001 What is English Paper Piecing or EPP?

The technique of wrapping fabric around paper templates to make patchwork pieces is known as English Paper Piecing or EPP (for short).

[picture of paper wrapped templates and equipment]

It is an easy way of creating large complex pieces of patchwork consisting of geometric shapes that tessellate or fit together without any gaps or overlaps.  The finished pieces often look like tiled floors or mosaics and so you may find that it is also referred to as “mosaic patchwork”.

Image of tiled floor from @Ihavethisthingwithfloors on Instagram

 

Image Credit: Instagram @Ihavethisthingwithfloors

Typically, an English paper pieced quilt is made up of a series of repeating shapes in an all-over design as opposed to “blocks” surrounded by borders or frames as is common in other traditional patchwork techniques.

It is the perfect introduction to patchwork and quilting for those new to the craft due to its relative low cost, ease of portability and leisurely pace of construction.

 

Picture of Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilt at Greenhowe Manor 

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses Quilt

The process of EPP is a simple one:

A fabric patch is cut out including a seam allowance so that it is larger than the paper template.  This fabric patch is then wrapped around a paper template and held in place with tacking or basting stitches.

One or more pieces are then sewn together to create a larger piece of “fabric”.  This fabric can then be used as an alternative to a single piece of fabric for your sewing project such as bags or clothing or it can be layered with wadding (or batting) and a backing fabric and then quilted to make a quilt, table mat, wall hanging any many other items.

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