Category Archives: EPP

All Points Patchwork Blog Hop and Fussy Cutting

My sweet friend Diane of Crafty Pod has done it again. She has written another great book All Points Patchwork. It needs to reside with all your other much loved reference books for creating. I’m serious. It is a fantastic book on Technique for EPP (English Paper Piecing).

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I jumped at the chance to be in her blog hop promoting her new book for two reasons.

#1 I adore Diane. I have followed her for years and she has been so kind and encouraging to me the entire time. I’ve also followed her mom for years. My sister and her mom used to be pen pals until my sister’s life became crazy busy. Someday I’ll get to meet Diane in real life. In the meanwhile, I’ll admire her online.

#2 I knew her book would be awesome. I hadn’t seen it but I knew that true to Diane standards, it would be awesome. She is a fantastic teacher. She writes in a way that you feel like you are great friends, and she makes whatever she is teaching seem doable.

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When I got to peek into the book I discovered that it was a bit different than many of the books out there. It is very much technique and idea driven. All these little nuggets of information I wish I learned when I started EPPing and had to figure out by trial and error. Many nuggets of information I never knew. A great resource for EPP technique!

So let’s talk about the blog hop. This week she asked us if we would use hexagons and fussy cutting. I love that she let us just go with whatever we wanted to, inside of those two words.

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Maybe we should back up a little. What is “Fussy Cutting” anyway? I did a little internet search to see if there was anything saying were the term fussy cutting came from. I’m sure there is a fantastic story, but it was something I could not find. Basically, it is choosing a motif or part of the printed fabric to be in a specific place in your creating. Fussy cutting isn’t only something quilters use, but paper crafters often fussy cut too.

I see two different kinds of fussy cutting being used. The first kind of fussy cut is to cut out  a novelty print or motif and position it in your patchwork in a specific way. If you were to make a pillow from a large print, you would carefully center the chosen design motif and cut to size. If you are using your sewing machine to piece a quilt, you may choose to fussy cut a bird from a print pattern and place it in the center of each block.

The second kind of fussy cutting I see is where a repeat in a pattern is used it to create other effects inside the patchwork, such as Willyne Hammerstein, author of Millefiori  Quilts. For this kind of fussy cutting, you would inspect the fabric and locate repeats, color gradations, interesting parts of the pattern that cut up and put back together in a kaleidoscoping way.  A great example of this is the lovely La Passacaglia Quilt you may see popping up in many photostreams particularly on Instagram. The piece on the front of Diane’s book uses fussy cut fabrics that creates the contrasting dark design in the center of the star.

I played with the latter kind of fussy cutting, but quickly decided I wanted to spend more time delving into creating more interesting repeats than I had time for.  I found the kaleidescoping fussy cutting to be extremely fun and it kind of sucked me in. I will come back to this another time. (Read: I fell in love)

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For either of these techniques, I suggest starching your fabric well before you start. I love to have a nice crisp hand to my fabric for EPP. Once my paper basted fabric is hand stitched together, I always press it again and I find that having it starched well before I started, I end up with a nicely finished piece.

I ended up using the first kind of fussy cutting for my project I’m sharing today. I was delighted for an excuse to use a new Layer Cake from Riley Blake designer Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches. She has recently released another adorable line called Saltwater. It features these adorable mermaids with flowing hair and seahorses and even Narwhals. I mean. I can’t even stand it’s adorableness.

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I knew I wanted the goddesses of the sea to be featured. I wanted to center them on my hexagons. There are several ways to go about fussy cutting. I chose this way because I wasn’t interested in matching up an exact repeat and because the fabric I had was in 10” squares. The size of the fabric made it easy for me to tape it to my sliding glass doors and choose an image to fussy cut. With the light shining through the door, I was able to see the mermaids through my punched out hexagon papers.

