English Paper Piecing- What is It and Why I Love It
March 3, 2020
Over ten years ago, I learned about English paper piecing. Although it was a sewing technique that I studied as much as I could, there wasn’t much information available on it. Today, there is more information available for someone who is curious about it, but it’s still not very well known in all quilting communities. Because of this, I wanted to talk about it and why I love it so much.English paper piecing is a quilting technique that involves creating paper quilt pieces out of card stock wrapped with fabric and hand sewing them together. There are different materials used to make the card stock core pieces used in the quilt, but the most common is a card stock like paper in a pre-cut shape, most commonly hexagons. The fabric is attached to the card stock using a basting fabric glue and, once the quilt is finished, the paper cores are removed.
Although hand sewing each fabric piece is time consuming and labor intensive, for me, I don’t mind it. As someone who had a terrible history creating quilts and making sure each seam lines up perfectly, I like how the card stock core supports the fabric pieces and how slow it is to make the quilt. That way I can check to see if one seam will not line up right, I can catch it faster.
There is so much about English paper piecing, but what I love the most about this quilting technique is it is great for fussy cut fabric and creating mosaic style quilting designs and pictures that are quilted, not printed fabric. It is labor intensive, but I enjoy assembling it because it’s like a big jigsaw puzzle. Although the picture is not always appliqued onto the main quilt, it normally is, taking more of my frustration associated with quilting away.
Although I don’t have an example to show of one of my quilts, I am planning on making a new one sometime this year. I’m very excited because I like to make my quilts for everyday use. Most of the English paper piecing quilts are used as art quilts and are for display only and not to be used for anything else. I don’t like to hang my quilts on walls, but actually use them and enjoy them.
I hope to eventually make a quilt later this year and talk about it in a future post. I have ideas on what to make, but I have other sewing projects I need to work on first, but I am determined to make the quilt this year.