EPP: as easy as one, two, three

English paper piecing (EPP) is a very old quilting method that is still used today to create traditionally styled sewing projects as well as modern makes. The technique involves wrapping fabric around shaped pieces of paper or card and then stitching the fabric together. The most traditional shape to use for EPP is the hexagon but today there are a huge variety of shapes that are used in English paper piecing projects.


A Sewing Jigsaw

EPP shapes can be arranged in an almost endless amount of ways which, I think, is what makes it such an addictive hand sewing technique. With so many creative possibilities there are lots of different options when deciding on a layout. Firstly you can work from a pattern or make up your own design. And secondly you can create lots of small blocks then piece them together or build one design for the full project like my Hexagon Waterfall wall hanging.

When starting out it is much easier to use shapes, or even a combination of different shapes, that have edges of the same length as this makes the actual sewing process much simpler. Once you’ve got a few projects under your belt there’s no reason why you can’t have a go at being really experimental and sew some off-set edges too.

Project Prep

When it comes to preparing your EPP shapes ready for sewing you first need to cut out your fabric so it is larger than the paper pieces.You can cut them roughly just using some fabric scissors or more accurately using a small quilting ruler and rotary cutter. It is really down to personal preference but I like the back of my projects to look almost as neat as the front so I prefer to accurately cut out each shape. I also find it easier to get an even seam allowance when using a ruler and rotary cutter and it is always important to have a decent amount of seam allowance, especially when you are making a “working” project like a quilt, so the seams don’t pull apart once the project is finished. A seam allowance between 1/4” and 3/8” is best for EPP; 1/4” is better for small shapes to avoid any unnecessary bulk and I find 3/8” better for fussy cutting and pattern matching because it gives a little bit more flexibility if you need to shift the papers slightly.

Seam allowances comparison
1/4″ and 3/8″ seam allowances

To cut your fabric place a paper piece onto the wrong side of the fabric, securing if with a dab of fabric glue or pin, then cut around the paper leaving your chosen seam allowance on all edges. Now you need to secure the paper piece to the fabric. Fold over the seam allowance on one edge and hold in place with glue or a large basting stitch (there will be more on the “great baste debate” next month!). Repeat on the other edges, basting in order moving around the shape rather than doing opposite sides first.

 

Time to Sew!

Unless your pattern tells you otherwise, it often doesn’t matter the order you sew together EPP shapes in a project but the way to sew them together is usually always the same:
Holding two shapes right sides together with one edge (including the corners) lined up neatly, start at one end and sew a few tiny stitches in the corner. Then continue along the edge using a tight whip stitch. Take care to catch only a small amount of fabric from both sides and don’t go through the paper pieces. You may need to fold some of the paper pieces to join all the edges; add an extra couple of stitches for strength when three corners join.

Whip stitch

The Joys of EPP

So why is English paper piecing such a wonderful addition to your sewing repertoire?

It is very portable, a great scrap buster and although it is slow sewing, most EPP projects can be broken down into small chunks making it easier to handle and feel like a more manageable project.

See you next time for an in-depth look at thread and glue basting.
Which will be your favourite method?  


You can find all Coffee Rings Studios English paper piecing patterns here.

And find some simple free patterns here.

Day Two: #keepcalmbrithop | My Favourite Thing

Hello and welcome to Day Two of the Keep Calm Brit Hop hosted by The Crafty Nomad.

There will be a new post every day for next couple of weeks (you can find all the posts so far in the link above) and it’s a great chance to ‘meet’ lots of new businesses.


Today I wanted to take the chance to talk about my favourite quilty thing. There are so many fabulous techniques, tools and trends in quilting you might think it would be hard for me to choose my absolute favourite but, while there are so many things I love about quilting and sewing, it’s easy for me. It always has been (and always will be) half square triangles!

half square triangle love

I wrote a blog post last year about the wonder that is HST and how versatile they are so I’m not going to repeat myself. Instead I’d like a share a few tips in case, shock horror, you don’t love half square triangles and perhaps needs a little persuasion to change your mind.

 

Favourite HST tools…

Most quilting techniques come with a whole host of tool recommendations so I’m going to try to keep this to a minimum; what I feel are the “must haves” to create the perfect half square triangle.

