Happy hexies! English Paper Piecing tutorial

How to English Paper Piece hexagons

English Paper Piecing is the perfect type of patchwork to take on-the-go. Read on for our free step-by-step guide to how to EPP!

Readers of our print editions are in for a treat this month! Every copy of issue 56 comes with a nifty English Paper Piecing kit, complete with 50 mini hexagon templates and pre-cut multicoloured fabrics. Each square of fabric is the perfect size to fit your paper templates and the rainbow shades are sure to add some sunshine to those grey January mornings!

Not sure where to begin? Our Technical Editor Sarah’s here to talk you through the basics of English paper piecing! Scroll down for her step-by-step guide and once you’re hooked, check out our other tutorials (links below) to take your piecing to the next level!

English Paper Piecing step 1

Step one: Use your template to trim the fabric squares to a hexagon shape. Centre one hexagon template on the wrong side of the fabric and fold down the seam allowance on two edges. Pin or clip to hold in place.

English Paper Piecing step 2

Step two: Thread your needle with waste thread. Beginning on the folded corner, going from right to left, push the needle through both flaps of fabric but not the paper. Pull the needle through and repeat to make another stitch in the same spot (backstitch).

English Paper Piecing step 3

Step three: Fold down the next seam allowance. Move to the next corner and backstitch, as before. Repeat at each corner, working your way around the hexagon.

English Paper Piecing step 4

Step four: When you reach the first corner again, make another backstitch and knot off your thread. Press the hexie with a dry iron.

English Paper Piecing step 5

Step five: To join hexies, place two hexies right sides together and whipstitch along one edge, stitching both hexies together. We’ve used a contrasting thread so you can see our stitches, but you’ll want to use a neutral thread to blend with the fabrics. Stitches should be about a needle width apart across the seam. Knot off when you reach the end of the first edge.

English Paper Piecing step 7

Step six: To join the next hexie, place right sides together with the first pair, and stitch along one edge. Knot the thread at the end of the joined edge, but leave your thread uncut.

English Paper Piecing step 8

Step seven: Unfold the hexie, and place right sides together with the next one, folding the first hexie. Continue stitching along the next edge and knot the thread at the end.

English Paper Piecing step 8

Step eight: Keep joining hexies in the same way until you’ve completed the desired shape. We’ve joined our hexies in a Grandmother’s Flower unit. You can make lots of smaller units and then join together, or keep adding rows of hexies around the centre.

English Paper Piecing tip

Tip: Knotting off the thread

It’s important to knot off your thread securely, to make sure your seams don’t unravel. As you make your last stitch, leave a small loop of thread. Then pass your needle through the loop two times, before pulling the thread tight. Snip the thread close to the knot.