English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Grandmother’s Flower Garden EPP (using 1″ hexies)

This is the handwork kit I took with me on our anniversary trip. Someone asked why I didn’t take a cross-stitch project. I’m aware that cross-stitch is experiencing a revival at the moment, but I literally can’t see to cross-stitch unless I use my bright floor lamp with the magnifier lens. Chalk it up to older eyes, I guess. EPP and hand embroidery are fine with just my reading glasses and decent lighting.

I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to EPP (only worked on 3 flowers), but I travel better when I pack something to keep my hands busy during periods of extended down time. The basis for my kit is the Beginning English Paper Piecing Kit from Paper Pieces. The kit covers the essentials, but you’ll want to add the items that make EPP work better for you.

Here’s what I suggest for your beginner EPP kit:

Sew-line fabric glue pen + at least 2 refills
Tacony Super Mini Shears
1″ Hexie papers from Paper Pieces
2-1/2″ squares/mini-charm pack/hexie pack in assorted colors
DecoBob 80 wt thread in Antique White or Nude (wind on bobbins)
Milliner/Straw Needles in Size 10 or 11 (Sue Daley, Bohin, Colonial Needle, Tulip are good brands)
Wonder Clips (10)
Thread conditioner
Needle threader
Travel pack of baby wipes
Small box/bag to hold your supplies

* If you prefer to thread baste, pack a 60 wt poly thread and size 7 sharp needles in lieu of a glue pen.
* If excess fabric from the basted 2-1/2″ squares bothers you, then cut your mini-charms into hexie shapes ahead of time using a clear acrylic template, 28mm rotary cutter and a 10″ Sue Daley cutting turntable.
*I have obtained satisfactory results using Coats & Clark fine thread and Quilter’s Select 60wt thread to stitch my hexies together. A vendor at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival introduced me to DecoBob thread (Wonderfil) for sewing Lori Holt appliqué and I now use it exclusively for EPP, as well.

There are a ton of YouTube videos on how to do English Paper Piecing. As a starting point, search out Tula Pink and/or Sue Daley in videos produced by Fat Quarter Shop or Missouri Star Quilt Company. There’s a huge rabbit hole around EPP that you can explore to your heart’s content.

What will I do with all these hexie flower blocks? Appliqué them on placemats, potholders, zipper pouches, baby quilts, pillows, etc. I do not anticipate doing a complete Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt by hand.

Although, you never know…some of those Tula Pink and Jen Kingwell projects look mighty interesting.