English Paper Piecing While Watching Downton Abbey

Back in September my mother and I took a trek to Las Vegas for the Riley Blake Fabric Fest! It was a great retreat and if they offer it again I would go in a heartbeat.

One of the classes I took was a  Fussy Cutting English Paper Piecing (EPP) technique with Sue Daley (you can find a great video of her EPP technique on the Riley Blake blog here).

She uses a glue stick, this fun little mirror and a rolly mat. the only thing you really need for her technique is the glue stick to begin with, the rest you can get later if you get hooked like me.

In class we were to learn how to make this cute little wall hanging that had three stars and by my Christmas trip to North Carolina I was about this far

I totally got into it over my break (it didn’t hurt that just about everyone in the house got very ill except me and one of my nephews so I needed something to do). On the trip home my tray table looked like this:


I love how the drink holder fits little star pieces perfectly. The guy sitting next to me (not my husband the other one) was rather confused, try as I might to explain what I was doing.

Now that I’ve gotten home the wall hanging has turned into a table runner


of course dear Apollo is a little too interested. I think it might be the papers inside that make him want to hall off whole sections and naw on them. Sigh.

…and now that Downton Abbey is back on it seems only fitting to work on my English Paper Piecing while watching (reminiscent of putting on my mouse ears to watch the Mickey Mouse Club).

You might be interested to see the original fabric that the stars come from


and it turns into this once it is radically fussy cut


Crazy eh?

About animatedlibrarian

I am the Online Services and Instruction Librarian at San Diego Mesa College, I have a doctorate in Education Technology from Pepperdine University. When not quilty/sewing I like to do Muay Thai kickboxing :-)
This entry was posted in English Paper Piecing, Little Sewing Projects, Work-in-Progress and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to English Paper Piecing While Watching Downton Abbey

  1. Beautiful! Magic how new patterns emerge with your clever cutting. Keep stitching: it’s beautiful! JJ

    • animatedlibrarian says:

      Thank you so much. I began with symmetrical designs in the stars but I have started using asymmetry to get more variation and I am really liking the outcome. I think I am really getting hooked on EPP. Who would have known?!

  2. Pamela says:

    I love this! I want to try it too.

    • animatedlibrarian says:

      Sue Daley makes it really easy and fun. This is my first EPP attempt and I couldn’t be more pleased. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Not crazy at all! I love all the fussy variations you were able to get from this one fabric. I really need to buy some better “fussable” fabrics since I’ll be starting a Patchwork of the Crosses pretty soon. Oh and I just started watching Downton but I’m only on Season 1. Season 2 just came in at the library so I can see another couch potato/EPP weekend coming up 🙂

    Good Luck on the Hexie Linky Party (HeLP) giveaway and please stop by for the next party on the 17th of each month – looking forward to your progress!

    • animatedlibrarian says:

      I have to admit I just had to look up Patchwork of the Crosses, wow that looks fun…in an insane “what are we thinking?” kind of way.

      I just watched some of season 3 of Downton Abbey over again with my mom (I’m off and running on season 4 now that we get that channel). I forgot how far the story has gone. Don’t let anyone spoil the fun, there are many twists!

      Thanks for the comment. I put the 17th on my calendar for the next linky, we’ll see how far I get 🙂

  4. mrsbrooke says:

    Totally crazy, and I love it! Thanks for sharing, I hadn’t thought about this idea ever…now I need to rummage through the stash for a print with which to experiment.

    • animatedlibrarian says:

      I’m glad to help spread the crazy! This fussy cutting is really very satisfying.

      Have fun and thanks for the comment.

  5. Tracey says:

    Seeing your project has pushed me over the edge…I must try a fussy cutting EPP now. :o) Your stars are georgeous! What is the name of the red and white fabric?


    • animatedlibrarian says:

      Wow what a compliment. Thank you, it is great to inspire!

      The red fabric is called “Remember Me” by Riley Blake. I am not sure they make it anymore but it is out there for purchase on Etsy.

      FYI, for fussy cutting I really like using a clear template to zoom around the fabric you can get them at http://www.paperpieces.com. Sue Daley taught us that once you find that perfect piece you should stick the template to the fabric with double sided tape so you can cut the other star points perfectly by matching the pattern. It works like a champ.

      I hope that helps

      • Tracey says:

        Thanks! I’m amazed at the variation you were able to get with that one fabric. And I’m a big Riley Blake fan. I’ve done EPP, but never tried fussy cutting. I watched the video tutorial you linked to. I like her methods. I’m going to have to order the clear templates. What size diamonds are you using? Thanks so much for all the information!!

      • animatedlibrarian says:

        I used the 1 1/4″ 6 point diamond. You can find it here http://www.paperpieces.com/contents/en-us/d1_02.html on the paper pieces site along with the acrylic template.
        I am so glad you are interested it really is a very satisfying project…so far 🙂

  6. Tracey says:

    I hate to be a bother, but I have one more question. What is the cut of fabric in your picture? I’ve checked etsy and I’m wondering how much I will need to make a table runner similar to yours? You’re right. There’s not much of this fabric left out there.

    • animatedlibrarian says:

      The one that Sue gave us in class for the 3 stars was an eighth I believe. I was able to get a quite a bit more out of it…as you can see. My table runner will have about 14 stars and I really think a 1/2 yard could do it. I do have a relatively long dining room table. Although you may want to use that fabric as binding too in which case you would need more…I haven’t decided. I bought an extra yard I believe, but I am all about over kill with fabric. As if I need more stash, ha!

  7. Helen Beall says:

    Your fabric has so much potential for fussy cutting. I never would have believed it!

    • animatedlibrarian says:

      I know it’s crazy. It really helped when I started thinking of the stars with an asymmetrical pattern as well as symmetrical which is what we were taught in class. Also I took my template and turned it 90 degrees which helped me see new possibilities.

      Thanks for the comment. Happy Piecing!

  8. Allison says:

    I am in total awe! I really want to do this too! I love the way you fussy cut the print and how amazing it looks. I would never have guessed it was your first attempt at EPP! I am excited to continue to watch your progress and holding myself back from starting something new 🙂 BTW – my dog chewed up one of my hexagon flowers last week 🙂 Keep your eyes on Apollo! 🙂

    • animatedlibrarian says:

      Thanks for the kind words I am having a lot of fun with this project. There will be about 14 stars in all and I have managed to make them all different! Everyone has been so nice with their comments I am blown away 🙂

      It’s good to know Apollo is not the only little one that absconds with the EPP pieces. No more design floor for this project, time to elevate!

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