Most nights I enjoy relaxing with some simple hand sewing, and more often then not I’m working on a english paper pieced project. So after 18 months of almost daily practice I have discovered a few tips that I thought I would share and hopefully help you with your next project.
Glue vs thread basting
I have tried both glueing and thread basting and for me
thread basting wins out for any paper piece over about 1/2 inch. Thread basting helps maintain the shape (no more yanking at seams and fabric to become unstuck) and means I can get at least two or three uses out of my paper pieces as the papers aren’t torn when I remove them. With 1/2 inch and smaller shapes it gets fairly tricky to work with the tiny pieces so I do find glueing easier.
For months I struggled with threading my needles but then I discovered Aurifil 50 weight thread – its thin enough to fit through the eye of any needle but has enough structure it doesn’t collapse when you are trying to thread with it.
I had no idea there was special quilting needles but once I discovered size 11 needles my stitches improved straight away. Their small size means they slip through the fabric far easier than a longer length needle. And as you sew your shapes together you can also get in between the edge of the paper piece and the edge of the fabric (see below image), which means your stitches won’t be visible at the front of your project.