June 30, 2019

Book Review: All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

Book review of All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland as featured by floresita on Feeling Stitchy

Today I'd like to feature a wonderful book by Diane Gilleland called All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects. This is a book I purchased myself, and I wanted to share it with you because it is an amazing resource for English paper piecing!

Just so you know, the book link is an Amazon Affiliate link - clicking through the link and buying costs no more for you and is one way to support our volunteer reviews.

Here on Feeling Stitchy, we've been fortunate to receive many books to review over the years. Each one felt like a gift - and I will always be grateful to the authors and publishers who have shared the fruits of their hard work with us. This is not a book we received for review, but it definitely deserves a spotlight, both for the hard work of the author and the absolute gorgeousness of this book. I think it's so gorgeous - I'm giving away 2 copies!

A look at the book

I've seen many craft books over the past 13 years of craft blogging, I think I need to say this is the most beautiful craft book I have ever seen!

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

One of my favorite kinds of craft books is the kind that is full of life-sized images of fabrics and tools and projects - you know, the ones that make you feel like you could reach out and grab anything on the page?

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

The photos in this book are all like that!

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

Everything is so well laid out and explained - there's nothing intimidating or scary about the process - you get the feeling you are crafting with a a really patient, wonderful friend...

And the colors!

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

Everything just sings in this book - you get a sense of Diane's natural eye for color and print and texture.

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

Hexagons, diamonds, jewels, triangles, tumblers, octagons, pentagons, and curved shapes like apple cores and clamshells - this book has sections dedicated to every EPP shape you can think of, with careful explanations of how to baste each and every one...

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

I love how the author also takes the time to explain the basics of color value and the importance of how you lay out your patches...

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

There's an entire section devoted to creating your own EPP patterns, either by hand, or on computer.

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

One area where this book really shines is in all the possibilities it gives you - there are no set projects, per se, but just limitless explorations of everything you can do with EPP - your imagination is the only limit!

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

Everything is explained - even those funny little flags you see hanging off of everyone's points on Instagram - what do you do with those? Diane explains what to do with them!

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

Throughout the book you'll see numerous ideas, photographed so beautifully...

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

And no detail is too small. I really can't think of one question I had about EPP that this book did not answer...

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

About Diane Gilleland

You may remember Diane Gilleland from Crafty Pod, a series of podcasts she did on crafting. I am probably the only craft blogger who never listened to Diane's podcasts - I have no idea what I was doing instead of listening to Diane's podcasts, I wish they were archived so I could enjoy them as so many of you out there did! Sadly for us, Crafty Pod is no longer around, and Diane has moved on to other pursuits - but how wonderful it is that she has inspired so many of us, and has contributed 3 wonderful books, of which All Points Patchwork is one.

After writing on this blog for so long, I am starting to think about the crafty legacy Feeling Stitchy has created, and the crafty legacy I have created individually, too. It's not something I ever get much feedback about, but I'd like to think we've inspired you over the years. I've been thinking of this for awhile now, and maybe that's why I found this interview with Diane Gilleland on Crafty Planner so moving:

In it, she talks about a few of the reasons she stopped pursuing craftiness full-time. I think it is a wonderful discussion for anyone who is thinking of pursuing crafty goals full-time to listen to. One of the major limitations on the success of full-time craft entrepreneurs, I think, is that the traditional handwork of women remains undervalued - not just by others - but also by us! One of the loveliest takeaways I got from this podcast is that we must set the terms for how we want our work, and the handwork of others (male and female) to be valued. We must decide how much time we want to dedicate to our craft, and not take less than what we know our talents are worth.

It's another reason this year, I've set out to review, purchase, and enjoy things I did not get for free. Again, I value the work of the authors and publishers who send us titles to review (I'm featuring one later this month!) but I also think it's valuable to spend my hard-earned cash on the things I enjoy, so I can contribute to their presence and hopefully keep more of their magic in this world.

For the time being, the best I can do is use this space to say thank you to everyone who enriches our community with their talent, creativity and generosity, so thank you, Diane!


I loved All Points Patchwork so much, that I'd like to give away 2 copies! Seriously, if you have ever thought about trying English paper piecing but didn't know where to begin, THIS is the book to buy!