  1. cutting mat and rotary cutter…the best way to cut accurate fabric squares
  2. fabric pen…to mark the diagonal line when using the two from one prepping method (my fav) 
  3. square quilt ruler with a 45º marking…the 45º line is really helpful for accurate trimming
  4. pins…to hold your fabric squares together
  5. something to aid your pressing (my favs are my wool pressing mat or Flatter spray)…a crisply pressed HST makes it easier to get a neater overall look in your finished project

my favourite HST tools

 

Top Tips for the Perfect HST…

My top tips for the perfect half square triangle relate to trimming and pressing; these two things, like in many quilting techniques, are what give you a precise and crisp end result.

No matter which method you use to create your HSTs, I always thinks it best to make them a little bit bigger than you need and then trim them down. Although quilting cotton has no stretch it does have a bit of “give” which means it can become misshapen when it is pressed. By trimming down your HST you will, hopefully, trim off any of those “not so square” edges. And now we turn our thoughts to favourite tool number three…the square quilt ruler with a 45º marking. The more important bit is actually the 45º line. The best way to use this to trim a HST is to:
a) trim a little off all four edges
b) keep the 45º line lined up with the diagonal seam and make sure that diagonal seam also goes right into the corner of your square.

trimming half square triangles

For pressing there are lots of opinions (as always!) and I will say that I vary how I press my HST seams depending on the particular project. If I’m working on something which will end up with lots of potentially bulky seams than I’ll press the seams on the HSTs open. This helps to reduce the bulk but does make it more difficult to line up the HST points as accurately; it can be done but it takes a bit more care and practise. The project I’m working on at the moment only has a handful of quite large HSTs and will become a baby quilt so I’m pressing the seams to the side. This does make the seams bulkier, but as there aren’t too many this isn’t much of a problem, however it is easier to get a crisp finish on the points (important to me as this is a gift) and the pressed-to-the-side seams will be a little stronger when I quilt it which is good for something like a baby quilt that will be washing more often.

Another plus point to pressing HST seams to the side is that it gives you the option to “nest” the seams when you start to sew your patchwork project together. You have to plan ahead a little because you need to press the seams in different directions, when joining two HST units, so make them nest. Nesting the seams makes it much easier to match the triangles neatly and helps to give perfect points.

Perfect points on half square triangle units

 

Have I convinced you yet?

There really are so many uses for half square triangles; I’ve got a few design ideas for blocks or projects made entirely of HSTs on my blog post if you are feeling inspired. I know some people shudder at the thought of trying to get super accurate with their patchwork projects but I do think that half square triangles are relatively easy to get nice and precise if you follow the guidelines and take your time.

All my photos from this post are from various stages on creating this star block. It is the corner section from my free pattern Simple Star Quilt so if I’ve peaked your interest in HSTs this could be a great (and free!) project to try them out.

Simple Star quilt block

If you are in the market for a different sort of new pattern or project then I currently have 25% off all my PDF patterns; I’ve got patchwork quilt designs and some smaller English paper piecing projects.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post about half square triangles. If you are new to me then you can click at the end of this to see previous blog posts. To receive updates from me about new blog posts, pattern releases, quilt alongs and more, please sign up to my newsletter and follow me on Instagram.


Here is the full #KeepCalmBritHop line up:

Saturday, 28th March: Jo Westfoot | The Crafty Nomad

Sunday, 29th March: Amy Ball | Coffee Rings Studio

Monday, 30th March: Jo Hendy | Villavin Crafts & Retreats

Tuesday, 31st March: Nicola DoddCake Stand Quilts

Wednesday, 1st April: Rachel Concannon | Rachel’s Textiles Studio

Thursday, 2nd April: Lou Orth |  Lou Orth Designs

Friday, 3rd April: Sonia Spence | Fabric & Flowers

Saturday, 4th April: Fi | Pins & Needles Grayshott

Sunday, 5th April: Sarah Ashford | Sarah Ashford Studio

Monday, 6th April: Abigail | Cut&Alter

Tuesday, 7th April: Karen Lewis  | Karen Lewis Textiles

Wednesday, 8th April: Joanna KentCrafty Quilter

Thursday, 9th April: Jo AveryJo Avery Stitch

Friday, 10th April: Round Up Post | The Crafty Nomad

Check here to see what the Keep Calm Brit Hop is all about and all of the posts as they appear each day. Enjoy and stay safe!

Rainbow Lattice | Scrappy off-cut cushion

I love to save fabric scraps…perhaps too much if I’m honest! And if I’m being very honest my saved scraps mostly stay in the box unused.


Coffee Rings Studio - Rainbow Lattice quilt

So I love that when you trim the Rainbow Lattice Quilt down to the final size, you end up with some very useful off-cuts.

