Saturday, December 7, 2013

TUTORIAL: How to make Hexagons using the English Paper Piecing Method... EPP

 Recently I made a little Hexagon Christmas Tree pillow using the English paper piecing method. It turned out so cute that I decided to make two more... one for my other daughter and one for myself. This tree will be all in shades of green... the first one had some red mixed in.

SOOOOO... I thought I would do a tutorial for anyone wanting to make one or anyone that just wanted to learn to do EPP. WARNING: It's addictive!!! The paper above is the size I'm using for this project. It's a 1" Hexagon paper. You can buy these at most quilt shops or at You'll find lots of other projects on the website plus there's a great section with pictures of projects people are working on... some are downright AMAZING!!

Okay, so back to the tutorial. You'll need 22 papers... 21 for the tree and one for the trunk. You can also make a smaller tree using 11 papers... just stop after the fourth row and add the trunk.

Here's the piece of fabric I'll use to make my next piece. It measures about 2-1/2" square. You can fussy cut a design if you would like.
 Lay you paper on the wrong side of the fabric square and pin it to it. I know some people who punch a hole with a paper punch into the center of the paper hexagon and put the pin in at that spot... this keeps you pins sharper but I'm not too concerned so I just pin through the paper.

 Trim off the excess fabric... again only if you want to... some people leave the extra... doesn't really hurt anything. I trim so that I have a generous 1/4" all the way around.
 Now knot a thread and fold back one seam... put your needle though all the thicknesses and baste the edges down... use REALLY LARGE stitches because you'll be pulling these out later. Once all the edges have been basted down, just run the thread through a couple of places to secure it... don't knot it... it'll hold well enough. Take out the pin.
 I'm about halfway done with my hexagons...10 more greens ones to make and a brown one but I'll show you how it goes together.
 Butt two pieces like I did below. Where they touch will be the first seam. This is row two... I start my trees with row two. Put the two hexagons right sides together....
 Take you knotted and threaded needle... go through the back seam... coming up at a corner....
Then catch the corner of the other piece to lock them together ...lining them up and whip stitching across... just keep going in one and straight across into the other. You'll get a ////// type of stitching. Knot it at the end of the row but don't cut your thread...
You can add your next piece on now. I lay it down... make sure I know where I want the next one to go... then start adding that piece. I'll add the top piece now (If I had a cute green fabric with a star that could be fussy cut, I would use that instead of this one).
 So here I am adding the top piece ...first to the green. I'll knot at the end of the row... cut the thread and then fold the pieces over so I can stitch to the yellow hexagon. This is really hard to explain but if you do it along with me, you'll understand. Knot again at the end. Cut the thread and get ready to start row 3.
 I line up my rows just to see what piece I want to use next... probably will be that darkest green of row 3... then the middle one. Every so often you have to knot the thread and cut it. If I wanted the smaller tree, I could stop at the end of row 4 and then add my brown piece to the center of the bottom row. You need to end with an EVEN row so that the trunk is centered..... so 4 or 6 or 8...
 My background piece is from the Bluebird Park fabric line. I cut a piece about 15" square... and trim later when I have my tree appliqued down.
I'll show the applique process later but once your tree is made and the trunk is on... spray the whole piece with starch BACK and FRONT. Press VERY WELL. Now you can remove the papers and the seams will stay to the back. Lay your piece on the backing square and applique down. You could use invisible thread to zig zag it down ... or you could hand applique it. The other option is to leave the papers in, hand applique it and then cut away the back and remove the papers.

To remove papers cut your basting threads and just gently pull them out. The papers can be reused about three or four times.

Note: I used YLI Wonder thread for the invisible zig zag stitching I did on my first pillow.

Email me if you have any questions... I love hooking people on EPP... ;)

1 comment:

Jeannette said...

My mother taught me that type of paper quilting when I was about seven. I didn't know it was English. I made flowers of course...Grandma's Flower Garden.

No holiday sewing for me this year...too close to our move, but at least I know where all the fabric and such is...

Happy New Year to you.

I'm hooked on Kale chips

It's that time of year... time to watch what I eat. There are so many yummy food as part of the holidays... Christmas cookies...pumpkin ...