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I taped my fabric squares with the right side facing towards the glass and the wrong side facing me. I used my glue stick and applied some glue to the back of my paper hexagon. Looked through the paper and fabric and lined them up the way I wanted them to be and stuck the hexagon to the fabric. When I placed the next hexagon, I made sure there was enough fabric around the edges of my hexagon for a seam allowance. I like to have at least a 1/4” seam allowance for EPP. The final product isn’t going to be a quilt or something that gets washed often. Because of that, I wasn’t terribly worried about the grain of the fabric. Had this been for a quilt, I would have been more careful to use the grain to help me line the hexagons up.

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I carefully took the fabric off the glass and trimmed the seam allowances around each hexagon. I used both thread basting and glue basting to baste the papers to the fabric. I do prefer thread basting, but glue basting is just so much faster. I think with thread basting, I get the corners of my paper shapes more precisely basted which means the sewing together of the paper pieced fabrics is more precise IMO. My tip for glue basting is to make sure when you are gluing the seam allowance to the papers, leave the very edge of the paper without glue. In other words, glue about 1/8” from each edge. I find that the glue basted pieces have a little less give or play where I want them to (the length of the sides) and not enough precision at the points where I want them to be precise.

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Anyway, I put together a few rows of hexagons in a scrappy layout.

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I decided to applique this piece onto some medium weight denim for a casual zipper pouch. I have some pouches that I use all the time. This one I made using the scrappy piece as a guide for the size.

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I added a pocket and a place for needles inside the lining. I also added a little handle on the side to make it easy to carry around.

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I think this size is so useful and I can see having many of them around for different projects. I typically keep one of these pouches handy for my EPP and hand stitching.  Why yes, I am using a fussy cut hexagon pouch to home my other EPP projects in. Those mermaids and narwhals make me so happy! Is the plural of Narwhal “Narwals” or just “Narwhal”? Either way, they are stinking adorable!

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Thanks for visiting my blog for this blog hop. Check out the other great bloggers for their day on the hop. Be sure to check out Diane’s new book All Points Patchwork. You won’t be disappointed.

Diane has also put together a giveaway of Black Gold hand sewing needles and Quilt Needle Threader from Clover. You can enter by Rafflecopter below. International entries are welcome and the giveaway closes on June 7nd. clover-giveaway1 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anjeanette

Oakshott placemat tutorial

I was lucky enough to get to play along with Sew Mama Sew’s latest Oakshott Challenge. They sent me a lovely bundle of fat eighths in blues and purples. I had to come up with a table linen for the challenge. I decided to make up a placemat with some EPP (English Paper Piecing). I had fun with my tote for a challenge in April using Oakshott. I really enjoy playing with these fabrics!

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette17

Ooh, these fabrics are so spectacular. I talked about them a little bit in my tote post. The warp and weft are different colored threads that together have a wonderful way to play with the light. As in my last challenge piece, I decided simple was the best way to go with these fabrics. I wanted to use a slight turning of the pieces to show off the shimmering effect of the fabrics, and chose diamond shapes for the pattern.

Here is the how to if you want to make your own:

Supplies:

Oakshott fat eighth bundle

Scraps of linen to make a 14” X 18” piece. (I started bigger and trimmed down to size)

Batting

1 1/2” EPP 6 point 60 degree diamond papers I get mine from PaperPieces.com you will need 30 to make this one applique.

And of course your regular sewing supplies for cutting and hand stitching.

Let’s get started.

First I marked one side of my paper pieces so I knew which fabrics they were supposed to be used for.

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette01

You will need 6 diamonds for the inside star, I’m calling this my dark. You will need 6 diamonds for the row around the dark center star. I’m calling this my lightest fabric. For the outer hexagon shape, you will need 12 diamonds. I’m calling this my medium. And the accent diamonds on the outer hexagon, I’m calling my darkest. You will need 6 diamonds for the darkest.

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette02

Just make sure you mark your pieces so you understand what is going where.

With Oakshott fabric, the texture and weave is slightly different than other quilting cotton. Because of the weave, and because it is going to be EPPd, I starched my fabric first. Starch it well now and you will shrink the fabric a bit. It will also help to hold it’s shape as you are piecing now and when you need to take the papers out too.

