English Paper Piecing (EPP) is gaining traction as part of the slow stitch movement, but making a full-size EPP quilt is a long-term commitment. Thinking of an introduction to EPP, but not ready for a big relationship? For a weekend project that will teach you the basics of EPP and that you can use every day, start with how to make an English Paper Pieced mug rug. This project starts with traditional hand piecing that you can take with you anywhere, then finishes on the machine for quilting and a simple edge treatment. You might just fall in love!
Here is how to make an English Paper Pieced Mug Rug.
Get a taste of EPP with this small Mug Rug project, hand pieced with a machine finish. Here's how to make an English Paper Pieced Mug Rug.
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- Fabric to cut 12 1-1/2-inch Diamond Shapes (Charm Pack and Jelly Roll-Friendly)
- Backing Fabric (approximately 10 X 10 inches)
- Batting (approximately 10 X 10 inches)
- 1 1-2-inch Paper Piecing Templates (12)
- Fabric Glue Stick
- Piecing Thread - Neutral Color or to Match Your Fabric
- Quilting Thread - for Quilting and Edge Finish
- Thread Conditioner, such as Thread Magic (Optional)
- Sewing Machine
- Walking Foot, Edge Stitch Foot (Optional)
- Pressing Surface
- Rotary Cutter and Mat
- Acrylic Cutting Template with Seam Allowance for 1-1/2-inch Diamonds. I use templates with 3/8-inch seam allowance. (Optional)
- Quilting Ruler
- Wonder Clips
- Hand Sewing Needle
- Needle Threader (Optional)
- Thread Snips
- Fabric Marker (I used a heat-erasable pen
- Thimble (Optional)
- Gather your tools and supplies as listed above. I chose 6 coordinated charm squares for my fabric and a neutral thread for piecing.
- Position acrylic template on fabric and cut with rotary cutter. Templates are available with either a 1/4 or 3/8-inch seam allowance. I prefer 3/8-inch. I folded each 5-inch charm square in half to cut 2 diamonds at a time. (If you are not using an acrylic template, trace one of the paper pieces on the wrong side of your fabric, add seam allowance and cut with scissors or rotary cutter.)
- Cut a total of 12 diamonds.
- Here are my cut diamonds laid out in a hexagon pattern with a center star.
- Center a paper template on the wrong side of a cut diamond.
- Add glue to one edge of the paper piece, then fold fabric over the paper.
- Repeat for all four sides of the diamond. Don't worry about the dog ears - they will disappear later.
- Arrange the diamonds for your star points, then whip stitch by hand, right sides together. I use Wonder Clips to hold the pieces together for stitching and a thread conditioner to prevent fraying.
- On the back, see how the center dog ears nest around each other, making a nice flat intersection for all those seams.
- Add the outside diamonds to complete your hexagon. Again, we will take care of the dog ears in a minute.
- Remove the paper pieces and give your hexagon a good press.
- Gently unfold the outside edges you have just pressed. Can you see the fold well enough to use it as a stitching line for your sewing machine? For extra visibility, I used a ruler and heat erasable pen to mark my edge stitching line.
- Admire your beautiful piecing and those perfect EPP points!
- Smooth out the backing fabric, wrong side up. Center batting on backing. Center EPP hexagon on batting, right side up.
- Pin baste for machine quilting and audition thread.
- Quilt as desired. I outlined each diamond with my walking foot, using the 1/4-inch mark on the foot to guide me.
- After quilting, stay-stitch on the outside line that you pressed/marked in Step 12.
- Trim through all layers just outside the stitched line. Dog ears gone - ta-da!
- Almost done! Here is my EPP mug rug with all 6 sides trimmed and ready for edge finishing.
- Zigzag stitch around the outside edge of your mug rug. (These stitches will cover the stay-stitching line from Step 13.) I shortened my stitch length to .8 - audition stitches on the edge scraps you cut away in Step 14 to find the adjustment you like on your sewing machine. An edge stitch foot helped me place my stitches where I wanted them.
- Here is the finished English Paper Pieced Mug Rug!
- Another view of the EPP Mug Rug:
- And with a snack:
- Finished English Paper Pieced Mug Rug
- Another view of the EPP mug rug
- Final image for the EPP mug rug
For more information on EPP Basics, see Tips and Tricks for English Paper Piecing for details.
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