Recent evenings find me stitching stars, my Liberty EPP stars.
For anyone following my blog or IG feed you may recall that I've been deeply immersed in creating a new body of work, and that it's all top secret sewing. As this collection's big reveal approaches, the days are becoming more concentrated in every way. So, in the evenings I've been unwinding with hand stitching.
After a ten hour day of cutting, sewing and machine quilting, my muscles need a rest, but my hands just can't sit idle. Are your hands like that, too? For this and more reasons, I'm smitten with English Paper Piecing, and now on the cusp of spring I felt this would be a nice time to share a bit about my favorite tools and tendencies. After all, EPP is portable, so why not take our stitching to the great outdoors?
*I'm not being paid to endorse any of the products described in this post. I simply want to share what what makes hand stitching enjoyable for me.
Let's talk papers: I've tried a bunch and my favorites (equally) are from Paper Pieces (US) and Tales Of Cloth (AU), and plain old card stock. They're all sturdy yet flexible, and can be reused. For these EPP stars, I'm using Tales of Cloth recycled cardboard papers. You can order from both companies online. You can also download and print any of my free EPP templates on card stock (found in the right margin).
Basting: Years ago, when I first found EPP, I was thread basting, and then I met glue and haven't looked back. A little care and patience go a long way to achieving neat corners, which allow for the pieces to fit together nicely. For me, glue just seems to be all around faster and easier.
Seam allowance: You can see that I use somewhat generous seam allowances. I find that doing so is especially helpful when removing the papers because it's easier to get under the fabric and lift it from the glue without fraying it or mashing the paper.
Thread: I've tried plenty, but I seem to always come back to Aurifil's 50 weight thread, which I pass over beeswax (gifts from my friends @fauxsister and @roseshelly1) warmed slightly by my hand.
Needle: I needle my thread with a Quilter's Between, size 10. I also reach for a fresh needle often. Needles dull, hastened by coming in contact with glue and thick paper.
Other useful tools and tips: I'm a fan of Clover mini clips, as well as small, sharp embroidery scissors. I keep both serrated and smooth scissors in my little wooden bowl. I also keep a small pair of pliers in the bowl to help with pulling an especially stubborn needle. Small pliers can easily be found at any hardware store, although mine were a thoughtful gift from @northknit.
Finally, when it comes to large shapes for which I have no precut papers, I make my own templates, trace and cut from Freezer paper and then fuse to the back side of the fabric, like the pink ticking diamonds seen in the photo. The Freezer paper is sturdy and easily removed. My friend, Jessie Aller sells her own precut iron on EPP kits online. I have one of her beautiful #snowflakesEPP kits and hope to use it in time for a special Christmas gift.
A few more words about why I'm so enamored by English Paper Piecing. Not only do I find the entire process to be soothing and productive, but magic happens as pieces are joined. Slowly and steadily a larger pattern blossoms, and before I know it, in this case, another star is born.
If you'd like to bust your fabric stash, create dazzling patterns and set yourself up with a portable sewing project, consider printing my FREE Striped Octagon template and instructions, or either of my FREE themed 1" Hexis (Girl Power and Winter Wonderland). You can find them all in the right margin. For inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards, especially "EPP Envy".
As always, feel free to send me any questions or simply say hello! I love seeing what you're making with my patterns and fabrics. Use #tierneybarden #stitchingenchantment on social media and we'll all cheer you on!