English Paper Piecing is the long-established, time-honoured technique of sewing patchwork quilts by hand without use of a sewing machine. It involves using paper templates to act as a stabilising layer when sewing pieces together for accurate results. Fabric is wrapped around the paper template and then the finished shapes are whip-stitched (previously known as over-sewing) along the edges to form the quilt. Traditionally it was referred to as mosaic patchwork or English piecing, today it is often referred to as the acronym 'EPP'.
English Paper Piecing has become incredibly popular in recent years. The portability of the craft makes is ideal for today’s busy lives and an ideal craft for travelling. It’s very accessible to start given that you only need some paper templates, cotton fabric and a needle and thread. In the past, quilter’s would have to draw and cut out their own shapes which can be very labour intensive, today there are pre-cut English paper pieces in a huge range of shapes and sizes so design possibilities are endless.
A wealth of inspiration from online sources such as Pinterest and Instagram have introduced new audiences to the craft with idea sharing, quilt-a-longs and community groups. And with today’s appetite for traditional craft and appreciation for slow-stitching, on top of the boom in home-hobby activities post 2020, it puts English paper piecing even more in the spotlight.
Our English Paper Piecing advice and inspiration will hopefully strike your imagintation to start on your own heirloom quilt project. Read up on the history of English Paper Piecing, follow our tutorials or watch a video tutorial on the basic whipstitch.
From humble beginnings to modern day the history of patchwork piecing with paper templates.
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