Wednesday Tute 19 – English Paper Piecing

Inklingo Patchwork of the Crosses by Fern in Singapore


“Sewing sequence” is one of the fun things about hand piecing whether it is English Paper Piecing or hand piecing with a running stitch.


THE RULE  For any hand piecing, sewing sequence can be random or any order you like.

(In other words, there is no rule.)

That can be confusing to quilters because machine piecing often requires us to sew in a sensible, predetermined sequence to avoid inset seams. We expect there to be a rule.

When we hand piece, inset seams are an advantage (yes!) and we can sew the shapes together in any order we like.

(There is no wrong way. Isn’t that nice?)

On the other hand, we have some suggestions that could make the sewing sequence more fun for you.


Inklingo Patchwork of the Crosses by Fern in Singapore

The examples in this tute use Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC), but the same method applies no matter what shapes you are sewing—hexagons, diamonds, triangles, and shapes with curves . (Inklingo Index of Shapes)

Fern in Singapore has posted photos of 50 of her POTC blocks on Inklingo Yahoo. They are all stunning. She uses Inklingo with a running stitch by hand instead of English Paper Piecing because it is faster, portable, relaxing—and it gives her spectacular results.


We can sew the shapes together in any order, but Monkey and I like to plan our route to have lots of inset seams because they are an opportunity for “continuous stitching.”

Continuous stitching:  At the end of every seam, before you cut the thread, look to see if the next seam can be sewn just by turning a corner.


First Thread Line

I start with the 4 hexagons in the center.

With one thread, I join the first three hexagons (2 seams) as shown by the red arrows.


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

Two more seams and the center cross is finished. Voilà!

This is the same whether I am sewing with a running stitch or EPP.

With English Paper Piecing, leave the papers in until all of the sides are sewn.

If you are sewing with a running stitch, there are no papers to remove (nice!) and you can “circle the intersection” to be sure it is perfect with no hole (video).


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

One of my favorite sewing sequences is to assemble the next 12 hexagons for POTC into a ring like this because it maximizes the continuous stitching in the next step.

I sew the seams for the ring by machine—sewing crosshair to crosshair (video)—but you can do this with English Paper Piecing too.


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

The red arrows show how I can sew continuously to add the ring of 12 hexagons to the center cross.

Continuous stitching is relaxing and therapeutic—the zen of stitching.


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

Next I sew these pairs for the corners, so .  . .


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

. . . there is more continuous stitching!


TIP Whether you use a running stitch or EPP, when you turn a corner, you will have to fold other shapes out of the way. You can see how this works in a video for sewing Grandmother’s Flower Garden.

If you are using EPP, sometimes you need to fold the template to line up the next seam. You don’t want your template to be too stiff to fold for whip-stitching.


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

If you are sewing with a running stitch (instead of EPP), it is easy to isolate the seams you are sewing.


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

If you are English Paper Piecing, you can remove the paper on the 8 shapes in the center (outlined in red) because all sides are sewn. That makes it a little more portable and you can re-use the papers in the next block.


Inklingo POTC Sewing Sequence

I find these shapes faster and easier with a running stitch than with EPP, but there are detailed, illustrated instructions for English Paper Piecing in The Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC).


Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting

EPP is the slowest and most difficult method in the POTC book, but it is included because it is the method that Lucy Boston used to make all of her quilts, as described in The Patchworks of Lucy Boston by Diana Boston.


Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting

Whether you use English Paper Piecing OR sew with a running stitch OR sew some seams by hand and some seams by machine (“hybrid”), you can use the No Waste Fussy Cutting method to get pretty results without wasting fabric or wasting time.


Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting

The variations are endless!


In Wednesday Tute 15, we showed you how you can print the Inklingo layouts without seam allowances on a variety of template materials to rotary cut your own precise templates.

In Wednesday Tute 16, we showed you how you can print the Inklingo layouts with seam allowances on fabric to use the fabric more efficiently and to make the shapes faster and easier to cut than with acrylic templates.

In Wednesday Tute 17, we showed you a few different basting methods, so you have a choice depending on the template material you have printed.

In Wednesday Tute 18, we showed you how to deal with seam allowances on sharp points and the advantages of pressing seams to the side instead.

The more you know about EPP and Inklingo, the easier it is to choose the method that is best for you.

In the next few Wednesday Tutes, we’ll look at more reasons to use Inklingo when you EPP because Inklingo has advantages for quilters who enjoy whip-stitching and paper templates too.


Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting

Isn’t this fun?


You can catch up on our other Wednesday Tutes now too:


Inklingo No Waste Fussy Cutting

I hope you enjoy sewing these as much as I do.


Please subscribe to the blog (top of right side-bar), so you don’t miss more about English Paper Piecing in our next Wednesday Tutes!


Several Inklingo quilters are posting photos on the Facebook page for Inklingo Quilts and Projects and I have been adding Kaleidoscope Stars too. There is lots to see on the Inklingo Projects Blog and in the Inklingo Yahoo Group too.

Thanks for visiting.

Linda & Monkey

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Quick Start (Always FREE.) There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

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2 thoughts on “Wednesday Tute 19 – English Paper Piecing”

  1. “Continuous stitching is relaxing and therapeutic—the zen of stitching.”LF With the ease of your printer accurately printing the lines directly on the fabric, and then the pieces cut out, you are left with so much more time to just stitch, stitch, stitch and really relax. Tension and stress disappear as you enjoy just picking up another piece and continuing your stitching watching the fabrics come together creating beautiful patterns.


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