An English Paper Piecing (EPP) Method

One reason I have hated this EPP project is that the curved rings are so very hard to attach. I finally saw Tara Faughnan, in one of The Color Collective classes, hosted by Sewtopia, use artist tape, installed on the front of the block, to hold pieces in place while they are being stitched. With the tape, I can keep the rings lined up without losing how they should fit properly into the bigger block. Basically, one runs into the same problems with these curves that one has with sewing any curves together–seemingly excess fabric that falls into place if both sides are laid flat.

To remind, here’s how I start a set of rings so I don’t wind up with colors butted up to each other that don’t work in one way or another.

When I have the outer rings sewn, I can overlay them on the center piece and use the tape to hold everything firm. (The tape can be reused–and when I’m done for the moment, I put pieces back on the tape ring so they don’t dry out.) When sewing the rings, I also use a small piece of the tape to hold the inner curved top pieces firmly while I sew them. The pieces in the middle are easy to sew with the standard method of putting right sides together and whip stitching them.

One uses what is called a “flat back” stitch to sew a block that is laid out flat. Note that I’ve written how the block will fit into the larger block on the back pieces. And remember that I also take a picture of the block so I don’t get mixed up with what color goes where and how the finished ring piece fits on the final block. When sewing rings to the mother row, I can just ruthlessly fold the mother row so I can get hold of what I am trying to sew. One needs purchase as sewing into the flat piece on a surface is too hard to manage.

Here’s an example of folding over part of the quilt, templates and all, so you can sew it more easily. Note that the center block on the left is folded in half. I am right handed, so it is easier for me to fold left and sew with my right hand.

Here’s a finished ring block.

And here it is attached to a center block with the tape so I can attach it from the back.

Now both rings are attached and the block is ready to go into the “mother ship.”


I am so not looking forward to attaching, when completed, these rows to the other three rows.

It will be…painful.

But let’s not borrow that trouble this morning as progress is happening steadily!