There’s a good number of similar off-cuts from this quilt pattern so you can have a good play around with lots of lay-out ideas.

Read on for a couple of ideas for how you can use those off-cuts to make cushions to match your quilt.

 

Prepping your off-cuts

If you’re anything like me, all those off-cuts were probably shoved carefully placed in a storage pouch, box or cupboard while you got on with finishing off your beautiful new quilt. This means they will need a press before you do anything else. Press (DON’T IRON) the off-cuts very carefully. You’re dealing with a lot of bias edges here and if you drag your iron across them, rather then just pressing down, you run the risk of stretching the fabric and off-cuts out of shape.

You will have three types of off-cuts from this pattern:

Rainbow Lattice quilt off-cuts with white border
Striped triangles with a white border; there will be 6 like this (A) and 4 with the white order on the opposite side (B).
Rainbow Lattice quilt off-cuts
Striped triangles without any white border (C); there will be 14 like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final job before you start playing around with lay-out ideas is to make sure all the off-cuts are the same size. Depending on the lay-out you choose, you may need to unpick some of the white border strips so don’t worry about the size of off-cuts A and B at the moment. If you made your quilt absolutely perfectly with all your quarter inch seams as accurate as a NASA computer then well done you are awesome/super-human and all your off-cuts won’t need any trimming.

Prepping and trimming the off-cuts

However if you aren’t that accurate (like me!) they won’t all be the same. As we are making a project from off-cuts, realistically it is never going to be as accurate as sewing from a proper pattern. For that reason I’m not mentioning any dimensions because its likely everyone’s will vary a little. 

The quickest and easiest way to trim down all your C off-cuts is to find the smallest one and trim all the others to match.

 

Large HST inspired cushion

I love a half-square triangle (you can read all about why in my Half-Square Triangles: the most versatile quilt block? post from June) so these off-cuts were the perfect opportunity to create a HST design with a slight twist…strips on each side of the HST too.

To create this design you will need fourteen C blocks and four A or B blocks with the white border strip removed. Once you’ve removed the white strip, trim those blocks down to match your C blocks.92F9E78D-E569-491B-AB43-00E8CBD84967

The exact colour effects you can create will depend on the colours you have used in your quilt. As I made my Christmas version scrappy I have fewer main colours to work with so was able to create this strip effect.

Sew each set of HSTs together first then join all the squares together.

If you have followed the original rainbow colour palette then you will have four off-cuts from each of the five main colours, plus two off-cuts each from the two corner colours. With these colours you could do the one corner section of the cushion all in one colour (using four triangle blocks), repeat that for the opposite corner with a different colour then mix up the remaining colours for a scrappy look down the middle.

Small twist cross cushion

I always think its fun to change the focus of a design to something IMG_4861new. In the original quilt pattern the joining strips are very much the “background” of the quilt but in this cushion you can flip that so they become the central motif.

To create this design you will need four A blocks; place them as shown in the photo.

Sew two of the triangles together, then sew the other two ( you will now have to two big half square triangles), and finally sew these together down the long diagonal seam.


There are lots more you can do with these off-cuts. Have a play around and try a few different lay-outs. You could try a rectangular cushion too.

The only thing I would recommend is, as you are essentially dealing with lots of pre-cut triangles, try to create designs that are based on squares (just two of your off-cuts put together) then arrange/re-arrange these squares. This will make the sewing much easier and avoids the need to use Y-seams.

Once you’ve finished your cushion fronts, check out my post Cushions Got Back for a step-by-step on how to add a contrast band envelope cushion back.

PIN FOR LATER…

Rainbow Lattice off-cuts cushion pin


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Rainbow Lattice Quilt Along | THE PRIZES!

Keep reading to find out more details about our QAL prize sponsors.
Each week has a fabulous prize for anyone taking part and using
#rainbowlatticeqal
If you haven’t joined the quilt along yet, this is your chance to make a modern, beginner friendly patchwork quilt pattern with lots of other fellow quilters.

Sign up for the quilt along HERE
(scroll down to buy your pattern)

The Prize Sponsors…

There are some fabulous prizes along the way for participants who post on Instagram using the hashtag #rainbowlatticeqal

Patterntrace
Stationery Geek
Quilt Now
Crafters Companion
Modern Quilt Club
Linladan
Holistic Kitchen
Quilty Love
Figo Fabrics
Alison Glass
String & Story

 


Use code QAL2019 for 20% off!