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette03

Now you are ready to cut out the fabric. Because of the play on the light I wanted to achieve, it is important to make sure you are cutting all your similar colored pieces in exactly the same direction, with the grain of the fabric. Hopefully, you can see the little lines running through the fabric and can line up the tips of the points with that. Since the weave is a little different, I find that I like my seam allowances larger than a 1/4”. I like it  somewhere around 1/2”. This helps keep the folds and keeps the fabric from unraveling. Place your paper on the wrong side of the fabric and cut about 1/2” around all the sides.

I start on one of my sides by finger pressing the side of the fabric down upon the paper piece.

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I put a knot in an accent colored thread so I can see it easier when I remove it. Put the knot along the fold and in the seam allowance. Fold the next side down and finger press.

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Finish making a stitch with the folded side. Make sure that your stitch is not going through the paper. You are basically doing a large basting stitch at each corner of the diamond, just to hold the shape of the diamond so that you can sew your diamond shapes together.

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Continue taking stitches around and folding down each side.

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When you get to the last point, make sure to fold the last side under the first side. Whatever you do, do it the same way for all the pieces so that when you assemble the diamonds together, you will have nesting. Each corner has the new side fabric folding over the previous side.  I do not tuck in my pointy tips. Instead I leave a tail. I do not put another knot in the last stitch. I just run one more basting stitch to keep it in place.

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After all your fabric is basted onto the papers, press each piece well. The starch you used before you started will help now to hold the folds well.

I used my favorite way to stitch EPP together as noted in this previous post. Remember that the pointy ends of the diamonds have tails. You just fold the tail out of the way while you are stitching the shapes together. Also, when your shape is starting to get bigger, you are going to have to fold some of the pieces, including the paper inside them to get the next piece together.

When putting EPP pieces that aren’t hexagon shapes together, I find that it works best for me to put them together in parts and not just the next piece. This way, my pieces come together much nicer than if I were to put them together in a row, one after the next. I also really like to use Clover clips to hold my pieces together while I sew. My fingers are less sore after I’m done sewing.

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For this star, I decided to make the inside star into hexagon shapes first, using the lightest diamonds to keep them together.

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I put together the outside hexagon with the diamond detail by putting three diamonds together. As I stitched my diamond pieces together, I made sure that my points matched as I stitched and eased any difference throughout the seam.

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I stitched the hexagon shapes together and then added the remaining light diamonds to complete this shape.

Then added the outside hexagon with diamond detail shapes. This time I matched the center points together and worked out on each side.

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Once you are done sewing all the pieces together, press well. I like to press from the back and make sure that my intersections have the tails all nestling in a circle.

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The starch from when you first started will help hold this all together nicely.

Take out the basting stitches and papers.  I like to do this in the evenings while watching TV with my hubby. Having used a thread that doesn’t match makes it easier to cut the threads and pull them out. Press again after all the papers are out.

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Now you are ready to baste your piece to your placemat fabric. I had this lovely earthy linen that I thought played nicely with the Oakshott fabric.

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette15

Layer your placemat fabric and your batting, with your applique piece on top. My piece was large, so I folded it around some batting to make my quilt sandwich. I also used spray baste because it is perfect for something this small.

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette18

I opted not to first applique the star to the top layer of the fabric. Instead, I let the spray baste hold it in place and I used my walking foot to quilt around the shape at the same time as I stitched the applique to the placemat. Remember that you need to tuck in the tails on the outside edges now. I used a long pin to fold the tails inside and pinned them down before stitching the outside edge. I used a thicker weight thread for the quilting. I echoed the shape a little outside the applique. I went back and stitched a little around some of the inside shapes too. I think the quilting helps move the fabric around making the light play even more noticeable.

At this point I trimmed my placemat to 13 1/2” by 17”. It was a fairly random size based on the size of the applique, and the size of my table and plates.

