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What is English Paper Piecing? + 10 Free Patterns

English paper piecing quilts is fun but you need to know what it is, how to do it, and get patterns to try it. Find everything you need on this page!

By: Krista Childers for FaveQuilts.com
What is English Paper Piecing  10 Free Patterns

English paper piecing is the use of paper templates to create quilting designs. You can either make the piecing templates yourself or buy packages of the shapes you want to use as well as pattern kits that contain everything you need. English paper piecing often uses simple geometric and common shapes, such as hexagons and diamonds.

There are two main methods for English paper piecing: using templates or fussy cutting. We will explain both ways to EPP on our page below. We will also go over everything else you've wanted to know about this technique in What is English Paper Piecing? + 10 Free Patterns.

The way you baste and sew the paper pieces to the fabric will allow you to remove the paper once you are finished using them inside your design, an important part of the paper piecing process.

We will go through everything you need to know about English paper piecing on this page, so take a look at the next few sections to learn all about it and then head to the last section to find some amazing free paper piecing patterns to try!

Table of Contents
What is English Paper Piecing?
Supplies Needed for English Paper Piecing
English Paper Piecing Quilting Tutorials
English Paper Piecing Patterns

Step by Step English Paper Piecing Tutorial

What is English Paper Piecing?

English paper piecing, also known as EPP, involves wrapping and gluing fabric around the paper piece templates and then sewing those together. It gained popularity with English and British quilters, which is where it got its name.

English paper piecing is usually done with repeated shapes and there are acrylic templates available along with packages of paper shapes. The acrylic templates are available with either a 3/8-inch or 1/4-inch seam allowance, along with a few other details to choose from.

You can buy EPP kits that include everything you need for specific patterns or to get started on your own design.

English paper piecing is usually done by hand, which makes it a great option for quilting on the go. You can bring your cut pieces, templates, basting pen, thread, needle, and scissors, and make them while you're on vacation.

This Step by Step English Paper Piecing Tutorial by AQS will show you exactly how to do it. We also have video tutorials a few sections down.

English Paper Piecing Hexagons Tutorial

Fussy Cutting: When English paper piecing, you have the option to do what's called fussy cutting. Fussy cutting means using a pre-made template or custom-made template that has an outlined border and open inside in order to perfectly match a design in a piece of fabric. This is particularly useful when your fabric has specific images, like flowers, as shown in the picture below.

Our English Paper Piecing Diamonds Tutorial by Carolina Moore uses fussy cutting for the shapes, so check out that video tutorial to learn.

English Paper Piecing Diamonds Tutorial

Supplies Needed for English Paper Piecing

Besides the basic notions and supplies needed for quilting, there are a few specific things you need for English paper piecing. Assuming you have needles, threads, fabric, thimbles, and scissors, let's go over the supplies needed for English paper piecing.

Templates: You will need to cut or purchase paper piecing shapes made of heavy paper that is flexible but sturdy enough to hold its shape (like cardstock). If you use a kit, there may be several shapes included but if you buy them individually, you will mostly only find a package of specific shapes, like hexagons. Fussy cutting involves the open shape templates, which can also be custom-made or purchased.

There are also acrylic EPP templates to cut your fabric. The image below shows cutting the fabric using the paper template but using an acrylic template is a bit more stable and secure. And since most of them are available in clear, it allows you to see the fabric below. This is particularly important in fussy cutting.

Fabric Marker: Alternatively, a fabric pencil can be used for EPP. You will need a disappearing or water soluble marking pen to outline the templates on your fabric.

Basting/Glue Pen: This is an important notion in English paper piecing because you have to glue the edges of the paper template in order to wrap the fabric around. Some people use any glue stick but buying one that's made for English paper piecing or sewing will be more precise.

Fabric Clips: Using fabric clips may be necessary for some patterns. These clips can hold together pieces before or as you sew to help keep everything together and aligned.

English Paper Piecing Hexagons Tutorial

English Paper Piecing Quilting Tutorials

FaveQuilts has several tutorials for paper piecing that will help you learn the technique as well as feel more comfortable creating a design of your own or using the patterns provided in these tutorials.

For a paper piecing quilting tutorial using hexagons, take a look at our video tutorial below:

For the written instructions, check out the full page, English Paper Piecing Hexagons Tutorial.

For a paper piecing tutorial using diamonds, watch this video tutorial below:

For the written instructions, check out the full page, English Paper Piecing Diamonds Tutorial.

As you have seen, there are more tutorials in previous sections that you should definitely check out. Some of the pages listed below in the Paper Piecing Patterns section also include tutorials for paper piecing, but these two tutorials are some of the best to start with, especially if you are a visual learner.

English Paper Piecing Patterns

You are going to love the variety in this collection of pieced quilt patterns. From block patterns to full quilt designs as well as pillows, placemats, organizers, and so much more, you will find whatever you are looking for here.

As you can see, this list of English paper piecing quilt patterns and tutorials proves how creative paper piecing can be. It’s an art form in itself, which allows quilters to create full scenes or designs based on their own imagination or based off images and scenes they see.

Use these patterns as a starting point or find one that you love and want to create right away. There are even more paper piecing patterns to make, too!

  1. English Paper Piecing Hexies Part 1
  2. English Paper Piecing Hexies Part 2
  3. Bunny English Paper Piecing Tutorial (pictured below)

Bunny English Paper Piecing Tutorial

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i have done EPP quite a bit, i usually have some form of EPP with me in my bag as a on the go project, i have reciently found Hexiform, by ashmead designs, they are leave in stablizers instead of paper, and i love them! great for applique peices and about the same price as a pack of papers.

I love the idea of paper piecing but I haven't done much of it. I can't wait to try some of these ideas.


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