The rules: Please leave a comment on this post by telling us what your favorite EPP shape is (for me, it's a tie between hexagon, pentagon, and tumbler) , and/or what YOU would make with English paper piecing (assuming you had infinite time, energy and skills of course)!

I'll leave comments up through next Monday, July 8, when I'll close them and draw 2 random winners! Everyone can enter!

Edit July 8: We have 2 winners! Will announce soon!

June 27, 2019

Project a Month: English Paper Piecing - Embroidery

So, I wanted to wrap up this month's Project a Month posts with embroidery - as mentioned this month I was stitching along with the wonderful English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug.

The final project in the class involves attaching your completed hexagons to a tea towel, I showed you my completed efforts last week, but this being an embroidery blog, I wanted to take it further and add embroidery!

Incorporating embroidery in EPP

When using hexagon shapes, it is so helpful at this point to have an acrylic or cut out template so you can line up your embroidered motif exactly!

I saw to my delight that the tiny test motifs I stitched earlier this year fit perfectly in my hexagon shape...

Incorporating embroidery in EPP

But I did want to stitch something specifically for my project, so I took out my copy of A Handbook of Lettering for Stitchers by Elsie Svennas - I've mentioned this little book before - it is delightful. Do a Google search to find the free PDF out there before you pay too much money on this out of print book!

Incorporating embroidery in EPP

There are some lovely pages at the back with letters in so many imaginative shapes for monograms - I found a tiny buttonhole stitch "S" that fascinated me...

I used my acrylic template to make sure it fit well within the borders, and stitched it up:

Incorporating embroidery in EPP

This is just one simple way to incorporate embroidery in hexagonal shapes - there are so many other imaginative ways to do so, as I've been highlighting this month in the embroidery of Emma Jones, the Jam a Month Stitch Club by Mollie Johanson, and so many others!

I hope this month's Project a Month has inspired you to try English Paper Piecing as a way to broaden your stitching horizons! As mentioned before, I highly recommend the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug, but there are numerous wonderful resources out there!

Additional classes on EPP

I am also enjoying 2 classes by Helen Stubbings on Bluprint: Quick and Easy English Paper Piecing and English Paper Piecing: Beyond the Basics. One thing I enjoy about Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) is that they include paper patterns and go into more depth.

That said, I currently have monthly subscriptions to both Creativebug AND Bluprint, and I'm enjoying going back and forth between them both! Again, when you're paying less than a Netflix, Amazon or Hulu subscription, it's hard to argue with the convenience of having inspiring content that keeps you creating!

I have 1 more inspiring resource on EPP to share with you before I close out the month, so stay tuned for that!

June 26, 2019

Wonderful Wednesday #76: Wild Olive Stitch Club

While doing some research on incorporating embroidery in English Paper Piecing, I found the perfect way to bring both together - Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive is doing a FREE Jam a Month Stitch Club this year using EPP!

Download the patterns

Mollie has already made the first 6 patterns available on her blog:
January: Orange Marmalade
February: Cherry Preserves
March: Raspberry Jam
April: Grapefruit Jam
May: Blueberry Jelly
June: Pineapple Marmalade

You can try your hand at embroidery and EPP using these patterns or there is also an option for cross-stitch too!

Mollie's Jam of the Month Quilt

This weekend I carefully cut out all the EPP shapes Mollie provided for the mini EPP quilt, so I could try to visualize the size and how it fits together:

Using Mollie's EPP quilt pattern

Ok, I am almost convinced that I should try to make this mini quilt... but I admit I'm intimidated because I've never made a quilt before! But a small one does seem like a good way to start...

Fun with Half Hexagons

In the meantime, I started playing with half hexagons in a nice orange, to match my cute jam embroidery:
Half hexagons and embroidery

When you cut hexagons in half, there are so many possibilities for framing a central hexagon! The arrangement above is one way...

Here is another:
half hexagons and embroidery

And here is yet another possibility!

half hexagons and embroidery

Please note my edges don't exactly match up because I forgot to include the seam allowance in my half hexagons - if you cut your half hexagons properly, they should line up perfectly!

