How to Make an EPP Star Ornament with Diamonds

White EPP star on tree

How to Make an EPP Star Ornament with Diamonds

A large English Paper Piecing (EPP) project can seem daunting. But a small project, such as an ornament, lets you try the technique on something easy. And it’s something that you will actually use! Not naming names, but some people always have a portable EPP project ready to go. Ahem.

English Paper Piecing is an old technique that stabilizes and stitches two pieces of fabric together. Our EPP Hexagon Flower Garden Table Topper provides an overview of English Paper Piecing.

There are lots of options for diamond shapes that allow you to makes stars with just the number of points you want. For a 6-pointed star, we’ll use 60-degree diamonds. Six of them fit together perfectly, and make a nice, balanced star. The most challenging part of working with diamond shapes is taming the fabric at the acute angle of the pointy end, but we’ll share tricks for achieving nice, sharp points.

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Ready to give it a try? Or already know how to EPP and want a relaxing TV project to add some holiday joy? Let’s make an EPP Star Ornament with Diamonds!

White EPP star on tree

How to Make an EPP Star Ornament with Diamonds

The star is an iconic motif for the Holidays, and this EPP star ornament boasts sharp, crisp points. Ready to give it a try? Or already know how to EPP and want a relaxing TV project to add some holiday joy? Let’s make an EPP Star Ornament with Diamonds!

Materials

  • Cotton fabric, fat quarter, 6 charm squares, jelly roll strip or scraps from your stash (This example uses 2 fabrics)
  • Matching thread for piecing
  • 7-inch piece of coordinating rick-rack, ribbon or other trim for hanging loop
  • 12 60-degree diamond EPP paper templates with 2-inch sides
  • Fabric-friendly glue pen, such as Sewline
  • Thread conditioner, such as Thread Magic (optional, but highly recommended)

Tools

  • Good lighting!
  • Acrylic cutting template for 2-inch 60-degree diamonds with seam allowance (optional tool used in this project)
  • Non-slip grips for acrylic template if not manufactured with a non-slip surface
  • Fabric scissors OR small rotary cutter and mat if using acrylic template for cutting
  • Erasable fabric marker (if scissor cutting)
  • Hand sewing needles (I use a size 9 or 10 milliner's needle)
  • Needle threader, if you need one
  • Thimble, if you use one
  • Iron and pressing surface
  • Fabric clips, such as Wonder Clips.

Instructions

  1. First, gather your tools and supplies. I cut my fabric with an acrylic template (hard to see, but it's on the mat) and rotary cutter. This template came with a non-slip coating, but not all do, so I always like to have AppliGrips at the ready. When cutting smaller pieces with a rotary cutter, the sharp blade is closer to my fingers. I don't want my ruler/template to shift and cause an injury. I use a 28mm rotary cutter for these pieces as I feel it gives me better control. Not pictured here are the diamond-shaped paper pieces.Supplies for EPP star ornament
  2. The rotary cutting template includes a 3/8-inch seam allowance (1/4-inch is also available, if you prefer) and measures 2 1/2 inches from one side to the other. That made it easy to use charm squares, folding each one in half and cutting two diamonds at once. I was able to stack and cut 6 diamonds at a time. Jelly roll strips are also a perfect fit for this template.Place template on fabric for cutting
  3. Cut all four sides of the diamond shape. With a small or revolving cutting mat, you can turn the mat to rotate the pieces for cutting, and they will stay perfectly aligned.Cut 6 diamond shapes for each side of EPP star ornament
  4. An alternative to rotary cutting is to trace the finished size paper diamond on the wrong side of the fabric and cut out with scissors, adding your preferred seam allowance. Use an erasable marking tool. The seam allowances do not have to be perfect, just as long as you have enough to fold over the edges all around the paper piece.

