10 Tips for English Paper Piecing
1. Try it out. Before you cut pieces for an entire project, start by cutting and sewing a few hexagons to see if you enjoy the process.
2. Utilize hexagon graph paper and color pencils to help visualize layout options (stars, diamonds, multiple rounds, etc.).
3. Save time with precut templates. Online stores, such as Paper Pieces (paperpieces.com), sell hexagons templates in a variety of sizes.
4. Use a cutting tool to cut hexagons. You also can die-cut or paper punch hexagon templates using manila file folders (do not use color folders which could bleed onto your fabric).
5. Choose fabrics wisely. Usually 100% cotton fabrics work best for paper-piecing projects. Batiks are woven more tightly and the joining stitches often peek through. If you paper-piece batiks, when you join pieces use thread that matches the fabrics.
6. If you're fussy-cutting fabric, make or purchase a plastic template to plan your fabric placement and cut the fabric. (See a video of this process here.)
7. Use a water-soluble glue stick to temporarily adhere fabric to the hexagon templates, instead of thread basting. (See a video of this process here.)
8. Put old thread to use when preparing hexagons. Choose a contrasting color so basting stitches are easy to see. To join hexagons, use silk thread, which "melts" into the fabrics.
9. Use gray or taupe thread when you are joining scrappy hexagons. These colors match most fabrics.
10. Use mini clips, such as Wonder Clips, instead of pins to hold your hexagons together while sewing.