7 January 2017

A little happy Tutorial ~ English Paper Piecing ~ Diamonds & Stars


Happy New Year!!!  I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas break!  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and both mum and I got to recharge our batteries a little and spent lots of quality family time.  One of my main goals this year is to focus on balancing work/family, but I won't lie it's a hard one!  Unfortunately, my New Year hasn't quite gone to plan, as I took a little tumble on the stairs on Tuesday and sprained my ankle.  However as they say, all clouds have a silver lining which has meant plenty of time for hand stitches....my favourite!

By co-incidence, this months block for our 'A little happy year BOM' includes English Paper Piecing and one of my favourite shapes, a six point star.  I thought it may be useful to show how I prepare and stitch these lovely stars.

As I've mentioned before I love to sit on an evening (and after injury ha ha) and English Paper Piece, so generally I cut my fabric by holding the paper template against the fabric and roughly cutting the fabric with scissors with a generous 1/4" seam allowance.  When I'm more organised I use a Rotary Cutter, which is of course much quicker, for this I allow a 3/8" seam allowance.

This picture shows how if required you could cut multiple diamonds in one go.  I simply lay out the diamonds allowing an aprox 3/8"s seam allowance ( I eyeball this) and then I'm able to cut multiple diamonds with minimal cuts. (can you see where the triangles are, these could easily, if the fabric piece was larger, produce more diamonds)



Fabric cut, it's time to baste.  I am now a convert to the glue basting method and I use a Sewline Glue pen (I'll pop a supplies list at the bottom), which, when used goes on blue and dries clear.  I start in the top right.......

 and move clockwise around until all 4 sides have been glued ....

For this tutorial I am making a 6 point star, which requires six 6 point diamonds.  Did you know that 6 point diamonds also work well with hexagons and equilateral triangles and you can make some really pretty EPP shapes?  You can also get different size diamond shapes, for example 8 point diamonds, which create an 8 point star, these also work well with squares...oh the pattern combinations are endless!  The preparation for 8 point diamonds and triangles is the same as above.

Can you see from the picture below that all my diamonds are glued in exactly the same way, so the little tails are pointing in the same direction, this will make it so much easier when you come to stitching them together.
I like to lay out my diamonds out in order that I'm going to sew them....can you see how the tails all pointing in the same clockwise direction....

I then stitch the diamonds together using tiny whip stitches (as shown HERE) into two sets of three.  As always I use Aurifil 50wt in a shade to match my fabrics.
 Then to finish, I stitch the two halves together.  Can you now see that by having the tails pointing in the same direction, this helps the diamonds to lay flat and helps reduce bulk.
For the BOM the stars are appliqued to 4 Patch background, so at this point I press my star, which will help keep the crisp outer edges in place and then I remove the papers.  This is done by carefully lifting the glued edges with my finger.  If you were making a larger EPP shape joining lots of diamonds, you would not remove the papers until each one was surrounded by another diamond.

Coming back to the BOM, to centre the star on the 4 patch is easily done by matching the seam lines on the 4 patch with the seam lines and points of the star as shown below.  The star is held in place with my Clover applique pins.
I appliqued the star using tiny little stitches, again using thread to match the star and not the background.  
 I stitch the long side of the diamond (i.e the side without the tail) first and then put a little holding stitch at the point, this gives you a barrier to help tuck the tail in.  If necessary you can trim a smidge of the tail, but be careful not to cut too much away.....
  Repeat this process until all points of the star are appliqued.

That's it, nice and easy.  I hope that you find this 'A little happy tutorial' useful......here's a close up of my finished stars on my 'A Little Happy Year' quilt........




If you missed out on this Block of the Month (or fancy joining another one!) watch this space, as I'll shortly be doing the grand reveal on our next festive Block of the Month 'A Little Happy Christmas'......which just so happens to have another variation of the 6 point star!

As mentioned here's a list of the Scrummy Supplies I used this time......

Sewline Glue Pen ~ available HERE
Sewline Glue Refills ~ available HERE
English Paper Piecing Papers ~ available HERE (watch this space we've just had a HUGE delivery of new shapes including Octagons, Squares, Kites, Hexdens etc)

Talking supplies, just to say our Winter Sale ends tonight at midnight, so if your stash is in need of a little replenishment, there are lots of pretties available!


See you again soon!

5 comments:

  1. I love this block. Thanks for the tutorial!!

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  2. I have really wanted to try english paper piecing for a very long time. Maybe this year will be the year! Thanks for sharing your tutorial.

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  3. Thank you for your tutorial on English paper piecing, very helpful. I can see your list of supplies but could you tell me which sewing needles I would need to have a go please?

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  4. So pretty. I have just discovered your blog and am now a happy follower. x

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  5. Lovely tutorial Sarah. I hope the ankle is feeling much better by now.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, it really does make my day! If you have a question, please do ask away and I will do my very best to answer. Sarah xo