Jo’s Version of English Paper Piecing

After yesterday’s post I have had a few emails asking how to English paper piece.  To be honest, I have never been to a class so I can’t say this is “the way”…but it is the way that has been working for me.
I started out by finding a hexagon pattern on this website.  (scroll down a bit and you’ll see it)  You will be able to program the size and amount of hexagons that will be printed on each paper.  Mine are 1″ on each side.  If I had to do it over again, I might make them a tab bit bigger.  I don’t know that there is a standard size so choose what you like. 

Print your page.  For me, I have kept this page as my master copy.  I have a scanner printer so I can do that.  If you don’t you will need to save the original in your computer. |
Now, I use the freezer paper method…so I cut the freezer paper the same size as a piece of paper.  I put the master in the scanner and print the page onto the freezer paper.  Make sure you print on the NON-shinny side.  I print out a dozen or so at a time.

My master copy doesn’t have many hexies on it and I am pretty frugal so I cut extra hexies from the scrap.

I choose my fabric, lay the hexies shine side down on the wrong side of the fabric and iron them to the fabric.
Now, cut about 1/4″ away from hexie…and wa-la…you have your piece.  Now keep doing this until you are insanely crazy.  For me, when I make a diamond, I need 4 for the inside and 12 around the outside.  For stars I need one center, 6 in the first ring, 12 in the second ring and 18 to make the points.  I keep this in mind as I iron hexies to the fabric. 

Now for the sewing….
First you basically “hem” the piece using a running stitch.  I knot the end of my thread (some people don’t) secure a corner and make oversized running stitches until I am all the way around.  The I leave an inch tail and clip my thread.  I don’t knot at the end.  I stitch all the way through the paper to the other side.  The “hem” stitches will be able to be seen on the front side…that’s okay.
After you have enough “hemmed” to make your desired shape I start sewing them together.  Put two hexies right side together and stitch using an overcast stitch.  I just barely catch the fabric. 
I am making the points of the star so I need to attach a third piece.  I start like this…
At the intersection I refold and stitch again.  I don’t cut  my thread in between.
Now I have a “triangle” that can be added to the star point.
This is how a star ends up looking….
…and this is how a diamond ends up looking.
I organize my shapes like this….a bag for 1’s, 4’s, 6’s, 12’s and 18’s….little zip lock bags for each number.  I keep all these little bags in the roll up my daughter, Kelli, gave me for Christmas.
Sometimes, the paper lifts and comes off.  You can just re-iron it. 

Now you are probably wondering what about the hemmed threads and the papers….what happens to them…well, all of them will have to be removed once the quilt is together.  I am not really looking forward to that part.  Yesterday, I was thinking this was a 10 year project…then I thought 20 year project…now considering I have to remove all the papers and threads, I might have to add a few years.

4 thoughts on “Jo’s Version of English Paper Piecing”

  1. Hi Jo: Thanks for the tutorial! It is great step-by-step. I was interested in the last part as I will be English paper piecing my flower petals before attaching them by Applique. I will have to send you a picture when I finish it. Quite a project for me and it is only little – LOL. Laura

  2. Went to website and tried to find the printable guide for the hexes…..I’m a little challenged in this area. I found one page to color in with hexes, but not where you could change sizes, etc. Help! :) Your tutorial is great, going to give it a try. Have granddaughters who were interested in quilting and just moved cross country. I think your learning fun pages will be just the ticket to send to them for fun, learning, and keep quilting on their mind.

  3. I love the way you use your computer to print the hexigons. I have been working on Grandma’s Flower Garden Hexigon for over a year. Almost done with basic flower. Now have to do 2 flower paths around the flowers. If you could email me a copy of your 2 1/2″ from side to side. When fabric folded around hex. it is 2″ I do not have a scanner, however I could print from your email. Your method is exactly what I am using. Your fabric are great. Thanks for your help and info. Joan E Haske

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