Advantages of English Paper Piecing

Advantages of English Paper Piecing from Monkey

You know that I am a long-time fan of hand piecing (Quilted Diamonds) but I never, ever recommend EPP for ANY design, and I wrote English Paper Piecing Rescue for quilters who want to switch mid-quilt.

However, Monkey has found several advantages to English Paper Piecing in his own inimitable way.

Paper Pieces for Hexagons

1. Acrylic templates

There is no need to learn how to print with Inklingo.

2. Glue

If you are up-to-date with the latest EPP trends, you know it is all about glue-basting, so you can avoid hand sewing with a needle and thread as long as possible.

3. Use up more of your stash.

Many quilters use 3/8-inch seam allowances for EPP and that uses up a surprising amount of fabric!
POTC Hexagons per Yard

270/yard with 1/4 inch seam allowancesPOTC Hexagons per Yard 0.375 inch
192/yard with 3/8 inch seam allowances.

That’s about 40% more in this example with POTC. (Not too sure about Monkey’s percentages and it varies by shape. But it is more.)

4. No need to press

All of the seams are already opened up, unlike with hand piecing (below).

How to press Patchwork of the Crosses

EPP can be as messy on the back as you like. There is no need to make the back look this pretty because it will be covered up eventually anyway.

5. It takes a long time, so a project last and lasts.

Everyone says Wow.

When someone inevitably asks you how long it took, you have an impressive answer.

6. Nostalgia and ties with the past

Connect with our quilting ancestors like Lucy Boston.

Maggie Smith sewing POTC by the fire Patchwork of the Crosses  From Time To Time Movie

To channel Lucy (and Maggie Smith, above), you can cut your own paper templates from Basildon Bond with scissors and avoid using a rotary cutter, acrylic templates, or freezer paper.

I told Monkey it is hypocritical to aspire to be up-to-date with glue (#2 above) but also long for the past and the good old days. He says people are like that. He’s usually right.

7. There is no pressure to finish.

You probably know a quilter who found a relative’s forgotten UFO (un-finished object) in the attic to finish decades later. You can leave a UFO too. There’s no law against it.

8. The quilt is heavier.

All that extra fabric in the seam allowances (#3 above) adds to the weight (although you will remove the papers).

If you search online, you will see that weighted blankets are a thing. “The pressure of weighted blankets puts your autonomic nervous system into ‘rest’ mode, reducing some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as a quickened heart rate or breathing.”

This can provide an overall sense of calm, even when you might be feeling overwhelmed by UFOs (#7 above).

9. Enjoy more time with each shape.

You will visit each hexagon (or another shape) at least THREE times—once when you glue it, again when you stitch it, and again when you pick out the paper pieces.

Sew with a running stitch

10. EPP is one dainty stitch at a time.

EPP doesn’t involve hasty sewing with a “running” stitch along a precise line or unfashionable sewing from crosshair to crosshair by machine.

11. Demonstrate impressive dedication and discipline.

Your inner strength is more impressive over a long period of time compared to quilters who combine hand and machine piecing in a hybrid just for the sake of finishing.

12. It counts as exercise.

Pinching and whip-stitching the shapes together exercises your wrists and fingers in a way that is not normally experienced in life.

13. It is stiff.

The shapes stay firm and stiff while you sew—not soft, floppy, and fabric-y.

14. Lots of tools.

Quilters love new tools!

Isn’t this cute? The Tack-It Easy gadget was invented to keep glue off your fingers, an unintended consequence of #2, above. (No affiliation.)

You can collect lots of things for each EPP project:
acrylic templates, paper pieces, glue pens (and refills), a set of Tack-It Easy gadgets, a rotating mat, clips to pinch the shapes together, a crochet hook (or seam ripper, or cuticle stick) for removing the papers, and pretty storage containers for your new things.

Quilt shops are willing to forego sales of fabric and patterns that would be required for the quilts you could make if you finished faster because they can sell these things and keep the economy strong.

15. 8 good ways to use Inklingo for EPP

If you have the corresponding Inklingo shape collection, there are at least 8 good ways to use it for EPP.

There are hundreds of Inklingo shape collections available in the Shop.

Shop 60° Shapes

Shop Hexagons

Shop Diamonds

Upgrade your Hexagons includes 6 videos

Fussy Cutting with Inklingo

Advantages of English Paper Piecing

Do you agree with Monkey about EPP? I am not convinced but I will let him see all the comments, okay?

New to Inklingo?

1. DOWNLOAD, SAVE, and OPEN the Free Diamond Triangle Square shape collection first.

2. VISIT the Welcome Page on the website.

3. SUBSCRIBE for occasional updates.

Monkey and I thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

13 thoughts on “Advantages of English Paper Piecing”

  1. Hey, I liked that blog! There’s a little bit of sarcasm in it, isn’t it. You know that I love inklingo and that I hate plastic and other stuff. But people are the way they are. Some never seem to hear the shot!
    Keep on doing what you are doing. I like it, Birgitt

    • Hi Birgitt,
      Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed Monkey’s point of view. That is very nice to know.
      As you know, he is a hand piecing snob so it was quite a stretch for him to find even one advantage to EPP.
      Monkey did it His Way, just like Frank Sinatra.
      “My friend I’ll make it clear
      I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
      I’ve lived a life that’s full
      I traveled each and every highway
      And more, much more
      Than this, I did it My Way.”

  2. Enjoyed this entire write up, and I, too, am chuckling over Monkey’s unique rationale. I did stall out on #3 though. I had no idea that you provided any Inklingo shapes with 3/8 inch seam allowance!!! Is this possible to re-purchase a favorite shape/pattern from you with 3/8 inch seam allowance instead of the 1/4 inch?

    • Hi Delores, Uh oh. I’m sorry to disappoint you! I just created that image to show how wasteful 3/8-inch seam allowances are! LOL There are not any Inklingo shape collections with 3/8 inch seam allowances. I don’t remember anyone asking for them. I am pleased that you enjoyed Monkey’s point of view. Thank you for letting me know.

  3. I still haven’t downloaded my inklingo shapes, I’m in the process of an EPP Tula Nova at the moment, and the first hand quilting I was introduced to was EPP before I was introduced to inklingo, one of these days… but my printer jams just trying to print out my labels for my quilts. I am still going to try this method, hopefully Monkey wasn’t just up to “monkey business…”

  4. I could barely stop laughing, reading the reasoning of Monkey. He must have had his tongue firmly in his cheek as he explained those to you. The ultimate hand-piecing snob must truly shudder at the thought of EPP! Thank you for the laugh, Monkey – I can’t stop grinning now!

  5. With EPP you get to enjoy various “trigger finger” issues. I have been through three of them, with one ending up in surgery. My thumb is currently healing from the surgery. Not fun. I love hand piecing the Inklingo way, but decided to try several EPP kits that came with all the necessary supplies. I got through a small kit, but when I started a larger one – Tula Nova – I ended up with a trigger thumb and surgery. I am on the last round, and will finish it, but that is the last time I will do EPP. I will return to my favorite Inklingo Method and just enjoy hand sewing without the pain.

    • Hi Glenda, I am sorry about your trigger finger! I have heard about this from several quilters and the pain can be terrible. I hope you heal quickly and can rock a needle comfortably again soon. Injuries like yours are just one of the reasons English Paper Piecing RESCUE has been so popular and one of the reasons I never recommend EPP. Get well soon!

  6. Was Monkey smirking a bit while he was explaining all of this? It looks to me like he was up to a bit of monkey business.


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