If Only Quilting Was Taught in School

I admit I had a hard time in geometry (they always said in school that you would either be good at geometry OR algebra but not both) algebra was a bit more my thing as it was more like writing sentences and learning a language.

As much as I love shapes and color, drawing them out in geometry and the very dry way they were discussed bored me to death. But sliding these colorful shapes around taught me more about angles and shapes than I ever learned as a child. Maybe basic quilting would be a good subject for school, as it teaches you so much more than how to make a blanket!

Ok, so I've really traveled far afield in this post - suffice it to say EPP has changed my perspective on quilting and handmade items, and I thoroughly recommend it!

If you're looking for an easy, free way to start with English paper piecing, Mollie's Jam a Month Stitch Club is perfect!

June 19, 2019

Wonderful Wednesday #75: Emma Jones

Here's a bit of embroidered English Paper Piecing, courtesy of Emma Jones or Vintage Sewing Box, as she is known on her blog and on Instagram @vintagesewingbox. Isn't her work gorgeous? I love the floral fabrics and lovely colors she chooses for her EPP projects.

I love that Emma makes use of every scrap of her fabric, no matter how small... like this teeny, tiny hexy pincushion!!!

Another day, another scrappy hexagon project! Today I’m joining Larisa @stitchingnotes and Lauren @mollyandmama for the weekly #sipteaandepp party. Last week was one of my favourite topics, embroidery and epp, and this week is another of my favourite topics, hexies! I have a lot of hexie projects on the go at the moment. This one is my smallest yet, quarter inch hexies, and it’s going to be a tiny pincushion to take out and about for epp projects. I love how it’s even possible to fussy cut tiny hexies, swipe to see. I join my hexies by using a whip stitch, I haven’t tried any other techniques so I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s tips today. Have you tried quarter inch hexies? #englishpaperpiecing #epp #eppaddict #hexies #hexielove #sewmuchfun #handstitched #tinystitches #slowstitching #quiltersofinstagram #patchwork #tinyfloralsanonymous #creativehappylife #createeveryday #makersgonnamake #aurifil #tinyhexies #scrappyproject #iquilt
A post shared by Emma Jones (@vintagesewingbox) on

Swipe to see just one of the teeny tiny hexagons sitting on her fingertip!

When your trainers match your quilt... I think my Liberty obsession is going too far... I’m joining @stitchingnotes and @mollyandmama this morning for #sipteaandepp and I’m working on my large hexagon Liberty quilt and thinking about how I’m going to join the flowers. I’m using 1 and a half inch hexagons and I love how fast it is growing. This week’s topic is storage. I don’t have any fancy storage systems for epp, I typically use a little box to carry everything in or this lovely case that Heidi @bessaboostudio made for me which is perfect for taking everywhere I go and it makes me so happy. Looking forward to seeing everyone else’s projects and storage. Have a great day everyone #epp #eppeverywhere #quiltersofinstagram #hexies #hexielove #libertylove #golaclassics #patchwork #hexagonquilt #slowstitching #createeveryday #sewmuchfun #sewingastherapy #grandmothersflowergardenquilt
A post shared by Emma Jones (@vintagesewingbox) on

There is so much lovely visual inspiration to be found in Emma's Instagram! On her blog, Emma quite generously shares free EPP templates, tutorials, and inspiration.

Be sure to follow Emma @vintagesewingbox and visit her site:

June 14, 2019

Project a Month: English Paper Piecing with Liza Lucy - Attaching Your Applique

Hi all! For this month's Project a Month, I am stitching along with the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug.

English Paper Piecing

When I left you last week, I had hand-sewn my hexagon flowers together, and was ready to attach them to a tea towel -

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Honestly, I'd been itching to hand sew appliques for awhile now.

I've always been terrified of needle-turn applique, so what reassured me about English paper piecing is that your corners are already neatly tucked under.

I took out my extra-fine thread and thinnest needle, and got started. You can just barely see my teeny stitches here:

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

That's the magic of this applique method - if you choose a thread color close to your fabric, use tiny stitches, just under the edge, they will be virtually invisible on both sides!

