I don’t know about you, but to me, April seems like the unofficial month of English Paper Piecing (EPP)! Why? Because our April sponsor for the Dear Jane® Quilt Along is Paperpieces.com! And thanks to our sponsor, we were very fortunate to be able to try out some of the Dear Jane® B Row Paper Pieces. Paperpieces.com has also contributed some amazing prizes so keep reading for more details!
As I have mentioned in other posts, I have only been quilting for about 2 years, but I fell hard and fast for the EPP technique. And, as with all things quilting, I totally blame Melissa for this. You see, she bought me the “Liberty Love” book by Alexia Marcelle Abeg for Christmas when I was first getting started and I was totally captivated and intrigued by the Queen Bee tote bag.
Although I have yet to make the Queen Bee tote bag, I did start and finish a hexagon quilt, no plan really – just playing with the hexagons.
Then I moved on to the Tula Nova Quilt:
And just recently finished Libs Elliott’s The Watcher (EPP style):
And so it began for me the love of paper piecing! The reason I love it so much is because it is slow, quiet and relaxing and I can do it on the couch while still spending time with my family. I think I inspired Melissa to try it and she started her own EPP project using hexagons and variations. It is a work in progress and there are some lovely photos of it below:
The blue one is even signed by Tula Pink!!!
Initially when Melissa and I decided to make the Dear Jane® Quilt, I had thought I would only do it EPP style, but time and other commitments have dictated otherwise. That being said, every time I look ahead to my next row of blocks, I immediately mark any “Y” seam or curved blocks for EPP. Because of the complexity of the Dear Jane ® blocks it completely makes sense that the entire quilt should be EPP.
Paperpieces.com has many products available to purchase for the Dear Jane® Quilt and will also be reissuing the Dear Jane® book with Brenda Papadakis shortly. Not only can you purchase the entire quilt, but you can also buy commonly used acrylic templates, and individual rows.
To purchase Dear Jane® EPP products please click on the link below:
Paper Pieces Website
Not pictured is the large triangle template that one would also need to do the border triangles on the quilt. I love the acrylic templates for EPP because they work well with a rotary cutter for fast cutting! (I personally like to spend more of my precious quilting time sewing and not cutting the fabric)
As Paperpieces.com is our sponsor for the month of April, they were generous enough to send us the paper pieces for the “B” Row so we had the opportunity to try them out and offer some tips and tricks to you.
Primarily, I would totally recommend purchasing the piece packs for the reason that it is so nice to work with pre-cut, precise shapes, not having to print, trace and cut out my own making diving into Dear Jane® at the end of a long day way more appealing! Although some of the blocks are slightly modified for ease, I didn’t find them to differ too much from the original. The pieces are also made from a thin and firm card stock that makes them both easy to bend and easy to remove, further if you are like me and happen to sew through the papers from time to time, my needle still goes through the papers quite easily.
When I began my blocks, I first matched the up to the book and then labelled the pieces so I would know where they belong.
As you can see in the above photo I was working on block B-8 Water Lily, and in the case of this block, I needed to wrap the petals with fabric and then “needle turn appliqué” them on to the corner pieces before EPPing them together. Again I found the precision of the laser cut papers essential in the preparation for the “needle turn appliqué”.
In the following two images, I have prepped several blocks so that all I need to do is stick them together. I like to prep my blocks by glue basting them, leaving the area at the edge of the paper free so that I can easily get my needle into the fabric.
The Flat Back stitch
As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to do Dear Jane® curves with EPP. I find I have more control over the blocks, especially the really tiny ones! After trying multiple strategies to sew my curves, this one works the best for me and my stitches are barely visible.
When working with a larger curve, such as the one here on B-11 “Melissa’s Cross”, I find it helpful to fold the sections (with paper inside) in half to find the centre of the shape in order match up the pieces properly.
The following is a link to a video that demonstrates how to do the flat back stitch:
Karen the DIY Addict Flat Back Stitch
This video features one of my favourite Paper Pieces sources, Karen demonstrating how to do the technique on the La Passacaglia Quilt (NEXT ON MY LIST – YOU IN MELISSA?)
Speaking of Melissa, she also tried some of the Paper Pieces and here is her account:
“As you can see from my photos my experiment with making my own templates for epp were mediocre at best. While it did work, and made an ok block, the precision of the block is not what I would expect from spending hours on a block. The thickness of the paper used, allowed a lot of room for error so that the corners do not match up exactly and the pieces have almost a baggy look to them.
I am much more pleased with the block below where I used the Paper Pieces. The paper is strong but thin allowing for a better end result, and I know that I would have made a mess of hand cutting the circles out!
Also this time I took Eve’s advise and undid the basting at the edges to finish off the seams nicely in what would be the seam allowance. I am really in love with this block! I can not believe that the circles look this good!! All the heart eyes! 😍😍😍”
As our sponsor for the month of April and the “B” row, Paperpieces.com has generously offered our winner a Dear Jane® paper piece row of their choice and a brand new Dear Jane® book when they become available.
In order to win you need to post your 13 “B Row” blocks on Instagram by April 30th, and mention @scrappysewandso, and our awesome sponsor for this month: @paperpiecesepp and use the hashtag #dearjaneqal2019.
So that’s all for now, be sure to look for me as a guest quilter later on this month on the Instagram account @52quilters where I will be sharing more of my love for the EPP technique!