The Holly and The EPP

A quick winter (dare I say Christmas!?) English paper piecing cushion project.

The pattern is a holly EPP motif appliquéd onto a cushion. There are lots of different options with this style of EPP project; you can choose between machine or hand appliqué, machine or hand quilting (or both), all over quilting or just quilting on the cushion background.

As this is a free pattern, the instructions are briefer than you’ll find in my usual paper/digital patterns and won’t go into details on exactly how to EPP, appliqué or quilt but if you have any questions, please do ask in the comments.

If you enjoy making this project then keep an eye out because I have a series of this style of pattern planned; Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter which will be available to purchase during 2019. Each will include two cushion designs; the paper pattern will include all the EPP templates required and the digital pattern will include templates for printing your own EPPs.

Project size:
18″ square cushion

Materials needed:
10 x 7/8″ Jewel EPPs (jewels are measured on the short edge)
3 x 7/8″ Hexagon EPPs
Shades of green/mixed green print fabric scraps
Red fabric scraps
FQ for cushion background
18″ square wadding
FQ for cushion back

Scissors/rotary cutter & mat, fabric glue stick/needle & thread (for basting), needle and thread, quilting thread of your choice, sewing machine etc

Lay-out, cutting and basting:

The lay-out of the Jewel and Hexagon EPPs is shown below.
For this project I have chosen to thread baste but you can use whichever method you prefer. If you haven’t basted hexagon and/or jewel shapes before, I’ve included an image of each so you can see the order in which I basted the edges.

Once you have all your EPP shapes prepped and basted you are ready to sew them together. If you are using a mix of prints (like I have ) I’d recommend laying out the design before you start to sew and trying different print placements until you get an arrangement you are happy with.

TIP: it’s always a good idea to take a quick photo of your fabric arrangement at this stage then you can refer to it whilst sewing.

Sew all your shapes together.

Quilting and Appliqué:
As I said in the introduction, it really is up to you how you appliqué and quilt this project. I really wanted the EPP holly to stand out from the cushion background so I didn’t want to do all-over quilting after I had appliquéd on the main motif. But…I really like the look of channel quilting so I quilted my cushion background first and then added the holly after.
I quilted vertical lines starting with them 1″ apart and then added in lines at 1/2″.

Next I pinned the EPP holly in place.
To get the placement correct and even (the holly is going in the top left corner of the cushion but not too close to the edge!) I marked the 3/8″ seam allowance I will use later when adding the cushion back using a Hera marker. The top and far left points of the holly then go 1 1/2″ away from the seam allowance lines.

Holly EPP

I machine appliquéd the EPP holly in place using variegated green thread around the edges of the leaves and switched to red thread for the edges of the berries.
I have only sewn round the edges of the full motif but you could sew round the edges of each leaf and berry. I then added some dense hand quilting to the berries, running in the same direction as the edge appliqué stitches.

Once you have finished the quilting and appliqué you just need to add the cushion back using your preferred method (I have chosen an envelope opening for ease and speed) and stuff with an 18″ square cushion pad.

Now sit back and admire your new handmade cushion!


You can find all my paper patterns (English paper piecing and patchwork) in the Coffee Rings Studio Etsy shop
Or if you prefer digital download patterns then the full collection is available here.

Get your FREE Guide to (near) Perfect Patchwork and keep up-to-date with all the goings on at Coffee Rings Studio including patten releases, future QALs and new digital courses.

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