English Paper Piecing History

English Paper Piecing is the traditional, time honoured technique of quilt-making by hand using paper templates, thought to date back to England in the 1700's. Sometimes known as 'mosaic patchwork', hexagon quilts usually spring to mind, largely because It's the most popular and predominantly used shape throughout the history of the craft. The hexagon pattern originated in England during the 1700's and became a popular design in both Europe and the U.S. during the last quarter of the 18th century - when all thing's English became highly fashionable. This is one thought on how the name 'English' Paper Piecing was coined. The most recognisable of all EPP patterns; the Grandmother's Flower Garden rose to popularity in the 1920s and 1930's most likely because it can be made easily with scraps, which was so important during the Depression of that time. You can often still find antique quilts with the paper templates intact, which were recycled from books and documents. 


Today English Paper Piecing, (commonly known as EPP) has taken the quilting world by storm once again. A wealth of inspiration from online sources such as Pinterest and Instagram have introduced new audiences to the craft with idea sharing, quilt-a-longs and community groups. English Paper Piecing books and pre-made kits and patterns for beginners have brought the age-old technique up to date along with modern, time-saving additions such as the Sewline glue pen - this eliminates the process of basting the fabric over a paper templates using a needle and thread. Precision die-cut paper piecing templates are now readily available to save the maker hours of time drawing and cutting out homemade templates from paper. Design possibilities are endless using a variety of shapes to create unique quilts and projects.