Saturday, October 20, 2012 I EPP

So after my post from the other day I thought I should deliver with this one.

Well I didn't get this done for last weekend as I hoped but it's done now and I hope you find it useful!

EPP is not a quick sewing technique. But it can be taken many places. I will sometimes baste and sew when stopped at traffic lights or at a train crossing, a few minutes at a time in the car travelling from meeting to meeting during the day. And yes, on trips away.

I've read a lot of tutorials, seen a lot of people sewing and even gone to a class. Some I found useful, some not. I'd point you in the directions of the ones I had found useful but I honestly couldn't tell you which there were now. Like the technique itself the evolution of my technique has been a slow progression.

So in the interest of sharing the way I do it a little step-by-step. This is by no means the only way, nor even the only way I have done it. But it is the method that has stuck for me for the longest.

Step 1: Gather your papers and your fabric
I use store bought ready cut papers. I tried cutting my own for a time but I had trouble finding a weight I was happy with (150GSM was the best I could find) and consistency in my cut pieces.

Generally I use papers from Paper Pieces and Patchwork with Busy Fingers. They use different weight papers but both measure the shapes by the length of the sides so are pretty interchangeable. Both are of a quality that means I can use each paper 2-3 times. A more recent bonus is that Paper Pieces will no cut a custom shape for you at no extra cost than the normal cost of the papers if you let them use the design for other customers as well (if not you will need to pay the set-up costs as well).

When cutting my fabric I add a seam allowance of 3/8" rather than the 1/4" that is more customary in patchwork. This is so when I am putting the paper in the middle of the fabric it doesn't have to be prefect and if it moves a little I will still have sufficient allowance to wrap around.

Step 2: Prepare you paper and fabric pairs

I pair a number of fabric/paper pairs and then baste them. I like to secure the paper to the fabric by putting a small circle of Sewline basting glue in the middle of the shape. If it is something like a kite I also put  line down towards the tail. In a large diamond I might do a + shape from point to point. Hopefully you get the idea. I find this holds well over time, doesn't discolour the fabric, stops the paper moving around while basting and does not have the unpleasant side effect of distorting the paper that pinning has.

Step 3: Baste the paper to the fabric
This is probably the area I have tried the most different techniques. I wanted for a long to time to have success without needing to baste through the paper but it was just a no go for me.

I baste by putting the needle in from the front, leaving the knot there. I go anti-clockwise around the shape and take a stitch at each corner ( by pulling up through the fabric hat meets at the corner and then taking an overstitch) before reinserting the needle halfway down the next side.

When the shape is basted I leave a little tail when cutting the thread after overcasting  a couple of times but not knotting the thread.

Step 4: Sew the shapes together
When you get up to this step do yourself a favour and get a new needle. I use sharps for both steps but have two tubes, one marked for basting and the other for sewing.

Start by putting two shapes right sides together and inserting a needle with a knotted thread into the corner. Take a couple of stitches, make a knot or two by putting the needle through the loop of a partly sewn stitch.

Continue overstitching across the edge, taking small stitches and catching the fabric at the point it wraps around the paper but avoiding the paper.

At the end ake sure you go through the corner again and take the overstitches and make the knots again. If you are adding another shape on to this corner directly there is no need to cut the thread here.

Once you have sewn to the outer corner of this shape you will need to secure the thread and cut it. After some trial and error (and a few loose seams) I found that a combination of overstitches and knots works best for me. Much like a tennis player that has a consistent routine I do two over stitches, three knots (by passing the needle through the loop and another overstitch. Like with the basting leave a little tail when you cut the thread.

 Step 5: Removing the papers
Once all of the sides of a shape have been sewn to you can remove the paper. Because the knot was on the right side of the shape I can cut this off very carefully so as not to cut the fabric and then pull the stitches out.

The paper will just pop out (you may need to pull a little to dislodge the glue)

See how the paper shape is a little bent? That is fine and part of haw it has needed to be bent during the sewing phase. If you spread it out and press it down it fine to reuse.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It's not a fast way to get a quilt top, or anything else really but it is a good way to use scraps, have something handy to keep your hand busy and when done it is immensely satisfying.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Kristy you make it look easy and achievable. You have given me the impetus to do some EPP.