EPP Fever!

Last fall when Jenna and I began designing graphics for Vicki Bellino’s newest book Tiny Obsessions, I was completely unaware of the world of English Paper Piecing. To be honest, just the sound of it made me think it was far too difficult for me. As I started doing some research, I stumbled upon some really fascinating EPP projects and knew then I wanted to learn how to tackle this technique! Luckily, Vicki is a great teacher and happened to have some wonderful tutorials on English Paper Piecing right on our website so I didn’t have to go too far to learn.

Around that time, I was still on the lookout for fun and easy projects that I could make as Christmas gifts for friends and relatives. I came across Elizabeth Hartman’s “hexie pillow” project inspired by Tacha Bruecher’s Hexa-go-go book and knew I had to make one as well. Now that Vicki unknowingly taught me how to EPP and I had a project in mind, I was ready to get started. I already had a pillow form, so I gathered the necessary measurements and started planning out my project on the computer. By doing this, I was able to figure out how many hexagons I would need from the start. I made my own hexagon templates and printed out a bunch on regular printer paper (I’m sure something stiffer like cardstock would have been nice, but I managed just fine with the text weight paper) and spent some time cutting all of them out. You can also purchase pre-made paper pieces which would expedite the process and get you straight to the fun part.

I had a Bookish stack that was aching to be turned into hexagons and some Christmas movies that needed to be watched. I spent quite a while assembling the hexagons, but it was rather simple and a great “in front of the TV” project. I made my first attempts at fussy-cutting and found the Bookish focal to have countless options. Once I reached the point of having enough hexagons for my pillow, I laid them all out on the floor to arrange them in an order I liked. This proved to be much more challenging than I expected, mainly because my cat insisted on “helping.” It went a lot smoother once I was able to arrange in a cat-free area. I noticed that a lot of people make the hexagon “flowers” when they’re doing a project, but I found it easier to keep track of them if I did them in rows (and then labeled them so I didn’t have to redo this part 5 times!).

Because I had so many colors going on throughout the hexagons, I went ahead and used invisible nylon thread so it wouldn’t show up on any of my seams later on. In the beginning I was very slow at whipstitching and putting together the rows, but eventually got a lot faster. After I finished, I left the assembled top on my sewing table for a few days because I was really nervous about trimming it up and moving on to sewing it to the backing fabric. Eventually I bit the bullet and was really glad I did; the final results were so great to see after working on this for so long.

It might be a few months after Christmas, but I am happy to be done with it and really like the end product. I’m sure my aunt will enjoy getting a surprise gift in the mail now just as much as she would have in December… I hope at least! In the meantime, I’ve got my eye out for a new English Paper Piecing project to start!

If you’re looking to start English Paper Piecing, we have all the tools you’ll need! Click here to check out the selection.


  1. Joy Gross - February 22, 2013

    That pillow turned out adorable! Great job!

  2. Jenni - February 23, 2013

    So stinking cute Katrina!! Love love love!

  3. Jenna - February 25, 2013

    lOVE love love this Katrina. I’m inspired to do my own pillow now too. (adding another project to the list, I know, I know) Nice job!

  4. Kelly - February 25, 2013

    Addicted myself, but I’ve been doing the flowers. Might need to branch out. :-)

  5. Patty - February 25, 2013

    Love love the pillow and it is so exciting to see what can be done beside the grandma’s garden, which I love. Who would have thought this would really catch on again. That which is good never goes away.

  6. Katrina - February 26, 2013

    Thanks everyone! I’m glad you like it… gives me hope that my aunt will too 😉

  7. bea - February 26, 2013

    lovely! how big are the hexies? and how big is the pillow? and can you tell how many hexies and rows it is? I WANT to make one….. I’m doing some hexie Ahhhh’s 3″ hexies….

  8. colorado13 - February 26, 2013

    I too have become addicted to EPP! I had to leave it for a while to finish some quilts, stocking for my new granddaughter, etc. I have also been knitting furiously and finished 2 scarves and a blanket. Back to it TODAY!!

  9. Katrina - February 26, 2013

    Bea – To be honest, I don’t remember what size the hexagons were, but the pillow was on the smaller side… 13 inches I think? I believe my rows alternated having 8 and 9 hexagons per row with 10 total rows. I hope that helps!