English Paper Piecing Basting

Kingfisher Stitch Along

I am so excited to be a guest poster for Kingfisher Stitch-Along!  The stitch along is a wonderful initiative by Rachel of Stitched in Color and Jodi of Tales Of Cloth that combines english paper piecing, appliqué and traditional piecing.  For more details about the stitch along have a look at their Kingfisher HQ page.


Glue or Thread – that is the question

So lets talk English Paper Piecing (EPP) Basting! There are two options when it comes to basting – glue or thread.  Recently I ran a quick survey via Instagram asking people what technique they typically used and of the over 700 respondents 47% thread basted and 53% glue basted.  So it seems both options are popular.  I actually use either technique depending on the shape (smaller than 1 inch hexies I tend to glue baste) and my time (slow stitching equals thread basting).

Before you start basting you will need to cut out your fabric.  I find using a plastic template is ideal because it allows me to fussy cut and ensures I don’t waste too much fabric by cutting a wider then needed seam allowance.  Once you have your fabric cut out, centre your hexie paper on the wrong side of the fabric and now you can either glue baste or thread baste

Glue Basting

  1. Run a thin line of glue a
    glue 1

    Fig 1.

    long one edge of the paper – the thinner the better so you don’t end up with too much glue to stitch through nor are you papers hard to remove. (Figure 1)

  2. Fold the fabric against the glue and press down
  3. Repeat along each side making sure your fabric is laying flat against the edge of the paper to give you a nice sharp fabric edge. (Figure 2)
  4. To assist with the glue and sharp edge weigh down you hexie with a book or something heavy until the glue dries.

Fig 2.


Thread Basting

  1. Thread your needle (I use either a size 10 or 11 needle) with your cotton.  I prefer to thread baste with Aurifil 50wt thread as it has a good weight and glides through the tiny eye of the needles without bending or fraying.
  2. Fold over one side of your fabric over the edge of the paper piece, then fold the fabric on the next side also over the edge of the a paper (the direction doesn’t matter but I do find my shapes nest better when they are all stitched in the same direction). Hold in place with 2 clips.
  3. Fold over the fabric on the next side and stitch through the folded edge ensuring you go through both side of fabric. (You can also stitch directly down through the fabric and through the paper however I find this method blunts my needle faster and also makes holes through my papers making wear a bit quicker – I try and get at least two projects out of a set of hexie papers)
  4. Go back through the fabric again (making sure you don’t pull your thread completely through) and this should hold the fabric and thread in place. (Figure 3)


    Fig 3.

  5. Fold over the fabric over the next side and hold in place with you finger.  Stitch through the folded fabric stitching towards your original entry spot.  Your thread should now be laying flat against the fabric, holding the fabric in place.
  6. Repeat step 5 for the remaining edges
  7. Finish the final side by stitching through the fabric directly next to the original looped knot on step 4.  (Figure 4)



Fig 4.

The method you choose is purely up to you, as you stitch up your flowers you won’t notice which technique you used and in fact many of my flowers have used hexies that have been glue and thread basted.


While thread basting does take extra time, it protects your papers more, its makes removing papers easier and you don’t end up with sticky fingers.  However the speed you can make glued basted hexies is also perfect if you are time poor and want to spend more time stitching your hexies together- which incidentally Jodi has written a brilliant blog all about.  Who knew thread was directional!


I am loving seeing all the variations of hexie flowers already being created under the #kingfisherstitchalong and #kingfisherquilt hashtags.  And can’t wait to see all the EPP creativity over the coming 8 weeks.

Happy Basting!