How to Applique and Use English Paper Piecing

Welcome to our page on applique and English paper piecing (EPP)!!  You will find so much valuable information here so be sure to bookmark this page!   

Learn how to applique using various techniques, such as raw edge applique, needle turn applique, and freezer paper applique.  We have great tutorials on English paper piecing with hexagons and other shapes.

Fusible Web Applique Sample

This page also has many applique tutorials showing you how to sew or stick different shapes and patterns onto a larger background piece.  

Applique is usually used as an ornamental decoration, yet we even have tutorials showing how to use applique to patch and repair clothing! 

If you happen to be interested in the origin of the word, applique originates from the Latin applied (I apply) and from the French appliquer (attach). 

Working with hexagons, I searched for the best way to work them into my quilts.  I learned about various methods like needle turn, freezer paper, fabric glue and even glue sticks.

My first attempt was using Heat and Bond (a sticky material used to iron on the pieces) to applique designs, which worked well and was perfect for me as a beginner.

After making a few quilts and mastering the art of applique, I set my eyes on recreating a special quilt that I remember sleeping under as a child at my grandmother’s house.

I remember tracing the outline of each piece, looking to find my favorite fabric, all the while not knowing anything at all about quilts.

I now know that the quilt pattern is called Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  My grandma has long since passed, and I have done all I can to find the quilt so I can reproduce it.

Sample Grandmothers Flower Garden QuiltSample Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt

Of all of the beautiful quilts she had, no one knows where her Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt ended up.

I purchased 30s fabric, (Grandmother’s Flower Garden dates somewhere around 1920-1930s) scoured the internet for various Grandmother’s Flower Garden variations, and researched different ways to sew the hexagons.

After reading all I could, I decided that EEP, paper piecing the hexagons, would be the way to go with my quilt. 

I hand stitched the hexagons together; you will find various hand sewn stitches to use and even how to sew the shapes with a machine in the links below.

English paper piecing is most often a hand sewing technique where you wrap the fabric pieces around a paper template to create a very neat and precise design.

The shapes are then stitched together into a pattern. Once the quilt top is finished, the paper templates are removed.

EPP is great for designs that have many set-in corners, such as hexagons and diamonds. English paper piecing is very portable; I loved having a project that was easy to carry with me, and we all know that hand sewing can be very relaxing and meditative.

For applique and English paper piecing, there are several types of threads I’ve tried.  Silk thread makes my stitches nearly invisible, but I found it a bit expensive.  I also tried thin polyester thread, which is strong and is great to use when you machine applique or EEP. I did not like it for hand sewing.

The thread that I prefer for my hand applique and EPP is most definitely cotton thread. 50wt thread works just fine, but a thinner thread would be perfect! 

With Aurifil’s 80wt cotton thread, this finer thread makes for almost invisible stitching and costs much less than silk threads.

Sample of Fusible Web Applique

The links below will help you to learn the basic techniques and various forms of applique and English paper piecing. We have both written and video tutorials. 

You’ll also find some great patterns to work with!  For even more patterns, check out our free applique pattern page and the free patterns for English paper piecing.

It’s time to get started! Browse the links below!!

How to Applique and Use English Paper Piecing

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10 Tips for Needle-Turn Appliqué

These tips will help you improve your needle-turn appliqué experience and results. All People Quilt

Accuquilt: Go! Cube English Paper Piecing 1" Finished Sides

Accuquilt: Go! Cube English Paper Piecing 1" Finished Sides #ad

Cut out your EPP fabric shapes AND TEMPLATES quickly with an Accuquilt cutter and this Go! Qube. This Qube includes 4 shapes: Hexagon, Half Hexagon, Triangle and Diamond, with dies to cut both the paper templates and fabric for each one. Affiliate Link to Accuquilt

Applique Back-to-Basics

The Critter Pattern Works offer a free beginner's pattern to teach yourself to machine appliqué. Check it out! The Critter Pattern Works

Applique Basics

Learn the basics of applique - hand applique, freezer paper method of applique, reverse applique. Quilter's Cache

Applique Patterns and Instructions

Free applique patterns and along with instructions. Homemade Gifts Made Easy

Applique Patterns Directory

Lots of free applique patterns. Wee Folk Art

Applique Tutorial: Needle-Turn and Freezer Paper

Want to learn hand applique? Read this amazing tutorial on how to do needle-turn appliqué and freezer paper appliqué. Quilt Hub

English Paper Piecing Basics

If this is your first time trying English Paper Piecing, this video might help you see the two main types of stitches you can use; in addition to other basic information. Homemade Emily Jane

English Paper Piecing Hexies

Get quilting! Jumpstart your hexie obsession with this free 1" hexagon template and this English paper piecing tutorial series. Red Handled Scissors

English Paper Piecing How-To

English paper piecing is a hand sewing technique where fabric is wrapped around a paper template to create a precise design. These pieces are then hand-stitched together into a pattern that can be used in quilts, crafts, or decorating any sewing project you like! Wonderfil

English Paper Piecing Introduction

English Paper Piecing Introduction

A two part article - Part 1 Amy shares her thoughts about choosing fabric and supplies. Part 2 goes into more detail about English Paper Piecing sewing techniques. Diary of a Quilter

English Paper Piecing Step-by-Step Tutorial

Learning how to paper piece is easy with this Step by Step English Paper Piecing Tutorial provided by our friends from AQS. Fave Quilts

