This year, thanks to the fabulous ‘Ice cream soda’ block of the month quilt by Tales of Cloth, I have really fallen in love with EPP.

EPP, or English paper piecing, is the method of hand piecing blocks of fabric that are first wrapped around a ‘paper’ shape.

Although, by no means an expert, I thought it would be fun to share my EPP set up and my preferred methods for epp-ing.

I generally only prepare and work on one or two blocks at a time and keep all my tools and current blocks in this Folio (Fold up folio from Aneela Hoey’s, Stitched Sewing Organizers. Have a look at more of my makes from the book here.)

IMG_9116 ap
My storage

I keep my basted and ready to sew pieces in the clear vinyl pocket and once I’ve started sewing I just keep the in progress block just folded up inside.

I glue baste (As opposed to using basting stitches to hold the fabric to the paper.) I have tried stitch basting but it’s just too slow and fiddly for me!

I also like to use the Sewline glue pen. Again I’ve tried normal glue sticks, which I know are much cheaper, but and I’m going to sound picky now, but I just find them more bulky to hold when gluing the fabric to the paper (which 99% of the time happened on my lap in the evening.)

When it comes to actually piecing, I use size 9 Tulip piecing needles and a whip stitch to piece together. I have also found that a leather thimble on my thumb is flexible, comfortable and helps when pushing the needle through.

My Tools

Whilst I’m talking about thimbles, I have also used Thimble Pad, which are reusable leather patches which you stick to your finger. I quite like using this too as you can place it exactly at the point on your finger where you push the needle through. They are reusable and lasted more uses than I originally thought they would.  They are obviously comfortable as I’ll often find that I still have it on my finger after having packed my epp away!

Thread. This is a tricky one and I’ve tried quite a few different threads. Like a lot of things, it comes down to personal preference. I currently use Superior Threads, The Bottom Line in a light grey. I like to pull my stitches tight and found that 100% cotton thread snapped a lot whilst I was stitching (which is very annoying!) I don’t really like the feel of the polyester thread but it’s strong and doesn’t snap and that was more important to me.

Tiny whip stitches

I also have a lovely little pair of baby Bow scissors by Merchant and Mills which are lovely and perfectly sized for my folio.

I think that covers most of the bases. Please comment below if you do things differently (thread basters??)) Or if you have any questions. Also let me know your current EPP project, is it a long haul or quick make??

In a few weeks I’ll be sharing what has been the focus of my EPP for most of 2017 – My Ice Cream Soda quilt! Definitely a long haul project for me!

Lou x

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