Grab your Rainbow Lattice pattern with a discount before the quilt along starts:
Rainbow Lattice Paper pattern
Rainbow Lattice PDF pattern

Rainbow Lattice Quilt Along

Introducing the Rainbow Lattice Quilt Along…

A chance to make this modern, beginner friendly patchwork quilt pattern from Coffee Rings Studio with lots of other fellow quilters
#rainbowlatticeqal 

This is a great chance to make a quilt ready for the festive season, as a beautiful handmade gift or just for the fun of sewing a new quilt!


Dates
14th October 2019 – 1st December 2019
7 weeks


How to follow along


Supplies needed

Rainbow Lattice pattern is available in paper and PDF formats.
Use the code QAL2019 for 20% before the quilt along starts!

For the rainbow version:
red prints – 2 x F8ths
pink prints – 2 x FQs
yellow prints – 2 x 0.5m
green prints – 2 x 0.5m
blue prints – 2 x 0.5m
lilac prints – 2 x FQs
purple prints – 2 x F8ths
plus 2m of background fabric

For a scrappy version:
15 x FQs
plus 2m of background fabric

(full details including wadding, binding etc can be found on the pattern)


Weekly prizes

There are some fabulous prizes along the way for participants who post on Instagram using the hashtag #rainbowlatticeqal

The sponsors include…
String & Story
Quilty Love
Alison Glass
Figo Fabrics
Patterntrace
Stationery Geek
and more!


Share this on Instagram to show you are taking part! And don’t forget #rainbowlatticeqal

RL qal

Don’t forget to use code QAL2019 for 20% off!
Buy your pattern here:
Rainbow Lattice Paper Pattern
Rainbow Lattice PDF Pattern 

 

Top 4 tips for creating an invisible sewing space

Cards on the table…I sew and work from my dining room table.

sewing space before and after

I would love to have my own sewing room but we simply don’t have space on our house for one. I used to have the box bedroom as a sewing space but it was too dark and small; then hubby started working from home some days and needed somewhere he could close the door to take calls, and we moved the piano into there when Fletcher started lessons…there’s only so much you can fit in a tiny room!  And the layout of our house downstairs means having a permanent sewing area in our living space wouldn’t work for us so I everything I use for work and sewing needs to have a place to be stored and tidied away into when I have finished.

Although there are some drawbacks to having to tidy everything away all the time (I’m sure I would be far more efficient with a permanent space and I could do little bits of sewing here and there without the hassle of “setting up”) I don’t mind being in the dining room. We have a really big table, it’s a lovely light open plan space, I can open the back doors on a warm day, there’s space for a full sizing ironing board and it’s right next to the kitchen i.e. the coffee machine!


So here are my top four tips for having an “invisible” sewing space… one that is invisible (or close to it!) when it’s not in use.

Tip 1: Handmade Storage

If you are using open shelves to house any of your sewing supplies then handmade storage boxes and baskets are a great choice; they are quick and easy to make and look great on display. Choose colours to match the decoration of you living space then your sewing storage will blend in nicely with everything else.
Patterns I especially love:
Lou Orth Designs Little Things Basket
Sweet Cinnamon Roses Wee Braw Bag
Hearts and Bees One Hour Basket

Tip 2: Mats & Rulers

Small cutting mats and rulers can go neatly into cupboards or onto shelves but larger mats and longer rulers are more difficult to store out of sight. Slid them under your sofa to tidy them away, with the added bonus that this keeps the mats flat too.

mats and rulers under the sofa
Tip 3: Be Organised

This might seem really obvious but it is always worth mentioning. Make an effort to keep the same things in the same place, especially supplies you use often; always put your scissors and rotary cutters in the same pouch, keep your thread on the same shelf, store your fabric in some sort of order (group colours, designers, piece sizes…whatever suits you best) and stick with it. By having a specific place for everything it will be quicker and easier to find the tools or supplies you need and it is faster to tidying everything away. Be sure to plan the setting up and packing away into your sewing time. Keeping projects together also helps a lot. I love these storage pouches from Sarah Ashford Studio; they come in three different sizes, hold more than you’d think and line up really neatly on a shelf.

Storage pouches from Sarah Ashford Studio
Storage pouches from Sarah Ashford Studio, A4 and A3 sizes.

Tip 4: Don’t have too much stuff

OK, so this is much easier said than done! I’m not here to tell you how much you should or shouldn’t have in your sewing stash; fabric stashes especially can be a rather emotive topic, check out HollyAnne’s blog post over on String and Story about fabric stashes, she basically says everything I’m thinking. But a limited amount of storage space can easily become overwhelmed with too much stuff, and an out of control stash can lead to you becoming overwhelmed and losing that all important urge to sew…and no one wants that!

