Some EPP Basics..

So.. I meant to post this already but some family stuff occured and running behind!

This is not meant to be an A to Z of EPP but some basics to get you started. I’m not advocating it to be the best way- just the way I found that I prefer. The main thing is for you to experiment and find something that you are comfortable with and enjoy.

What is EPP I hear? EPP or English Paper Piecing is a form of handsewn patchwork where fabric is wrapped around paper/card shapes then stitched together to create a loving delicate piece.

Some of my fellow Bee Europa are kindly helping me out with a long term pet project of this block! It’s Spring Carnival by Katy Jones (you can find more details and templates for it here from her blog Monkey Do).

Finished BlockI loved this block since I saw it and knew it be perfect for my slow growing collection of Heaven and Helsinki fabric (if anyone has any scraps of this left please send them my way 😉 happy to swap!). I’ve decided to cut into my precious Rain Basics to team with it. Fellow Bee Europa- hope you enjoy this block- I’m a sucker for symmetry you might have noticed!

Basics Kit

This is generally my travel kit (minus the book) a little tub complete with templates, fabrics, clover clip, basting thread, neutral thread, scissors and different types of needles! I know I really need find the time create a mini travel kit for me but for now this will do!

Have you come across the book Quilting on the Go yet? It’s full of inspirational designs (more on that another time).

So now onto basting…  Depending on my mood I tend to baste in two ways. You can also use Sewline Glue Pen to baste the shapes to the fabric.

Method One: Just in the Seam Allowance

Square Prep Epp  I might have been overgenerous with some of my seam allowances but generally you’ll need approx 1/4″ all around.

I found that using a Clover Clip helps me to keep it in place but you can use paperclips, hair clips or anything. To start with fold your first corner over and press keeping the fabric smooth, place a clip to hold the place and move on to the next corner.

Square 2 Square 3Square 5

Do a couple of back stitches to secure the first corner then work your way around the piece smoothing the fabric as you go being careful not to go through the template but sticking within the seam allowance.

Method Two: Basting with the template

Method 2 (3) Method 2 (2) Method 2 (1)

Similar to method one but instead of using just within the seam allowance baste through the template as you work round.

There are pros and cons to both methods, the first method means your template is easier to remove and more reusable. The second method I found is more secure and stable.

Attaching The Pieces:

Whipstitching (2)Whipstitching (3)

Place your pieces together carefully aligning them- I use a clip again to hold it into place. To start I do a couple stitches in the seam allowance working my way up to the edge

Whipstitching (4)Whipstitching (5)Whipstitching (6)

There are a few ways to attach the pieces together but a whip stitch is the most common- even though the stitches will be visible slightly it will be more durable. Work your way across the edge catching the very end of the fabric. There is usually a debate about how many stitches per inch but go with what’s comfortable the range that’s usually done is between 12 to 25.

Whipstitching (1)When you are done it should look something like this! For this pattern you can either attach the triangle to one side of the square before attaching to the hexagon.

Hope that’s of some use! And that some of you will delve for EPP now- there will be some kits coming into my shop soon (or send me a message if you can’t wait). Feel free to contact me if you need help or want to know more.

Happy Stitching.

Hannah.x

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Tutorial: Block Pattern

Finally… it’s up! My interpretation of a Farmer’s Wife Block Pattern I saw over in the Flickr group- I’ve played around with the sizes to bring it up to a 12.5″ finished block.

This is the block I have chosen for my fellow Bee Europa to create for me and I also hope that some of you taking part in the Come Quilt With Me series will find it interesting too!

P1100201

I hope you all have as much fun with this as I did! I’ve tried to keep my method as simple as possible but if you aren’t sure about some of the construction methods there are links to previous tutorials.

Basics:

Basics

Based on the above the sizes are:

Cream:

  • 4 x 3″ x 5.5″
  • 4 x 3.5″ square
  • 4 x 3″ square

Yellow Centre: 3″ square

Green: 4 x 3.5″ square

Pink: 4 x 3.5″ square

Steps:

HST 2

First you will need to create the half square triangles (HSTS). If you are not sure please see this post on how to do it.