Again, I recommend Liza Lucy's explanation of this method in this Creativebug class - I don't know about you, but I have to see someone doing something before it really clicks. Her explanation was thorough and helped me understand where to put my needle. All the photos and illustrations in the world don't help me as much as a clear video can!

And here is my finished applique towel!

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Left unsecured in the center, the fabric tends to kind of flow and look a bit rumpled:

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

In a close-up photo like this, you might think it's more noticeable than it actually is. In real life, I barely notice it at all - so I think it all boils down to personal preference. Hand-sewing each edge down is a time-consuming, slow craft, but I enjoy the soft vintage look and feel of it!

Another way to applique

I had just bought some Pellon paper-backed interfacing, and I was curious to try attaching my appliques this way...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

I traced my hexagon on the paper side...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Gave the applique a quick press, removed the papers, and pressed it again to keep the edges extra neat...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Cut out the Pellon...
2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Ironed it down, peeled off the paper backing...
2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Then I ironed the applique onto the towel, and voila! My new tea towel!

applique tea towel

I like how crisp the edges look and how nice and flat the entire applique is. This is definitely a more photogenic piece...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

On the left, hand-sewn applique secured only on the edges; on the right, applique secured with paper-backed fusible interfacing.

More Hexagon Projects

Hexagon placemats

When I realized how FAST and easy attaching my appliques with Pellon was, I went a bit nuts with it. :)

one more hexagon towel

I spent a whole afternoon appliquing anything that would sit still long enough! Ok, maybe I didn't go THAT crazy. But I did end up with matching placemats and another tea towel, seen above. I loved adding more than one big hexagon flower, and the bold graphic look it has.

It was in this full-tilt applique madness that I discovered that some fabrics did not take to the applique as well - my tea towels have a weave to them, so that might be part of the problem, but the edges did begin to lift and separate.

So all in all, I think the best option for items you will throw in the wash frequently is to secure with paper-backed interfacing AND hand-stitched edges. If you aren't going to wash your items, just paper-backed interfacing is probably fine.

Which Applique Method is Better?

I think both methods have their pros and cons and it all boils down to personal taste.

Hand-sewn Applique
Stitching is virtually invisible
Finished applique is soft and moves more like fabric

Time consuming (could be a pro if you like slow-stitching)
Fabric rumples a bit (could be a pro if you like this more vintage look)

Paper-backed Interfacing Applique

Very fast!
Finished applique lays very flat and sharp corners are preserved.

Fabric has a stiffer feel and look
Edges must be very neat before ironing as they will show through if they are bulky
Certain fabrics don't take perfectly, and parts of your applique may start to lift

What do you think?

Have you tried either method of applique? Which do you think looks better? Which do you prefer to stitch?

Next week: Embroidery!

Next week, I'll take you through my experiments in adding embroidery to my hexagon projects!

June 12, 2019

Wonderful Wednesday #74: Mollie Johanson

Wonderful Wednesday 74 - Mollie Johanson EPP Ties pattern as featured by floresita on Feeling Stitchy

I hope you were inspired by my Project a Month post last week on English Paper Piecing!

Maybe you'd like to try your hand at EPP, but don't want to dive too deep just yet - well, this lovely FREE Father's Day card tutorial by Mollie Johanson is perfect for you! I just adore this bow tie - and it has me remembering with fondness my dad's epic collection of ties. Sadly I didn't keep any, but the memory of them lingers on. :)

Isn't it funny how once you start doing something, you begin to notice it everywhere? That's how it is with English Paper Piecing and hexagons lately - I see them everywhere! This is an older tutorial by Mollie, but super cute and super quick to make just in time for Father's Day!

June 7, 2019

Project a Month: English Paper Piecing - Liza Lucy on Creativebug

Project a Month 7 - English Paper Piecing a Creativebug class with Liza Lucy as featured by floresita on Feeling Stitchy

Here's something I thought I'd never try - hand-sewing and paper piecing- but after following along with the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug, I finally felt confident enough to give it a try!