  5. Cut 6 diamonds for each side of your star.Cut 6 diamonds from each fabric
  6. Arrange the diamonds into star shapes. This will help you keep track of the piecing order.Audition EPP star ornament layout
  7. Center the paper piece on the wrong side of a fabric diamond. Do you notice the fold line on the paper? That's because I have used this paper piece before in another project. The paper pieces can be reused several times!Center paper piece on wrong side of fabric
  8. Now it's time to baste. The traditional basting method is to fold over the edges and stitch through the fabric and paper templates. Then you remove all the basting threads after stitching the project together. I prefer to baste with fabric glue.
  9. Place a line of water soluble fabric glue along one edge of the paper piece, just inside the seam allowance. Try to avoid letting glue wander over the edge of the paper - you will stitch along the edges and won't like stitching through the glue.Glue one edge of paper piece
  10. Fold the seam allowance over the edge of the paper and finger press.Fold over glued edge of EPP diamond
  11. Continue gluing and folding until you have covered all four side of the diamond. Don't worry about the extra fabric at the sharp points - we'll get to that later.Fold-glue-fold-etc EPP diamond
  12. After glue basting, your diamonds will look like this on the wrong side and the right side. Baste all 12 diamonds.Front and back glue basted EPP diamonds
  13. Here are all the basted diamonds, ready to join together as stars.
  14. And here's part of the magic of making the extra fabric disappear at the points. When you nestle them together at the center, the extra fabric disappears on the back and the points stay sharp and crisp.See how overlaps disappear at center of EPP star
  15. Thread your needle with 12-18 inches of thread. Yes, a shorter length than you might usually use. Then draw the thread through a thread conditioner. Each stitch will draw the thread through the fabric along the edge of the paper, and that can weaken the thread. The conditioner protects the thread and helps prevent tangling. Longer lengths of thread tend to break with repeated pulls along the paper edge. I love my needle threader, so I don't mind rethreading more often.Condition thread
  16. Pick up 2 diamonds and place them right sides together.Place two diamonds right sides together
  17. Insert the needle at one of the points, inserting it between the folds of fabric to bury the knot.Bury knot in fold
  18. Make an extra knot to secure the thread and whipstitch the pieces together along the edge. Keep the loose fabric at the point free from stitching.Begin whipstitching edges keeping excess fabric clear
  19. Continue to whipstitch the edge with very small stitches, about 1/16-inch, catching about 3 or 4 threads of each piece. Knot the thread and bury the thread end when you finish whipstitching the side.Continue whipstitch - knot and bury thread at end
  20. Finger press the pieces open and see your star begin to take shape.Finger press open
  21. Pick up the third diamond and stitch it to the first two in the same manner. Set this unit aside and stitch another unit of 3 diamonds to form 2 halves of the star.Sew one half of EPP star then the other
  22. When you have 2 sets of 3 stitched together, place them right sides together along the center and clip. Keep the extra seam allowance fabric free at the center. Clip two sides of EPP star together along center line
  23. Whipstitch the center seam from one side to the center, and secure with a knot.Stop at center and knot thread
  24. Knot and begin stitching again on the other side of the center point, again keeping the loose ends free of stitches. Secure at the end with a knot and bury the thread end.Begin other side of center with knot and whipstitch seam
  25. Finger press the star open and coax the loose fabric at the center into a swirl or pinwheel. Press flat.Swirl nesting point and press center of EPP Star
  26. Press again from the right side and admire your first star! Repeat the process with the remaining 6 diamonds to stitch a second star.Right side of teal EPP star
  27. Now it's time to prepare the outer points before stitching the two stars together. It's a little fussy at this stage, but it's worth is to take the time to keep the points, well, pointy. At each outside point, there is a single layer of fabric sticking out. Trim away just that excess single layer - it's a tiny triangle.Trim single layer excess
  28. Fold the remaining fabric back creating the fold along the edge of the diamond. Press.Fold first edge of point
  29. Now turn the remaining fabric in along the other edge and press, forming the point.Fold and press second edge under
  30. Align the front and back of your star wrong sides together and insert the ends of your hanger at the top, forming a loop. A touch of glue helps to hold the hanger in place. The glue pen would work for ribbon, but my metallic rick rack needed a dot of tacky glue. Clip all around your star to keep front and back lined up during stitching.Insert hanger - glue and clip
  31. Begin whipstitching the outside edge of the star together. Take a couple of extra stitches to secure the hanger. When you get to the points, use your needle to nudge any loose ends between the layers.Bury knot and begin whipstitch
  32. When you have stitched all the way around your star, knot and bury your thread end. Here's one side of the completed star, ready to take it's place on the tree!Teal EPP star finished
  33. And here's the other side. I like ornaments with two "right" sides so they still look pretty if they get jostled and turned around.White EPP star finished
  34. The teal side on bright red:Teal EPP star on red
  35. And the white star on red:White EPP star on red
  36. Showing off some teal on the tree:Teal EPP star on tree
  37. And a bright, shining white star to light the way:White EPP star on tree

Browse through more English Paper Piecing projects and inspiration on Create Whimsy.


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Or, make his quick and easy EPP wreath with hexies. A perfect beginner project!


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