similar tonal value (how light or dark they are) if you want the colours to blend and be harmonious.
If you’re shapes are small (these are 1″ hexagons) then it’s best to work with fine smooth fabrics such as quilting weight cottons. Linda also often works with silk which creates a beautiful jewel-like result. The fabrics in this project are all hand dyes that we’ve done over the years. They’ll mostly be a quilting weight mercerised cotton poplin which is closely woven and crisp to work with.
Needless to say, it’s extremely satisfying to raid through the scrap bags and cut out the hexagons. With these small shapes even the very small offcuts from other projects can be put to use.
We hope you’ll be inspired to find out more about English paper piecing and the exciting creative potential that it offers. We’ve picked out a selection of our workshops and mini courses for you below. As with all our classes, you’ll have instant, lifetime access to the videos and you can watch them as many times as you like. Click on any of the images below for more information and to get started!
In the Mix: Hydrangea Quilt
English paper piecing can be quite a slow and time consuming process. Using smaller sections of EPP as part of a larger quilt is an idea full of potential. Combining techniques into a successful piece of work is one of our favourite challenges. Join Linda as she demonstrates how she’s mixed English paper piecing, painted fusible web and free machine quilting in a single small quilt.