Next time you are tidying away your supplies (or even more importantly, next time you are about to buy something new) think to yourself “Do I need three different 45mm rotary cutters?”, “Is one pair of small scissors actually enough?”. If everything serves a unique purpose then that’s great and they all deserve a space in your stash but if not, perhaps take a moment to think about what else could go in the space instead.

PIN FOR LATER…

invisible sewing space1


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Cushions Got Back | how to add love to the “wrong” side of handmade cushions

Adding a contrast stripe to envelope back cushionsI like to take as much pride in the back of a sewing project as the front; whether that’s a totally hidden back like the “wrong” side of an EPP project or quilt and cushion backs. I know you don’t look at them very often and they probably won’t be as fabulous as the fronts but they still deserve a bit of love.

 

Adding a contrast stripe is a great way to coordinate the back with the front and it means you can make an 18″ cushion back with one fat quarter (even directional prints!) and a long scrap.


How to add a contrast stripe to envelope back cushions

This is based on an 18″ finished cushion but you could easily adapt it for larger or smaller projects; you would need more than a fat quarter for a larger cushion.

  1. Cut one 18″ x 8½” piece and one 18″ x 9½” piece from your cushion back fat quarter
    [NOTE: the 18″ edges will be at the top and bottom of your cushion back so if using directional fabric, make sure it is the right way up before cutting]
  2. Cut one 18″ x 4″ strip from your contrast fabric. I like to choose one I’ve already used on the cushion front.
  3. Take the 18″ x 9½” piece and pin the contrast strip right sides together to one of the long edges.
    [NOTE: this will be the top half of your cushion back so if you are using a directional fabric make sure the strip goes onto the bottom edge]
    Then sew using a ¼” seam allowance and press.adding contrast strip to one side of envelope back cushion
  4. Hem the bottom edge of the contrast strip-top back piece: fold the long edge to the wrong side by  ¼”, press, fold again by ¼”, press then sew in place.adding hemming contrast strip ton envelope back cushion
  5. Hem one of the long edges of the 18″ x 8½” piece in the same way.
    [NOTE: this will be the bottom half of your cushion back so if you are using a directional fabric make sure you hem the top edge]
  6. Place the hemmed cushion back pieces onto the cushion front, right sides together; the hemmed edges will overlap in the middle. Make sure your back piece with the contrast stripe is against the cushion front with the plain back piece on top of it. Pin in place round all four edges.cushion back layers with contrast strip
  7. Sew round all four edges using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Clip the corners, turn right side out then stuff with a cushion pad.

Now you and stand back and admire the front and back of your new handmade cushion!

contrast stripe envelope back cushion

Pin for later…

Cushions Got Back pin for later


 

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Half square triangles: the most versatile quilt block?

If you follow me over on Instagram you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of half-square triangles (HSTs for short) and have recently been looking at all the different layouts you can create.

So are HSTs the most versatile quilt block? I think they are but read on to see if you agree…

There are lots of different layout options when you are only use two colours (or with a mix of prints all from the same colour palette combined with one other colour); we’ll get onto these ideas later. Then there are almost endless possibilities when you start to add in more colours but that’s a whole other blog post!


I think a really important thing to remember is that all the steps for making great looking HSTs are important, and this is true of any type of quilt block (and pretty much all sewing too). You should take as much time and care over each one; none of these steps can be rushed through to get onto the “good bit”…

  1. cutting
  2. marking
  3. piecing
  4. pressing
  5. sewing

What is a HST?

As the name suggests, a half square triangle is a pieced square of fabric with the seam running across the diagonal creating two triangles.
Usually half square triangles are made from fabric squares because squares are easier to work with than triangles. You can create a HST from two triangles, and this can be a great way to use up off-cuts, but you run the risk that your fabric and therefore your triangles will stretch.

Fabric grain: woven fabric is made of rows of threads woven together with half the threads running vertically (warp/lengthwise grain) parallel to the fabric selvedge and the other half running horizontally (weft/crosswise grain) at a right-angle to the fabric selvedge. If you look carefully at woven fabric like quilting cotton you can usually see the lines.

Bias: an imaginary line on woven fabric at 45° to the warp/weft threads

Generally speaking, sewing diagonally across the fabric grain is harder than horizontal or vertical sewing because you are sewing on the bias and this means the fabric can stretch and become misshapen. Dealing with the fabric bias at some stage is unavoidable with HSTs but sewing across a fabric square give some extra support.