With two squares you will get two HSTs. Using the 3.5″ squares pair the following:

  • Green with Pink (two pairings)
  • Green with Cream (two pairings)
  • Pink with Cream (two pairings)

When you trim your squares down to size trim to 3″ square.

HST 4 HST 5

When you are done you should have a nice collection! It’s time to arrange the layout. Each “petal” of the block is essentially the same, it is just arranged differently around the centre.

Take one of each type of HST previously created and a 3″ cream square- arrange as above. You will need to create four of these. To achieve a decent point I found nested seams the best method (details here).

Layout

Next you will need to construct three rows:

  • 1 of center 3″ square joined on either side by a 3 x 5.5″ cream piecce
  • 2 of petals with a cream 3 x 5.5″ piece in the middle

Take care when arranging your petals to ensure it is in the correct place. Once your rows are done you can turn it into a block! Again if you nested seams it will help with your points.

FinishOctagon Flower Center QuiltHow was that? In case you are wondering what my plans are for this quilt is to have all these flower blocks surrounding my huge 22″ Octagon Flower block.

Heaven and Helsinki Rain Fabric

Some kind souls in Bee Europa are helping me out with a longterm pet project of mine. An EPP wallhanging using Rain Basics and Heaven and Helsinki. Aren’t they gorgeous? Tomorrow I’ll go through the basics of EPP and the block I’ve chosen.

Bee Europa Fabric PacksBut for now… happy stitching and hopefully all of the above packs will have reached their destinations 🙂

Hannah.x

Tutorial: Versatile HSTs

HSTs or Half Square Triangles are one of my favourite ever patchwork tools. They are so versatile and so many designs can be made with them. Endless possibilties 🙂

Again the hardest part is choosing the fabrics!

Fabric Choices

There are many ways of creating HSTs. I’m not advocating that the following is the best way it is what I prefer and what works best for me. To look at other ways I’ll pop some links later in the week over the Flickr group.

Squares

To start first work out the size of your finished square when sewn together. Add on an inch to cover seam allowances and start cutting your squares. What I’m making here each square finished will be 1.5″ so I’ve cut a load of 2.5″ squares.

But if you want your finished squares to be 5″ start with 6″ squares.

StartOn the wrong size of a square use a ruler and pen (quilters pencil, air erasable pen or just a Frixion pen) to mark a diagonal in the square. This will serve as a guide for sewing your seams.

RST

Place two squares RST (right sides together) lining up the edges. You are going to use the line you have drawn as a guide and start sewing a seam to one side that is an scant 1/4″ from the line. Make sure you sew as straight as you can.

ChainstitchingIf you are doing more than a few! To speed up the process and save thread  you can do what is known as chain piecing. Basically once you have sewn the seam on your first square instead of cutting the thread, line up your second square and go! Between each square make sure your needle has finished its round though.

Either SideWhen you have done that simply turn your square round and sew a scant 1/4″ seam on the other side of the line.

Now I forgot to take photos of the next process…. Cut along your drawn line to have two pieces. Using your iron set your seams and then press open the triangles to get one square block!

TrimmingTrimming…. If you have a ruler with a 45 degree angle line align the line with the diagonal on your block and trim your HSTs. As I started with 2.5″ squares I want to trim these to 2″ exactly to ensure my sewn sections will be 1.5″.

Trimming 2Flip over and trim the other side.

Neat tidy squareAnd there you go one lovely looking trimmed square ready for use.

30s repros funDo you like my pile? I’ll share some tutorials over the next couple weeks on the sort of blocks you can make and how to turn a block into a cushion or a mini quilt.

Hannah.x

Needlebook Tutorial

Following on from the Come Quilt With Me posts…. This is such a quick and easy make you will be hooked in no time! It is also a very friendly scrap busting project so no excuse to not being able to play.

Handmade NeedlebookFor my needlebook (above) I used bits from my scrap basket and some lonely squares that I had lying around.

BasicsSupplies:

  • 7.5 x 4.5″ cotton pieces. You’ll need one for the front and one for the lining
  • Roughly 8.5 x 5.5″ piece of wadding
  • Roughly 6.75 x 3.75″ piece of felt
  • Button
  • Elastic (Hair elastic is good!)

