Trying new things – English Paper Piecing


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently challenged myself to try something new – using only the the materials I had on hand.  I’d learned the Lori Holt method of machine applique using Pellon sew-in interfacing and now wanted to try something involving handwork. A hexie embellished pillow on Pinterest caught my attention, so I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try.

Yes, I’m a bit late to the EPP party. Better late than never!  The good thing is there are any number of videos on YouTube that will teach you the basics, should your library not have a book on the subject, or you have time to attend an in-person class. EPP isn’t hard, nor does it require much investment on your part to get started.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1″ hexie papers.  (Templates available here.  Print on card stock.)
  • Glue stick (Borrowing your kid’s purple glue stick is perfectly fine!)
  • Needles (Applique or Milliner size 10 or 11)
  • Beeswax/Thread Conditioner
  • Thread (50 wt, 60 wt or 80 wt)
  • 2-1/2″ square fabric scraps
  • Small, sharp scissors
  • Wonder clips or pins
  • Thimble

I used the glue baste method to make my hexies. I experimented with 3 different stitches to join my hexies together to form a flower:  whipstitch, ladder and flat-back. For me, the flat-back stitch was the hands-down winner!

Helpful hints:
* Laminate the entire printed page before cutting out the individual hexie templates.
* Use a small hole punch to punch a hole in the middle of each template. This makes for easier template removal later.
* I found Milliner needles size 11 to be the perfect fit for me.
* Thread preference is 60 wt Coats & Clark Fine or Superior Bottom Line poly threads.
* My Clover desk needle threader was a godsend as the milliner needles have tiny eyes (you can buy large eye Milliner needles, but I was using what I had on hand).
* I detest sticky fingers, so I wasn’t a big fan of the glue stick method until I watched a Sue Daley video where she demonstrated the SewLine glue pen.  That glue pen, along with the laminated hexies, helped minimize the glue reside on my fingers.
*If you are cutting your squares from jelly roll strips, consider picking up a hexie template like this one.  It makes the underside of the hexie a little more uniform and easier to tack down.

Additional Video Resources:
Sue Daley EPP School
Hexie thread basting 
Flat Back Stitch 

P.S. Why EPP?  I’m taking a professional development course for the day job that requires me to watch videos each week. I need something to do with my hands while I watch the videos.  🙂