The summer is flying by here at Crosscut Sewing! With a full class schedule and trying to take some time off, I haven’t had as much time to sew. Because I am always on the go lately, I have started English Paper Piecing, and just like most who try it, I am hooked! I love it because we have a HUGE scrap bin at the shop, so it is a great way to use some of those up. It’s portable and I can work on my projects in the car, by the pool or even during a boat ride. I also find it very relaxing.
If you aren’t familiar with English Paper Piecing (EPP for short), I put together a Pinterest board with some of my favorite tutorials for getting started and projects for inspiration.
Just like there are many ways to go about EPP, there are also lots of tools, supplies and notions. While many of these are not necessary, some do make the process easier and more enjoyable. I have had the chance to test out many of these and I have made this list of all of my favorites.
I love the iron on EPP templates for several reasons. They are made of paper that is 50% water soluble with a light glue coating on one side. The shapes are fused to the wrong side of the fabric, roughly cut out with an approximate 1/4″ seam allowance, glued over and then stitched together by hand or machine. The papers DO NOT need to be removed. If washed the 50% stiffener will dissolve and remain in the project as soft natural fibers.
While they take away a little bit from the portability of EPP, I love that they stay in place and do not need to be removed. I will just iron a bunch of these to my fabric and take the whole piece with me and then trim and baste on the go. They do not need to be removed, which is great. It also makes the shapes easier to applique because they have some stability.
I trim my shapes on the go with scissors and I just eye the right seam allowance. Having the right scissors makes all the difference. Bordeaux Ultimate Scissor 170 are my favorite because I can trim the sides of most shapes with one cut, they aren’t too big and they are super sharp. They also have a larger version, Bordeaux Ultimate Shears 200 and a smaller version, Bordeaux Ultimate Shears 130.
For glue basting, I use Sewline Fabric Glue Pens. They are easy to apply and refillable. If you are using the iron on templates and are not removing them, you can use as much glue as you like to hold your seams in place.
When it comes to thread, I use Aurifil 50wt. Instead of carrying the whole spool with me, I thread my needles and run them through Thread Magic thread conditioner. This strengthens the thread and helps to keep it from tangling.
Then comes my favorite EPP trick! I wind all of my threaded needles into the Dome Threaded Needle Case. This case holds up to 10 threaded needles without tangling them so you can wind different thread colors and always have a threaded needle.
If I still want to take more thread with me, I wind it onto bobbins to save space. Then I uses a Tulip Bobbin Clamp to keep them from unwinding.
And last but definitely not least, I keep everything together and organized in my Yazzi Petite Craft Organizer. This case has 6 zippered compartments with see-through panels for storage of smaller craft accessories. Ideal for scissors, needles, laying tools, thread, embellishment packs, and other small tools or accessories.
The English Paper Piecing Supplies that we carry can all be viewed here: English Paper Piecing Supplies. What are your favorite tips, tools and tricks? Leave us a comment and happy sewing!