How to sew hexagons with English Paper Piecing

Welcome to the wonderful world of hand-sewing patchwork! 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!

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Hexagon quilting templates with fabric squares

Our Technical Editor Sarah’s here to talk you through the basics of English paper piecing! Scroll down for her step-by-step guide.

Start with our free English Paper Piecing templates

Way back in issue 56 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine we featured a nifty English Paper Piecing kit, filled with mini paper hexagon templates for sewing the sweetest of hexie patchwork effects. These paper templates were the perfect size for wrapping with your favourite fabric scraps in rainbow shades are sure to add some sunshine to those grey January mornings! If you missed the issue, download a free PDF of these templates below and read on to learn how to use your templates to English Paper Piece hexagon patchwork.

Love Patchwork and Quilting hexagon templates (PDF)

Quilt School: English Paper Piecing Diamonds

EPP isn’t just great for piecing together hexagons, it works a charm with all sorts of geometric shapes. Head to our special Quilt School post on how to paper piece diamonds for this cute coin purse tutorial and tips on piecing other shapes.

English Paper Piecing Diamonds coin purse

You will need

  • Hexagon English Paper Piecing Templates
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  • Binding clips
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  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric scraps
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Step 1

hexagon template with fabric

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.

Step 2

Hexagon quilting template with needle and thread

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).

Step 3

Quilting projects shot in the studio

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.

Step 4

Hexagon quilting template with stitching

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

Step 5

Joining two hexagon quilting templates

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.

Step 6

Three hexagon quilting templates being sewn together

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.

Step 7

Three quilting hexagon templates, one folded

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.

Step 8

Quilting projects shot in the studio

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.

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Two quilting hexie templates

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.