For this needlebook I used a mixture of scraps and squares and cut the design down to the required size (7.5 x 4.5″). Feel free to do whatever inspires you 🙂 If you wanted to have a binding in the middle like I have cut 1.5 x 4.5″ of fabric for the binding and sew to two pieces of 3.5 x 4.5″

Basting Quilting

Take your front piece and smooth it out over some wadding ready to quilt. Make sure you leave enough wadding on the outside of the piece in case it moves when quilting.

Baste as desired. You can use basting spray, thread, pins or curved safety pins. My personal choice are the safety pins as it makes the basting a breeze and easy to take out without damaging the fabrics.

Quilted FrontOnce you have basted you are ready to quilt. Being a small project you can quilt by hand or run it through the machine, the stitches, thread colours etc are up to you.

For mine I handquilted using embroidery thread, a random running stitch all over the front (I rather like the effect). Once you have finished trim off the excess wadding and neaten up the edges

Secure ElasticNow you can figure out where to put your elastic. Fold it over and baste it into place. * Next time I will be using hair elastic as its thinner and prettier. *

RST

Right sides together, line up your front piece with the lining and sew leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance around the edge. Backstitch at the beginning and end to secure your seams. *If your pieces don’t line up take the time to trim else you might end up with a wonky corner like I have in your finished project 🙂
Mind the gap
Don’t sew all the way around, leave a gap of about 10-12 cm this will be where you will turn your project inside out.  Clip around the curves (taking care not to snip into your seams) as this helps create perfect corners as there will be less fabric bulk.
Gently turn inside out and flatten. The opening you can either slip stitch shut or ieave it for when you edge stitch.
Topstich Closeup
Slowly stitch as close to the edge as you can taking care when you go over the thicker points. This will add something extra as a finish to your needle book.
Felt Inner
Now you can add the felt inner piece. Mark where you want the spine to be, line it up and cut to the  desired size and stitch down the middle backstitching at the beginning and end to secure. For something extra you can use scalloped scissors to add scallop curves to the edges of your felt.
Button
Add the button to the front- close your book and work out the best place by pulling the elastic over. Hand stitch it into place hiding the knot under the button or within the wadding.
Finish
And you are done! How was that? Would love to see your finished needle books so pop it over on the Flickr group 🙂 and from here the possibilities are endless!
You could make a bigger version and have felt on one side for your needles and the other add a pocket to hold small scissors and other notions.
Happy Stitching.
Hannah.x

A quick note about Squares

The first in the Come Quilt With Me tutorials… Squares!

If you are new to sewing or patchwork, squares tend to be the easiest thing to start with. A nice simple shape to help you get to grips with seam allowances and matching points.

The tricky part is choosing which fabric???

Square Choice

Above is a pile of 2.5″ squares as it’s October I thought why not do a Halloween theme. You can either cut this out by hand with scissors (recommend drawing a cardboard template to help you first) or with a ruler and rotary cutter. With the latter i tend to cut strips in the desired width first then do bulk chopping of the length.

Layout

Then it’s laying them out in your desired pattern. Here I’m doing two panels of 4 x 4 squares. Once you are happy you can start.

RSTPlace the squares right sides together and line up the edges. I tend to use a scant 1/4″ seam when sewing as it helps to make a better fit. There’s no need to backstitch at the beginning or end if you are going to be using an iron to press the seams as the heat from the iron will help it “set” and stop any unraveling *One useful tip I didn’t know when I started playing with patchwork*

Rows

Once your rows are done press the seams. Usually you press the seam to either the left or the right side. To help with matching up the squares, alternate on each row which side you press. NB- when you are doing blocks and different designs you will usually press the seam to the dark side of the fabric so it will show less but doing it consistently here will help for better matching of your squares.

Nested 2 Nested Seams

As you’ve alternated the seams on your rows it should line up when you start to sew them. If you wiggle them into place so each seam lies side by side (as in the picture above) your points will match perfectly.  This is called a “nested seam”.  Pin or clip in place and match up the rest. If you are still worried they won’t align gently lift the open side up to see where your squares will fall.

Voila FinishedOnce you are done voila- perfectly matched points on your squares.

I hope that you have found this useful- if anything doesn’t make sense just shout either here or over on the Flickr group. For a quick project make that you can do with squares check back later in the week 🙂

Hannah.x