An archive of sewing tutorials and inspiration


Block Lesson #4 // Skill Builder BOM

This post is part of a series of posts for the Skill Builder BOM (Block of the Month). To learn more about the block of the month or to see a list of all posts click here.

English Paper Piecing

April Skill Builder BOM Technique

This month we will be making our blocks using the classic hand piecing technique of English Paper Piecing. If you have never hand pieced before, I strongly encourage you to give it a try at least once! It can be a very relaxing process. I enjoy it because it allows me to get out of my sewing room and spend time with my family while still sewing. Hand piecing can be taken with you in the car, to the park, or even the beach! Though I know some of you may have trouble with hand work, I myself have fibromyalgia so after time my hands will end up in a ton of pain. With that in mind I have tried to come up with a machine piecing alternative for you as well.

English Paper Piecing with Appliqué Foundation

The classic method used to english paper piece is often the use of a cardstock paper template. The paper template is thread basted to a piece of fabric, then the pieces are stitched together. Once complete the basting stitches are cut and the paper is torn out.

For this tutorial I will be teaching a slightly alternative method.  We will be using an appliqué foundation for our templates. The pre-cut kits include the templates pre-cut out of the appliqué foundation and can be purchased at Purple Daisies, LLC. If you have not ordered the kits you can try to look for a foundation or interfacing from your local shops that is made to stay in and wash away. Then cut the included templates from the foundation.

What is unique about the appliqué foundation is that it can stay in your pieces forever. If you take a little water and dab it on the foundation you will see that the fibers break down. When washed in a quilt the fibers in the foundation just blend into the quilt. There is no bunching, and it doesn’t affect your quilt at all.

Since this is a sew-in product, we will be basting the pieces with a washable glue stick as opposed to thread basting. Elmer’s Washable School Glue is a starch product (you know how I love starch). It is an absolute staple in my sewing room. It will never harm your fabric and washes right out. I use glue for my bindings, zippers, piecing tough points, etc. The key to using the glue is to ALWAYS heat set the glue with a hot dry iron before moving forward.

In this lesson I have included four video’s. Glue Basting, Hand Piecing, Machine Piecing, and Hand Stitching the Diamond Carat to the BG fabric. You can watch all 4 videos below. The techniques that are used in the Glue Basting, Hand Piecing, and Machine Piecing videos were done on the Chev N’ Hex block but apply to the Diamond Carat Block as well. Please refer to the Block Lesson #4 PDF download for further instructions.

Block Lesson Video Tutorials (click here if viewing in email)

Download Block Lesson #4

Download Block Lesson #4 by clicking on the PDF button below. If you have any questions about the blocks, or see any errors, please stop by the flickr group or email me.

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Alyssa Williams

Alyssa Williams

Creator of Pile O' Fabric

Alyssa Lichner is a graphic designer turned avid sewist. She writes modern quilting tutorials and shares techniques and inspiration on her blog, Pile O’ Fabric. Alyssa has a passion for exploring different techniques and applying them to modern designs. She is thankful to have the opportunity to share these techniques, through her tutorials, patterns, and classes with quilters around the world. She always encourages her readers and students to challenge themselves to try new things and to approach quilting with a fearless attitude.