English Paper Piecing (otherwise known as EPP) projects are by far, at least in my opinion, the most versatile type of quilting. You can take this project anywhere with you, you don’t need a lot of fancy dancy tools or machines, and you can leave the project by your armchair to work on while unwinding at the end of the day. EPP’s is simply a technique using a paper stabilizer to create a shape from fabric, typically a hexagon (hexie) but you can also create other straight line shapes.
I like to use freezer paper to create the hexagon templates. Freezer paper has a shiny side which when heated becomes temporarily adhesive. For my current hexagon quilt project, I photocopied 900 hexagon shapes onto freezer paper using my own home printer. I then cut out all the hexies.
I didn’t cut the 900 hexies overnight. I did them when the kids were watching TV and the majority were cut on the way to and from a long road trip. Alternatively, if the thought of cutting out the hexie paper pieces and then re-cutting them once adhered to fabric sounds too daunting, you can purchase pre-cut hexagon shapes from most fabric stores. The Fat Quarter Shop has these available.
You then take the shiny side of the freezer paper shapes and iron them onto the wrong side of the chosen fabric. For my current project, I bought a fat quarter bundle from The Fat Quarter Shop
This particular bundle included 40 fat quarters so I didn’t have to spend any time finding co-ordinating fabrics but having said that, creating hexie quilts is a great way to reduce your fabric stash.
After you have ironed the hexies to the fabric, simply cut about one inch around the hexie.
Ok, so perhaps I didn’t cut out exactly one inch around the hexie but if you are just starting out for first time, one inch is recommended.
After you have cut out all the hexies, you can begin to baste the fabric into the hexie shape.
This is simply done with a needle and thread. You will fold the fabric over the paper hexie and baste. You will repeat this process for all the hexies you have cut.
Once all the hexies are basted, you can then begin to sew the quilt. Notice, every part of the quilt has been done by hand and without a lot of tools. So far, you have only needed a photocopier, an iron, scissors, needle and thread.
To begin, simply take two hexies, wrong sides together and sew the straight edge. Attach another hexie and sew two sides together. Eventually all the hexies will be sewn together.
The finished size of the quilt depends on how many hexies you cut. I am starting with 900 hexies and will see how far that takes the quilt. I am hoping for a large lap quilt.
When you have completed sewing all the hexies, you would then create a backing based on the size of the finished quilt and sandwich a layer of batting in between. I take my quilts to a professional quilter because I don’t have a machine which will accommodate quilting large quilts. Alternatively, you can quilt by hand. I will update this process once I have sewn all the pieces of my current quilt.
Hexies are fun but of course you can choose most any shape with straight side. I choose hexies because I am a bit obsessed with them right now.
The Idea Pouch was created using printed fabric but I love it just the same.
Please do send me a message if you have any questions at all. I am not a professional quilter. This is how I create a hand stitched hexagon quilt. Others may have different methods and formulas. This one works for me and I am happy with it. The process allows me to unwind at the end of the day while the kidlets are watching TV. That and a cup of tea is the perfect way to end a day.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!