Recently, I’ve been trying my hand at English paper piecing, and I’m finding that I like it quite a bit.
Although it’s usually associated with hexagons, it is useful with any design that features set-in corners.
I’m currently working on my third block using English paper piecing. And I’ve made some improvements to my technique.
The first two blocks look pretty good on the front, but are rather messy on the back.
My seam allowances were wider than they needed to be, and when I wasn’t too particular about which direction they went when I pressed the blocks. Mostly, I just wanted to get them pressed as flat as possible!
The star block on the left was the first one I made, and I thread-basted all the pieces. For the second one, on the right, I employed glue basting with a small glue stick. That was less time-consuming than thread basting, since I didn’t have to remove the basting after the block was completed, but I had to periodically go wash my hands to remove the sticky residue.
Then I learned about the Sewline Fabric Glue Pen. The glue pen is smaller than even the smaller gluesticks available at Staples or Office Depot. I still got some glue on my fingers, but it was definitely an improvement.
This time around, I’m also trying to be neater with my seam allowances. I cut them less generously, and trimmed the pointy ends before I began stitching the pieces together.
I’ve also changed my approach to the order in which I sew the pieces together. For the second block, I had more or less started at the bottom left corner, and added pieces working outward and upward. About two-thirds of the way through, I found that some of my pieces were not aligning as well as they should.
So on this current block, I’ve broken it down into small units which I will later join together into intermediate units, and finally join those together to finish the block.