Quilt your sandwich and bind. I used the remnants of the center diamond for my binding. I cut my binding to 2” wide.

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette16

I hope you love this as much as I do. You really have to try Oakshott fabric and see how it dances in the light for yourself. That center star is all cut from the same color fabric. The way it was cut on the same grain and then reassembled in a star moves the warp and weft in a way that really plays on the light effect of this gorgeous fabric.

Oakshott placemat by Anjeanette19

And as always, if you make one of these placemats, I would love to see a picture of it!

Thanks Sew Mama Sew for letting me play again!

Check out the other bloggers and see what treasures they made with their challenge fabric.

Mary Claire King Remember Wren

Michelle White Falafel and the Bee

Jessica Skultety Quilty Habit

Nicole Neblett mama love quilts

Sara Peterson knottygnome crafts

AND, this part is exciting, check into Sew Mama Sew all next week for your chance to win a pack of this fabric for your very own. I promise you, if you win it, you will want to roll around naked with it. Ok, maybe not completely naked. But you will be a forever lover of Oakshott if you get these in your own little hands.

Hexie Bookmark Tutorial

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I’m here to share with you how I made my bookmark for the 12 Hexies (or Less) Blog Hop.

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I just love EPP (English Paper Piecing). It is a great way to keep my hands busy in the evenings when we watch a show. When I found this fabric, the little details like the bug jar and the footprints screamed to be fussy cut into hexies.

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What you will need:

Cute scraps of fabric in an assortment of designs.

Felt one sheet, cut in half

Coordinating thread

Coordinating ribbon

Velcro (I like the sew in kind)

You can find great tutorials for basting your hexagons and even my little tutorial for stitching them together. I like to starch my fabric well, before I baste them onto my templates/paper pieces. It helps later with holding the shape after the paper comes out.

When you have this shape of three columns of 3, 4, 3 stitched together, press the combined shape well.  Carefully take out the templates/paper pieces. Press well again.

Hexie Bookmark 1

With an applique stitch, applique the shape onto one layer of felt. I tried to center my applique on the felt. You are going to trim it up, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Stitch a contrasting line of stitching about 1/4” all the way around the shape. I wanted this to look handmade, so I hand stitched this. You could certainly do this by machine. **You can wait to do the detail until you are stitching the two pieces of felt together. Since I wanted a thicker line and my thread was thin, I opted to do it twice. This is certainly not necessary.

Hexie bookmark 2

Take about 5” length of the soft side of the Velcro and sew it down the center of the second piece of felt by machine. With your ribbon, fold one edge under about 1/4”. Sew a piece of the stiff side of the Velcro to the ribbon, covering the folded edge. This is just so you have a nice finished edge of ribbon that won’t unravel. Measure the books you tend to read. Start at the top of the cover, around the book and meet back at the top of the cover. I found that 15” seemed to be a good size length for the books I read. On the other edge of the ribbon, stitch a scrap of felt about 1 1/2” X 1”. This is to help hold the ribbon inside your felt sandwich so it won’t slip out.

Hexie Bookmark 3

Hand stitch the felt piece to the first piece of felt that now has the hexagons appliqued to the front side. Make sure you are not going through the front of the applique (the hexagons). It doesn’t have to look pretty. But you do want to make sure the ribbon is centered on the top of the applique shape. Think about the stiff side of the Velcro on the opposite end of the ribbon before you stitch this down.

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Sandwich the bottom felt piece with the length of soft Velcro facing down, and the top piece with the applique facing up. (Wrong sides together). You will need to think about this step a little. The stiff ribbon end needs to wrap around the book and ultimately stick to the underside of your bookmark to hold in place.  If you lay the stiff side of the Velcro UP when you are making your sandwich, this should be the right placement.

