I posted about my first English paper piecing project here and, well, I’ve become a little obsessed with it.
It’s all I can think about! I want to work on it night and day. My job is really getting in the way of my single-minded pursuit of hand sewing little stars. Why is this so addictive?
The process is super slow. I am an experienced hand sewer so I bet I’m faster at this than a lot of people would be and I’m still really slow. I’m averaging about one star per hour. If I didn’t have to work, I bet I could have this sucker put together in about three weeks. That’s how obsessed I am.
I’m no expert at EPP, but here’s one tip I can share. I rotary cut my pieces out and it was way faster than doing it by hand. You’ll need a template (I sprung for the acrylic ones you can buy at www.paperpieces.com), but you can make your own. The template is basically your paper piece plus a 3/8ths inch seam allowance on all sides. You’ll also need some sort of marking device (I used a Sewline pencil with white lead for my dark fabric and a black Frixion pen for my light fabric). Finally, you’ll need a quilting ruler, a rotary cutter and a mat.
The key to this is how you line up your shapes. I’m using a hexagon, a “jewel” (a sort of elongated pentagon), and a diamond. All three shapes were easy to rotary cut.
I piled three fat quarters one a top of the other so I could cut three layers at once. I tried four layers and that worked, too, but three was better. On the top layer, you trace your template. Align the bottom edge with the edge of your fabric. Trace one shape then trace the next one right next to it. They have to butt right up to each other for this to work.
Now, imagine a line connecting the tops of all your shapes. Cut along this line. You now have a strip with your row of shapes.
Lay this at an angle on your mat. As we cut the shapes apart, we won’t move this strip or any of the pieces until all the cuts are made.
For the hexagon, you need to lay them out so the flat edges of opposite sides are at the top and bottom of your strip. The shapes will touch each other at the points (see photo).
The diamonds are super easy to rotary cut, but I forgot to take a photo. Sorry!
Since this is such a time consuming process, saving some time on cutting seems like a blessing to me. It got me to the sewing quicker which is the part I really like. If you are going to EPP, give this a shot.
Linking up at Quilt Story’s Fabric Tuesday.