As quilters and sewists, it can be difficult to bring our projects with us when we go away on vacation. Unless you’re hitting the road by car and have room for your sewing machine, the likelihood is you’re leaving most of your projects at home. Unless you love English Paper Piecing! English Paper Piecing is a portable, low stress, slow crafting experience. Perfect for sewing on the go! It’s also great for stash diving and scrap busting—and if you’ve read this summer’s blogs on Stash Pot Pie and Stash Projects, you know that’s something the Thimbles crew loves!
Thimbles has seen more interest in Paper Piecing in general and we’ve really tried to answer the call of our sewists. Last week we hosted a class on Foundation Paper Piecing for beginners that was so popular, we quickly added a second class in October. If you’re interested in making the fabulous heart panel shown below, definitely check out Beginning Paper Piecing on October 18 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.
Before we launch into our list of great English Paper Piecing travel projects, we’d also like to share some resources currently in stock at the shop. If the following projects inspire your desire for Paper Piecing, both 50 Little Paper Pieced Projects by Carol Doak and Paper Piecing All Year Round are fabulous books to complement your newfound Paper Piecing Obsession.
Excited to start English Paper Piecing? A few tips to remember before you start:
- Cut your pieces of paper in advance—you won’t want to do it while traveling!
- Cut your fabric pieces in advance.
- Bring extra paper and fabric pieces. You never know!
- Gather all the tools you’ll need to complete your EPP project. No one likes to find they left some integral piece for their project at home!
Now, let’s look at some small, highly-portable projects to bring on the road for late summer vacation!
This Hexagon Coaster from LearnCreateSew starts with a hexagon shape, the basic building block of English Paper Piecing projects. You’ll notice it pops up again and again—it’s a classic shape that is inherently easy to build with.
We love this project not just for its simplicity (you can probably finish a few of these while relaxing on the beach!), but also for the creative freedom it affords. Play up the floral aspect as in the fabric placement above, or use scraps leftover from a table runner or placemats to create a matching set. This is a great practice project for bolstering your EPP skills!
Find the full instructions for the Hexagon Coaster at LearnCreateSew here.
If you’re planning on doing English Paper Piecing on the go, a needle book is a handy thing to have. Let’s ignore for a moment the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum of needing a needle book for EPP well before you’ve made the needle book using EPP and just enjoy the pretty and highly satisfying project Vintage Sewing Box designed above. This free EPP project is shaped like a hexagon, composed of EPP hexagons, and features felt pages for easy needle storage.
Find instructions for the Hexagon Needle Book from Vintage Sewing Box here.
Sew Sweetness’s Hexi Zipper Pouch is a great English Paper Piecing project for beginners. Not only does it make use of scraps in the hexagons, but it also calls for a fat quarter for the lining. It’s a great stash and scrap buster! She also includes an instructional pdf and video instructions, so it’s very easy to follow along.
Download instructions for the Hexi Zipper Pouch from Sew Sweetness here.
Another project that begs the question of which should come first, your EPP project or the perfect tool for your EPP projects is the Go! Zipper Pouch from Accuquilt. It features a few different shapes—hexagons, squares, rectangles, half hexagons, and diamonds—so keep in mind that this might be a more advanced EPP project. However, once you’re comfortable with English Paper Piecing this is definitely a project to aspire to—it will hold all your tools and prove indispensable when you’re paper piecing on the go!
Download instructions for the Go! Zipper Pouch from Accuquilt here.
If you’re just starting out with English Paper Piecing, then the Star Blossoms pattern from Stitched in Color may feel a bit aspirational. That’s ok! There’s nothing like a little design inspiration to keep you motivated to increase your EPP skills. The Star Blossoms pattern is composed of triangles, diamonds, and hexagons, and can be used to make a quilt, pillow, bag, and more. If you remember you’re just building something small piece by small piece, the whole thing feels a lot less daunting.
Find instructions for the Star Blossoms pattern from Stitched in Color here.
The fall holidays are right around the corner, so these final two projects focus on getting you ready for autumn! Up first is the above Candy Corn Bag from Hugs Are Fun. This English Paper Piecing project is as easy as it gets. The central candy corn is composed of 9 paper pieced triangles and it can be used to embellish anything—a table runner, trick or treat bag, napkins, pillow and more.
Find instructions for the Candy Corn Bag from Hugs Are Fun here.
The Turkey Towel from Wild Olive might be one of our favorite English Paper Piecing projects on this list. The half hexagons to make the turkey’s feathers are ingenious, and we love the little embroidery details for the face.This design would look so cute incorporated into other projects as well—as part of a table runner, table cloths, pillows and more.
Find instructions for the Turkey Towel from Wild Olive here.
Do you love paper piecing? Looking for more paper piecing projects? We’ve created a Foundation Paper Piecing board and an English Paper Piecing board on Pinterest so you can be inspired by even more projects! Keep checking back as we continue to pin more projects and tutorials to help you on your paper piecing journey.
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