When some quilters think of English paper piecing they fondly think of the time spent relaxing in their favourite armchair hand sewing, others… just think of the time spent.

I enjoy hand sewing and always have some next to my armchair, but I hate spending more time on something than I need to. If I can achieve the same result by machine, then I’m happy to let my machine help me. Therefore I will often combine a variety of techniques. I have worked out that even English paper piecing designs can sometimes be partially machine pieced and appliquéd.

My Dresden Plate 1 Design Pack is a good example of an English paper piecing design that can be partially machine pieced and appliquéd. Prepare the templates as for English paper piecing (diagram 1) except the sides and inner ends of template ‘B’, leave these unturned. Machine sew template ‘B’ together to form a circle (diagram 2 & 3). Then hand sew the diamonds (C) around the outside edge using the English paper piecing technique. The centre circle (A) is then machine appliquéd in place using the invisible machine sewn technique (diagram 4).

The finished Dresden Plate blocks can also be machine appliquéd to a background fabric, either to create blocks or onto a whole-cloth quilt top.

So by all means enjoy your hand sewing, but know that there are some time saving techniques that will still give you that hand sewn look but in a fraction of the time. Techniques are specified on the front of each Design Pack, with ‘Time Saver’ alternatives suggested. Detailed instructions are included in every pack.

English Paper Piecing - hand & machine techniques

Dresden Rose Quilt

Designed using templates from the  Dresden Plate 1 Design Pack.

Dresden Rose Quilt - English paper piecing & applique

Copyright © Joanne Lawrence 2013


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