Prepping a HST?

There are lots of chest sheets on Pinterest to help you work out the maths for create lots of sizes of HSTs and I’ll like to those later.
To have less fabric wastage I like to make two HSTs from two squares of fabric. If you are using a directional fabric there is no way to avoid a little bit of wastage and you will only be able to make one HST from two squares of fabric. Personally I prefer to still use the square method and have this wastage because it gives you a more accurate triangle

prepping HSTs

Really useful half square triangle cheat sheet by Suzy Quilts

There are other methods out that that involve using larger squares of fabric, sewing around the four edges and then cutting across the diagonals to make four (sometimes eight) HSTs but I find sewing on the biased and pressing the grain much easier than sewing on the grain and pressing along the biased. You could experiment with these methods if you like but you have to be a very accurate/careful presser and then I still think the fabric can shift and become a little out of shape.

HST ideas

With 64 half square triangles (so thats starting with 32 squares of fabric from each of you two fabrics) you can create these square layouts.

 

If each of your finished HSTs are 2.5″ these designs would make an 18″ square finished cushion.
And if you increased that to 5.5″ finished HSTs you could make a 40″ square quilt; the perfect baby size or child’s lap quilt.

With 16 half square triangles you can create these smaller square blocks.

 

You could repeat one of these with different fabrics to make a rainbow quilt, use all of them for a really scrappy look, or playing around with a big selection of HSTs and try out some different designs.


So do you agree with me? Are half square triangles the most versatile quilt blocks?
Even if you don’t, have a try with them and see what designs you can create. I bet you’ll have fun in the end!

A Love Affair with Half-Square Triangles

It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and as many of you who follow me on Instagram will know, I am in love with half-square triangles; the way they look, their versatility, cutting them, sewing them, trimming them…everything! So it only seemed fitting that my heart-themed project for this year paid homage to these fabulous patchwork pieces.

Inspiration for quilt designs can come from so many different sources. I got the idea for these heart blocks from a fellow handmaker Dotty D who designs awesome slogan tops and accessories. I wear her high neck hoodies all the time! I saw her new geo heart design (check our her Instagram feed) and said “that would look so cool as a quilt”…she said “if you have time you are welcome to use the geo heart for a quilt”…so I did! And of course I have a new slouchy jumper with the geo heart design on the way too because how could I resist?!

I’ll show you how to make two different 10″ heart blocks and you can choose what to use these for but my favourite options would be:
– zip pouch
– put four blocks together to make a cushion
– mini quilt wall hanging
– storage basket…I’ve used my blocks to make the Lou Orth Little Things basket! It’s a fabulous free pattern and you can download it here.

To make the two blocks you will need:
– pink fabric…a large scrap
– pale pink fabric…another large scrap
– white on white fabric…mixed scraps of various prints
– cutting mat, rotary cutter and quilting ruler (one with 45° line is really useful)
– fabric pen
– extra supplies to finish your project

CUTTING & PREPARATION
1. Cut your fabric:
3 3/8″ squares: white (8), pale pink (7), pink (13)
2 1/2″ squares: white (4), pale pink (2)
2 1/2″ x 1 1/2″: white (36)

2. Take all the 3 3/8″ squares and prepare your half-square triangles (HSTs).
Pair up the squares with right sides of the fabric facing in the following combinations:
IMG_6459white-pink
7 sets
white-pink
1 set
pink-pale pink
4 sets
pink-pink
1 set
pale pink-pale pink
1 set

Using the photo to guide you, draw a diagonal line on each set from one corner to the opposite. Sew a line using a 1/4″ seam allowance either side of the drawn line. Then cut along the drawn line, press the triangles open to reveal a square and trim this down to a 2 1/2″ square making sure the diagonal seam line stays across the centre and reaches to the opposite corners.

3. Repeat this process for all the sets of 3 3/8″ squares. You’ll have a one spare pink-pink HST and one pink-pale pink HST that you can set aside for another project.

4. Arrange your HSTs and 2 1/2″ plain squares as follows to create the two heart designs. First sew them together in rows of four squares.

5. Now attached the four rows together. Press the seams well.

6. Sew together four white rectangles. You will need four sets. Sew these to the two vertical edges of the heart blocks. Then sew together five white rectangles. You will need four sets. Sew these to the two horizontal edges of the heart blocks.

7. Press well and then decide what to do with your heart blocks!

IMG_9508

 

IMG_0335

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.

Assembly:
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.

Finishing:
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!

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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.