I love English Paper Piecing, but I don’t have time to make lots of giant projects that use tons of hexagons. Instead, I like to make segments of EPP, and then applique them onto things – bags, pillows, and even quilt tops! Thermoweb’s HeatnBond® Hem Tape is a great way to fuse hexagons onto items before stitching them down. I created this fun quilt top I call “Making Tracks” using the new “Wildwood” line from Dear Stella. I want to show you how easy it is to applique the hexagons onto the quilt top with Thermoweb Hem Tape.
Sections of EPP with the papers removed, and the seam allowance pressed in place
Thermoweb HeatnBond® Hem Tape
Thermoweb Pressing Sheet
Fabric or item to applique to
Cut sections of the HeatnBond® hem tape slightly shorter than the sides of your hexagons, and place on the seams of your paper pieced segment, with the right side DOWN.
Cut the HeatnBond® hem tape in half lengthwise, and trim into sections to put on the outer seam allowances. Don’t overlap the hem tape if you can help it.
Put the Thermoweb pressing sheet on top, and press for several seconds until fused. Allow to cool.
Carefully peel back the pressing sheet once the adhesive has cooled.
Place the EPP segment on the item you want to applique it to, right side up (with the fusible facing the item it needs to be fused to). Iron in place. You might want to put a press cloth on top. A press cloth is a fancy term for a dish towel or scrap of fabric put between the item and the iron to protect the item from pressing. The press cloth will prevent the seam allowances from being as visible from the front.
Now applique the piece in place using whatever stitches you like – you can hand stitch, use a buttonhole stitch, or (my favorite) stitch it in place as you quilt! Here is my “Making Tracks” quilt top all ready for quilting…
A question I get often is why add the fusible just to the seam allowances? Why not use a big piece of HeatNBond® across the back of the English Paper piecing?
That is a great question! If you look at the back of your EPP, it has lots of layers. The middle has a single layer, The seam allowances have 2 layers. The corners have 4 or more layers where the fabric is folded. These different heights won’t fuse to the backing fabric smoothly if you try to fuse them all with one piece of fusible. You’ll get lots of lumps, and your seam allowances will push forward and be very visible (and unattractive) from the front. Also, it can make your finished project very stiff to use lots of fusible. Using less fusible keeps your project flexible, and keeps those layers from making your quilt look bulky!
If you don’t have ThemoWeb hem tape, you can cut thin strips of HeatnBond® Lite. It is more work, but those will work just as well!