This week I tried to learn how to English Paper Piecing. It was hard at first, but after trying it a few times it became easier. English Paper Piecing is a hand stitching technique deeply rooted in the history of sewing. The technique uses paper templates to stabilize fabric and ensure accuracy when piecing complex angles together. The shapes and templates can really be anything you can dream of, although straight lines are easier to handle. English Paper Piecing (EPP) is a traditional method of sewing that can be traced as far back as the late 1700’s in the US history books. Not only did the Pioneer Woman use this technique to create much needed bedding for the long journey ahead but they helped document the story of these times. You see, since paper was hard to come by, the woman would draw their templates on old letters, newspaper clippings and even torn catalog pages. Sometimes, the templates were left in the quilts as they were thought to provide an extra layer of insulation against the cold.
Some of the materials you will need are:
- fabric scraps
- paper (I suggest freezer paper)
- sewing needle & thread
- Cut your hexagon paper template to the finished size. This will serve as a sew guide and support the shape.
- Cut fabric 1/4” larger than paper template. This extra 1/4” is your seam allowance.
- Place paper template onto the wrong side of fabric.
- Fold over two sides of hexagon and stitch the seam allowance overlap with needle and thread. Repeat the process all around hexagon. Traditionally baste stitching is through all layers, including the paper.
- Join hexagons together with a simple whip stitch, working from one side to the other. Keep stitches small and close together for best outlook.
- Continue to stitch shapes together. After shapes are secure on all sides the foundation paper and basting stitches can be removed.