How would you like to make your next quilt top without worrying about accurate cutting, without constant pressing, and entirely forgetting about grain lines? Not possible? Actually, the piecing method this effortless was popularized in the Victorian Era, although much older examples exist.
English Paper Piecing is the technique of joining fabric wrapped paper templates to create mosaic and tessellation quilts.
- Great for using up scraps
- Use irregular fabric weights
- Portable piecework
- Change project size without redrafting patterns
- No pins!
Don't panic, but we are going to start by reviewing a geometry term:
equilateral = having all sides equal
Beware: some patterns use the internal height measurement for all pieces. Example: you might find a 1" hexagon referred to as a 2" hexagon, because connecting opposite points are 2" apart.
Now you are ready to dress your pieces. Instead of pins for holding paper shapes in place, use a dab of washable glue stick in the center of your paper piece to temporarily fasten them to the wrong side of your fabric scrap. You only need a scrap large enough to provide a 1/4" seam allowance around each side of your foundation piece.
Which way is up?
Because English Paper Pieces fit together like puzzles, it is erroneously assumed that there is no top or bottom to your piece. But in a true mosaic pattern, the little distinction of top or bottom could be important. So before you recklessly run amok with the fun of joining your newly dressed pieces, pay attention to your pattern. Look at the two mosaic patterns in this illustration:
Next, decide how you will assemble your pieces when following your pattern. There are two assembly methods for Very Easy English Paper Piecing:
- Join pieces in rows by linking a flat side, then combine rows together by nesting points.
- Or, work in a circle, joining pieces around a centerpiece.