Do you ever wonder where trends come from? How is it that all of a sudden it seems like everyone is quilting with a hexagon motif and then the next thing you know, color blocking is all the rage? One of the recent trends that seems to have come out of nowhere is the popularity of English paper piecing patterns. They're everywhere you look! However, it's pretty clear the resurgence of this sewing technique comes from the modern quilting movement, where traditional techniques are given new life in contemporary ways.
As someone who was raised to hand sew, I have jumped into this hand-piecing technique with both thimbles, so to speak. When we chose Joanna Wilczynska's English Paper Piecing (EPP) project for Modern Patchwork Spring 2013, I immediately tried my hand at making her beautiful designs.
Here is a summary of Joanna's tutorial on paper piecing blocks for a pillow, from Modern Patchwork 2013.
|Here are two of my paper-pieced
patchwork blocks, in progress.
1. Trace the single patterns onto template plastic or cardboard; cut out. Using the templates, trace the shapes onto paper; cut out the quantities indicated. Be sure to trace and cut carefully.
2. Pin the paper template to the wrong side of the fabric and cut around the template, leaving an approximate 1/4" seam allowance. Fold the seam allowance over the paper template and secure the fabric at the folds with a few basting stitches. Do not stitch through the paper; catch the fabric only. Carry the thread from 1 fold to the next, and do not remove the paper.
3. After completing 1 hexagon, 6 squares and 6 triangles, whipstitch them together to create a circle.
4. When you have finished piecing all the circles together, remove the basting stitches and paper templates.
I find piecing these blocks addicting. Paper pieced quilt patterns are the perfect project for keeping my hands busy while watching TV or my kids games.
For those of you who are entranced by the modern quilting movement and patchwork quilt sewing techniques, we've put together Modern Quilting Patterns, Projects, and Techniques, a bundle with all our best resources (Modern Patchwork Spring 2013, Quilting Modern, Fresh Quilting, and "Quilting Arts TV" Episode 1101) at a very reasonable price. Availability is limited, so don't wait to order!