English Paper Piecing Mastery: Morris Masterclass Series Unveiled | Morris & Sons Australia

Learn English Paper Piecing in Five Steps

How to English Paper Piecing

How to English Paper Piece: A Step-by-Step Guide

English Paper Piecing is one of the oldest forms of patchwork. It is a lovely way to create a patchwork pattern by hand and makes a perfect on the go project. For this style of patchwork, paper templates are used to stabilise and shape the pieces of fabric and are then joined together.

It works well for intricate designs with lots of corners and short edges to join and is most commonly uses in the creation of hexagon quilts. 

Step One: Choose Your Shapes and Create Templates

Decide on the shapes you are going to use in your design, they all need to tessellate (fit together with no gaps). This can be the very traditional design of hexagons but there really are endless possibilities.

Once you have your shape(s) you then need to create the paper template. There are actual patchwork templates you can draw around but it is just as easy to make your own.

These then need to be drawn onto paper and cut out ready to use. Paper choice for your pieces is personal choice, standard printer paper works well but equally so does junk mail! The paper just needs to be firm enough to fold fabric around and will be removed when you finish. Each piece will need its own template. 

To give you a head start we have created a PDF with a choice of 2 sizes of hexagons that you can print and cut out. Click here to download the PDF.

Step Two: Prepare Your Fabric Pieces

Once you have all your paper pieces, its on to the fabric. Patchwork fabric is the best to use for this but again you can get your recycling head on and use old shirts or any other non-stretchy lightweight fabric.


Place your paper piece on the fabric and cut around approximately 1/4 inch (1/2-3/4 cm) away from the edge of the paper.

Carefully fold the fabric around the paper and tack (big stitches) the edges down to give you a neat, tight shape with crisp edges.

Step Three: Repeat for All Shapes

Repeat the process for all your chosen shapes, preparing each fabric piece with its own paper template.

When it comes to joining all these pieces together. Place 2 shapes right sides (neat, smooth fabric side) and line up the edge to join. Using a neutral or matching thread colour (as it can show) sew the 2 edges together.

Whip stitch or ladder stitch work well for this. you want to keep your stitches small, even and as close to the edge as possible. Repeat this for each edge to create your design. 

Once all the pieces are joined, remove the tacking stitches holding the fabric to the paper and take out all the paper templates. Your finished patchwork fabric is now ready to be transformed into a beautiful patchwork quilt or cushion.

Enjoy the satisfaction of creating a handmade masterpiece through the art of English Paper Piecing!

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