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Stitch in the same holes as the initial detail stitching. Make sure the ribbon is sticking out of the top of the sandwich. Carefully trim around the completed shape through both layers of felt. Be careful when you are trimming the top edge with the ribbon sticking out. You don’t want to cut that ribbon off. I started trimming the shape on one side of the ribbon, cutting through both layers all the way to the other side of the ribbon. When I got to the ribbon edge, I simply cut the top layer first, flipped the shape over and cut the bottom layer second. Make sure not to cut through the ribbon.

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To use it as a bookmark, lay the ribbon on the page you are holding. Stick the stiff Velcro end under the main shape.

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Viola. You have a lovely hexie bookmark.

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Check out the rest of the blog hoppers too and see what they are up to.

 

My favorite way to stitch EPP together

 

Diane Gilleland of Craftypod put together a “12 Hexies (or Less) Blog Hop” that will begin today and run for two weeks.  Don’t you love Diane? I know I’ve followed her in one form or another for years. When she said she was doing a blog hop with 12 or Less Hexies, I knew I was up for the challenge.

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When I sat down to actually mess with 12 or less, it was more of a challenge than I realized it would be.  Yikes. 12 Hexies is really limiting. But I was totally up for the challenge.

Anyway, before my post goes up on the 25th of July, I thought I’d share how I join my EPP (English Paper Pieced) projects together.

Do you remember my Hexi Window Table Runner?

Hexi Window Table Runner by Anjeanette

Those stitches on the seams were nearly invisible. Aren’t they yummy?

Hexi Window close up

There are great tutorials on EPP. This one from SewMamaSew that was written up by Julie Zaichuk-Ryan from Button-Button.  On her blog, Diane makes reference to TheZenofMaking and the lovely tutorial on EPP. I started off joining my EPP shapes by doing a whipstitch as well. But if you have been around my blog for any amount of time, you will know I’m a little specific about how I like to do things. I love the look of EPP. It is precise and detailed. I hate when I can see my stitches. There, I said it. I’m ducking now because I know books and other large objects are being thrown at me.

Are we alright now? I  love sitting down in the evenings with a stack of shapes to hand stitch together.  But when I’m done with all that handwork, I don’t want to see the stitches. My goal of course, would be not a single stitch. I’m going to be honest and say that isn’t realistic though. So less visible stitches is my end goal.

I do think it is a great idea to learn the right way to do something. Then you can figure out how you are going to break the rules to make it work for you.

I’m using a black thread here so you can see my stitches. I think it helps to emphasize my point when the black stitches are almost completely hidden when I open up my shapes. It is such a lovely feeling. Here are a few examples of front and back.

 

close up stitches

Here is the back.

Stitching close up Anjeanette

Here is another front from some Hexies I am currently working on.

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And the Back.

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Normally, you would do a whipstitch through both layers like this. Note, this is NOT what I use. I just took the picture so you can see the difference.

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I like to work on just one side at a time, instead of driving my needle exaclty perpendicular to my hexies, I like to take my needle in at an angle. I make sure my needle comes out on the fold and again, I’m just stitching through the hexie on the top.

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Then I stitch through the bottom hexie, again at an angle to the piece and again with my needle coming out the fold. It is almost like a zipper, or a double whipstitch.

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Back to the top hexie. I hope you can see both the angle of my needle and that it is coming out direclty on the fold line.

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That is my tip. That is how I do it. Top shape, bottom shape always at an angle and always coming out along the folded edge of the hexie. When you open your shape up, all the stitching is neatly hidden inside the seam in the fold. It makes me so happy.

Let me know if this helps you hide your stitches too?

Here are the awesome EPP-ers (some longtime, some new) who are joining me in this adventure:

Diana Ray, Ray’s Sew Crafty

Maryline Collioud Robert, Mary & Patch

Pam Harris, Gingerbread Snowflakes

Rebecca Greco, Hugs Are Fun

Haley Pierson-Cox, The Zen of Making

Melissa Peda, 100 Billion Stars

Abby Glassenberg, While She Naps

Jessica Alexandrakis, Life Under Quilts

And then me, Anjeanette Klinder