I used glue sticks and photo paper to make my hexies. It was time saving to eliminate the basting and the shapes were much more precise for me.
Next I started on a sampler of 4” blocks and I went through a variety of piecing methods. Hand piecing was not working on some of the tiniest pieced blocks. The blocks that I stitched the old traditional way of marking the seams and sewing by hand are a bit different in finished sizes due to my lack of perfect sewing. So, I tried EPP on these and they worked great! BUT, some of the EPP pieces are a mess on the backside with tiny tiny seams I am afraid will pull out. These seem to be pieces that i used too much glue on. I set this project aside while working on "work" related quilts. This is the book I used called 4" Sampler Book by Jill Kemp.
And this is how I am keeping the blocks organized before stitching...in baggies with paper patterns and fabric ready to take with me and stitch.
I need a bit of that organization now because I can not find my blocks that are completed !!!!!!!! I cleaned up.... :-( This always happens to me. I guess I need ONE area for unfinished projects...I will look another day...I wish I could show you my little blocks.Then I took a class from Penny Harren and learned her method using the book Piecing The Applique Way. It was such fun and was a great method for me. I made a nice sampler. It was similar to EPP, but I could make all the unique blocks partly by machine, partly by hand. Here is that quilt. The setting stars were made by machine and they are not very pointed if you look close!! Those stars were the most difficult part of this quilt! It's titled One Too Many Stars. These are 6" blocks. I want to do this with my sampler, but since I don't do "piecing" I can't figure out what sizes to sew by machine before I can sew the rest by hand...so I did a few more 4" blocks with glue, still fussing with too much glue. Penny did an awesome book for planning these blocks, but I am not smart enough to figure my own blocks using her method! :-} For different blocks this won't work for me.
Time has passed and I am ready to make a new quilt...hmmm, sure would like to make a Dear Jane after following Doreen at Aunt Reen's blog. She is soooo inspiring me with her posts of Jane blocks so often! I've had the book since it was new...I sure wish I could make this quilt...but...not now because I don't want to work by machine on all those tiny pieces. Sigh... I will put it off another 10 years!I decided to give a try to a method I saw done in Paducah a few years ago. This woman used the starch method to prep her appliqué pieces. It was very interesting and I put it on my list to try. Recently, Kerry of Simple Bird Appliqué blog posted the same method and it inspired me to get with it and try this method of applique! I started on the leaves of my birthday quilt and as I was doing so it had another idea! I think this will work for EPP without the middle P! (Paper).
Update: I have been using this method for several years now and have learned a bit about different brands of freezer papers. I strictly use a Double Layer of Traditional Primitives Premium Freezer Paper brand now. It prevents the corners from bending and does not shrink and distort as much as other papers. I can reuse my Hexie shapes OVER 20 times before it shrinks too much to use! This brand also seems to repel the starch and will not soften on the edges which keeps my shapes accurate! It comes in printer size and I run it through the copier and then cut out a page or so, double it up and then cut the shapes apart very quickly. I have also developed the Starch Brush and Fingertip Stiletto for aide in this technique for basting. All of these items are available on my website at www.traditionalprimitives.com on the notions page.
So, I gave it a try.. I prepared my shape and ironed on the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric. Then painted the seams with liquid starch. This is scrap freezer paper so that's why you see the printing on them! I no longer use the bowl of starch as shown below. The Starch Brush I offer has saved a lot of trouble and is so easy to use, put the cap on and leave it until the next time I am ready to sew!
Update: There are always reasons to use paper or not use paper, or baste with starch, glue or thread. This technique works both ways! Each of us have things we like and don't like about EPP. Hopefully these tips will help some of you fall in love with EPP by giving a few shortcuts here and there! As time passes, I seem to use many different techniques for different projects, so don't give up the old ways just yet! We use knowledge and experience every day to make this old piecing technique work for each of us, in the way we each prefer. This is the only way I baste for English Paper Piecing now and it works perfectly for me!
Join me at my new blog Traditional Primitives for my latest info on EPP my own way, using starch! I have a new EPP pattern in the works and there are some sneak peeks to see! Become a follower please, I'd love to get to know you!
I also have a website with several EPP pincushion patterns... Traditional Primitives from Missie Carpenter