English Paper Piecing Templates

Learn how to make your own English paper piecing templates with this tutorial. A Few Scraps

English Paper Piecing Tips for Beginners

Do you need some English paper piecing tips? Read these tips before you try your hand at English paper piecing. Geta's Quilting Studio

English Paper Piecing Tutorial

Here is a tutorial if you’re just getting started with English Paper Piecing, as well as a printable project PDF for a lovely table topper. Quilting Daily

English Paper Piecing Tutorial

This video teaches you how to sew English paper pieced motifs for quilts and other projects. You Tube

English Paper Piecing with the Cricut Maker

This tutorial shows how to use a Cricut Maker to cut the fabric and paper templates. In Color Order

Flower Appliqued Tote Bag

Flower Appliqued Tote Bag

Learn how to raw edge applique a tote bag. No-Sewing Needed! This project is simple and a great way to use up scrap fabric. Makes a nice gift bag! Staff

Fox Applique Template

This free fox appliqué design can be added to wearable items, home decor items and more, and it can be stitched on any sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch. Positively Splended

Freezer Paper Applique

Learn the freezer paper method of applique by appliqueing a heart onto a background fabric. Simone Quilts

Freezer Paper Applique Prep

Learn how to use freezer paper to prepare applique shapes. All People Quilt

Freezer Paper Applique Tutorial

A step-by-step tutorial on using the freezer paper technique to hand applique. Patchqork Posse

Fusible Applique Tips and Tricks

Fusible applique is the fastest and easiest method to applique. And with the following tips and tricks in this post, it's even easier! Quilt Fabrication

Fusible Web Applique

Learn how to applique with fusible web. It's an easy beginner sewing project, and it will enable you to embellish and personalize just anything you sew. Apple Green Cottage

Fusible Web Applique Tutorial

How to applique with fusible web. This article demonstrates this method with photos and clear directions. Quilting Hub

How to Machine Applique Accuquilt Dies

How to Machine Applique Accuquilt Dies

Learn how to raw edge machine applique Accuquilt shape die pieces using your sewing machine or an embroidery machine. Associate

How To Machine Applique for Beginners

How To Machine Applique for Beginners

Here you will find beginner tips for sewing appliques. Swoodson Says

How to Prevent Shadowing with Applique

How to Prevent Shadowing with Applique

Appliqueing a light fabric on top of a dark fabric can cause shadowing. Lining the applique fabric with a second fabric to create a bonded fabric is a solution. Learn how here! Associate

Introductions to English Paper Piecing

English Paper Piecing, (often referred to as EPP), is the technique of folding fabric over paper templates and hand sewing these together. Learn the technique. The Sewing Directory

Ladder Stitching Hexagon

A ladder stitch, you can create invisible stitches that will link your English Piecing hexagons or other shapes together. A Few Scraps

Machine  Applique (Raw Edge Applique)

Machine Applique (Raw Edge Applique)

Learn how to use your sewing machine to applique using a fusible web product. This is also known as raw edge applique. This is a quick and easy applique method.

Machine Applique

Amy Sue from My Happy Crazy Life shares her knowledge on machine applique with a step-by-step tutorial. My Happy Crazy Life

Machine Applique

Sewing machine appliqué is fun and easy - guide to material needed, equipment needed, traditional applique, reverse applique and more. New Mexico State University

Machine Applique

Learn how to applique using a Sewing Machine by following these 5 simple beginner techniques to get you started - Straight Edge Applique, Zigzag Applique, Fussy Cut Applique, Decorative Stitch Applique and Reverse Applique. Seasoned Homemaker

Needle Turn Applique

Like so many things in the sewing world, needle-turn appliqué is one of those techniques that seems completely intimidating…until you try it. Check out this tutorial to learn how to needle turn applique. Susy Quilts

Needle Turn Applique for Beginners

Needle turn appliqué is a technique in which you cut a shaped piece of fabric and sew it to a background piece of fabric. DIY Tutorial Ideas

Needle Turn Applique How-To

Needle turn applique seems to be the holy grail of applique techniques. Here is a tutorial on this technique. Elven Garden

Needle Turn Applique Tutorial

This tutorial was written by Stephie Boon, artist and pattern designer. Needle turn applique can be used in quilting and to decorate clothes and accessories. The Sewing Directory

No-Sew Applique

No-Sew Applique

Learn how to cut fabric and make a no-sew applique. Where The Smiles Have Been

No-Sew Fusible Web Applique

No-sew fusible web is a sheet-type adhesive used to bond layers of fabric without sewing. Use no-sew fusible web to make quick appliqués. All People Quilt

Recycling Cards for English Paper Piecing

Don’t bin those greetings cards. Re-purpose them for English paper piecing. Design Matters

Reverse Needle Turn Applique By Hand

Use a trace, baste, snip and stitch technique to reverse needle turn applique. Eye of the Beholder

Starch Method of Applique

A tutorial on using starch to prep applique edges when using the freezer paper method. Fresh Figs

T-Shirt Applique

T-Shirt Applique

Makeover a boring tee in minutes using your favorite fabric or do you have a stain or spot on your favorite t-shirt use this tutorial to upcycle it. DIY Candy

Tips for Machine Applique

Follow these tips for great appliqué and also check out troubleshooting tips. All Peope Quilt

Turn Edge Applique with Freezer Paper

Turn Edge Applique with Freezer Paper #ad

Learn how to prepare the freezer paper template and then various ways to turn the applique edge. Affiliate Link to Connecting Threads

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