Wednesday, April 19, 2017

EPP methodology

Thank you so much for the great response to my focus quilt! Apparently I won't be making this quilt alone, which is super fun! I will be anxiously waiting to see other versions of it popping up. Thanks to all of you who purchased the templates!

I thought it would be a good time to share some of my methodology when it comes to EPP (English paper piecing). Please remember that this is simply one way of doing things, not the end all, be all. I hope you pick up some tips that will be helpful to you.

Printing and Cutting the Templates: 

I have been printing the trapezoid pages only (page 2 of the PDF) on card stock on my home printer. I print a few sheets at a time, as needed, then use a rotary cutter specifically for paper to cut them into strips. This is a great way to use blades that are too dull to cut fabric!
You will notice that this rotary cutter is clearly marked for paper. All of the inhabitants of this house have been instructed and coached about the usage of this and other cutting tools. (Read: my husband!) Ha!
Once the strips are cut, I like to use a paper scissors to cut the shapes apart. I find that it's more efficient to use a scissors for these short cuts. It's quicker than lining up everything with the ruler and rotary cutter. (This is just personal preference!)
I keep all the templates in this cute little box to help keep them organized, otherwise they would be floating all over the place. It's just the right size!

If your home printer doesn't like to print on card stock, you could always take the files to a copy center, like Kinkos or Office Max, and have them print the sheets for you.
I have been using my paper punch (by Fiskars) that I bought at JoAnn's to punch the hexagons. It's so quick and efficient! (And lots of fun, too!) The hexagons measure 1" on each side.

Cutting the fabric:
I have been using a 2 1/2" square (or so) for the center blocks. Fussy cut, of course!
 
I cut the strips for the trapezoids 2 5/8" wide x 20" or so. I like to cut these from fat quarters. If you cut the FQ the long way, it's just the right amount of fabric for the outside pieces of one block. (I love that it worked out that way!) 
 
I started by cutting my strips 2 1/2" wide, but after a few blocks, I determined that I really like having the extra 1/8" in the width of the strip. There is a little more fabric to wrap around the back side of the paper pieces, which makes it easier to work with. Small difference, big results!
 
Basting:
In this photo you can see how much fabric wraps around the back side of the papers. You may also notice that I trim the edges of the fabric on the hexagon to mimic the shape of the paper. I am a little bit particular and I like to have the back nice and tidy, too. I LOVE my Clover wonder clips for holding the fabric in place while basting. They are wonderful!
I like to thread baste the fabric around the shapes using Aurifil thread. I don't sew through the paper (I never understood that, but to each his own!), I just sew through the fabric. Once the fabric is basted in place, I trim the tails on the trapezoids down to about 1/4". Again, keeping things tidy is helpful!

Sewing the pieces together:
When it comes time to sew the pieces together, I've been using my collection of bobbin threads shown above. (The top one is available here.) It's a great assortment of colors and the thread is nice and thin, but strong. It doesn't tangle easily, either. If I am unable to find something that matches with my fabric from my selections above, I fall back on my trusty Aurifil thread in the color 2600, which blends with almost anything!
The block measures 6" across, and about 5 1/4" tall.
And here's a peek at the back. I could remove the center paper now, if I wanted to, since it is fully enclosed by other pieces, but I decided that I will leave the papers in for awhile yet. I can't wait to have a giant stack of these completed. I'm having SO MUCH fun with this project!

I hope that this post will help you along with your EPP!

20 comments:

Anne said...

Thank you for these instructions! I'm sure it will help a lot of us to do better at EPP.

tahoe34 said...

Amanda, Would you mind showing us the order in which you sew the pieces?

Lynn Palmer said...

If you like to baste through the papers, I can highly recommend YLI glazed cotton quilting thread. It never tangles, even when you use great long lengths of it. I prefer stitching through the papers as it keeps the fabric nice and taught, I leave a longish tail when I knot the thread, baste around and knot to finish, again leaving a tail. Then when you're ready to remove the papers, you snip the basting once and you have two little tails to pull the thread out.

Southern Gal said...

I haven't given EPP a try yet, but so appreciate the step-by-step you give here! You have helped me so much on my quilting journey!

Barbara M. said...

Thank you for the EPP tips. I want to try this method, and your pattern and instructions will be helpful.

Rivah Rats Quilting said...

Love the pattern and thanks for the tutorial today, very helpful!

CherylB said...

Beautiful but to tedious for me!? Whhewwww

Carolyn Jones said...

This is fascinating - thanks for the tutorial! I've not seen EPP before. Will you be showing us how you sew the pieces together? Do you hand or machine stitch them.

Your quilt will be beautiful!

Amanda said...

Thanks for this tutorial, so helpful! Can't wait to try EPP!😊

Laura said...

I should buy Aurifil 2600 by the case! I'm currently using it to quilt a table runner. I'm having trouble visualizing how you thread baste without sewing through the paper, but I guess it doesn't matter since I glue baste! :-)

Suzy Wilde said...

How do you stitch all the pieces together? A ladder stitch?

bumblebee53 said...

This is so helpful, but having never done EPP, and I have the same question as Suzy Wilde; how do you sew all these pieces together into a block? I wonder if you would do a tutorial showing how you sew the pieces together, for us first-timers? Thanks!

Moneik said...

Love these little pieces. I've been working on 3 other EPP projects, but this is just fun to look at, so I'm excited to give it a try. I recently started a 7 sisters, but it's going together so quickly I think this one will be a great new project as well.

Suzanne said...

I enjoyed the info you shared and will file it away. I'm on the "EPP! Not for me" bandwagon but that could change at a moment's notice. Ha!

Teresa said...

Thanks for sharing your techniques. Its always good to see how others do it, and benefit from their process. EPP is my favorite method of making a quilt and I do love your project. I would like to see how you piece the individual block together since they overlap each other.

Teresa said...

Hi, I found where you offered a pattern for this sweet block on your blog and I have ordered a copy. Thank you so much for making this available to us.

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

Okay, so I'm almost convinced. I said to myself, "NO MORE PROJECTS" but apparently I don't listen very well. Besides those little pieces are just so cute! They are also just so small that it scares me.

Kara Zevchik said...

I will be quilting along with you! I love this so much. I haven't even opened your email yet but thanks for getting me excited to start!

Qltr89 said...

Thanks for the tip about the Fiskars cutter. I bought one, cam home and cut 20 hexagons from one card stock. It was awesome. Then I tried to purchase your template. Somehow after I log on to PayPal, when I go back to your store, it wants me to log in to Paypal again. My tablet is current so no idea why its doing that. Any ideas on how I can purchase your template?

Rosa said...

Great tutorial.I love pp and this year I`m with hexies and this tool looks so useful to make templates.Thanks