Day 1 of the Girt By Sea sew-along and I’m already facing a technique I haven’t done before! But as I learned previously with foundation paper piecing, English Paper Piecing (EPP) is one of those things that you think is really hard until you actually try it.
The first thing I did was read Jodi’s excellent EPP Basics post on her website, and asked some friends for any tips they may have for a beginner. “Don’t pull the fabric too tight around the shapes. You need a smidgen of room to stitch them together” said one. “Glue slightly in, rather than right on the edge of the paper, as this helps give the fabric some breathing space” said another. And finally “Glue the fabric down in same direction on all your pieces”. Soooo glad I asked, as I would have instinctively wrapped that fabric so tightly around the paper pieces and no doubt cursed in three different languages as I tried to sew them together later! But other than a brief read through of Jodi’s article and the advice from my friends, I decided to jump right in at the deep end and be prepared to learn from any mistakes I may make as I go along. What I actually learned is that EPP is easy, something totally different, and so perfectly portable, and now I want to MAKE ALL THE EPP THINGS!
Yes EPP is easy, but my stitches were pretty visible… and very messy! So I popped around to Jane’s house for some further tips from one of the neatest EPPers I have ever seen. Firstly, she told me that needle size is important – size 10 or 11 milliners needles are perfect for EPP. Then you also need to use a very fine thread – as everyone is raving about Aurifil 80wt right now I needed no further enticement to give it a go! Now that I have the right tools the temptation to start that star over again is strong, but I’ve decided to embrace Flirty Girty warts and all. I want to be able to look back on every visible, messy stitch in that star and know that this quilt was the one that taught me how to EPP.
aka The Baroness