About Creativebug

This is not a sponsored post - I've had a monthly subscription to Creativebug since January - and I highly recommend it if you are looking to jumpstart your creativity. Cheaper than Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu, cheaper still than individual crafting books and kits, and time very well spent, in my opinion.

If you have any doubts about a monthly subscription to Creativebug, do look around first and be sure that there are classes that pique your curiosity - Creativebug is light on hand embroidery, but I am enjoying supplementing my creative skills in general, as with this English Paper Piecing class.

My final project will include not just paper piecing and hand-sewing, but also of course, some embroidery!

My Materials

English paper piecing

My materials for this project (a few pictured above):
scrap paper (for piecing)
hexagon template
rotary cutter
self-healing cutting mat
thrifted men's shirts

This spread in a book called Patchcraft by Elsie Svennas was what first inspired me:
Patchcraft by Elsie Svennas

I got the general idea, but wasn't sure about the little details...

Enter the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug -  her class is so clear, so detailed, so easy to understand. I am sure you can find many online tutorials and resources out there, but I think what sets this class apart is the quality of the content and Liza Lucy's eye for color and detail.

What is Paper Piecing?

Some of you may be wondering (as I always was) what the heck is paper piecing? Just hearing the word gave me jitters, and I'd skip over anything that required this skill because I was so intimidated by quilting in general.

But it's really so easy!

Paper piecing just means using pieces of paper cut to a specific shape to serve as a template to wrap your fabric around and keep it in place while sewing it together. It helps keep your edges sharp and neat and keep your fabric from going all wonky. You tack your fabric around the paper piece using either temporary glue or basting stitches. The last step is removing the papers and basting stitches, just before your item is finished.

My project

Project a Month June

I started by cutting into my 7 thrifted men's shirts - cutting the hexagons with my template and rotary cutter was time-consuming but fun, and I had a good time moving all the pieces around like a little puzzle.

English paper piecing

Then, using scrap paper cut to the size of my template I folded the fabric over the edges of my paper and hand-basted them using long, quick stitches...

English paper piecing

DON'T do what I did here and DO use a heavy thread in a contrasting color - use the cheapo stuff in the wacky colors you never use, since it's all going to come off, anyway. I only had white with me, so I used white, which is a bit hard to see.

English paper piecing

I was three hexagons in, and totally itching to do more! I loved the look of all the contrasting stripes and checks together.

By the next morning:
English paper piecing

I was 35 hexagons in and I was utterly hooked! I'd spent the whole night basting these little hexagons, and only stopped when I was too exhausted to lift my needle. I had so much fun moving the shapes around and experimenting with the flower shape.

Once your hexagons are basted, the next step is to sew them together!
English paper piecing

English Paper Piecing

The paper provides a firm foundation, keeping your shapes crisp and neat as you sew. Don't take them out until you are absolutely finished!

English paper piecing

Here's the thread I'm using, if you're curious - it is extra fine. I used the thinnest needle I had, from a lovely vintage stash I bought recently.

English paper piecing

And here is a completed flower!

English paper piecing

And another!

A word on imperfection

On Instagram, some people commented on the neatness of my stitching - but don't let these pictures fool you - they are far from perfect. I really like that Liza Lucy talks about this in her class and gives you a bit of confidence that even when your shapes don't match up exactly, it's not the end of the world, and you can probably get them to line up just fine when you sew them together.

My scrap paper hexagons were not exact and my edges were wonky, but I still got some nice flowers out of them, so beginners don't freak out if your edges don't completely match. My more advanced stitchers know that the crucial thing to getting pieces to match up are templates of the exact same size - there are store bought pieces if this is very important to you.

What I love about these hexagon shapes is that the possibilities are endless - I'm just using fabric scraps - but imagine what you can do, in your favorite colors and textures! I love the idea of re-purposing something old and making it new again, which is why I'm using scraps, but how many of you have a huge fabric stash waiting to be used? This is the technique to try if you've always wanted to try patchwork or applique!

Stitch along with me!

Again, I am stitching along with the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug, this class is well worth your time if you'd like to learn this method. Next week I'll show you what I did with my hexagons!

Have any of you tried English paper piecing? What are your likes and dislikes? Do you have any suggestions or questions? Leave a comment for us!