Basics: EPP Tools, Tips and Techniques


This page is a work in progress. I shall be updating it as time goes by:

Your EPP Box of Tricks

On this page I will be listing equipment used by English Paper Piecers. However, I will also include other useful tools and equipment suggested for  quilting, appliqueing, embroidering and any other way of creating and embellishing EPP projects.


Your Basic EPP Toolbox will consist of many of the following: IMG_6608

  • Needles, thread, needle threader, thimble and seam ripper
  • Pins  and a pin cushion
  • Quilting rulers, cutting mat and  rotary cutter
  • Fabric, paper and applique scissors, fabric clips and fabric pens
  • freezer paper, paper, card templates and/or plastic templates, glue stick
  • Iron and ironing board ( or mini iron and portable board)
  • Low tack painter’s masking tape and lint roller



A little box of 2″ basted squares


Needles best for EPP

Needles seem to be about personal preference and when you are just starting out there is nothing wrong with using a regular hand sewing needle. I have heard good things about Sajou hand sewing needles. My favourite is a Milliners needle, a long needle with a round eye because I find them easier to thread (I hate using needle threaders). They are good for hand sewing and basting as they don’t damage the fabric. They can also be used for embroidery and needle turn applique. Other people love to use short, fine needles such as a No 9 Gold Eye Quilting needle by Clover. Sizes 8 or 9 are the most popular. Some people use a size 10.

Clover black gold needles are recommended as are Clover gold eye Miliners needles, but they are larger.

A needle should be the right size for it to pass through fabric with minimum abrasion but not so large that the needle leaves a noticeable hole around the thread.

The higher the number the smaller the needle. They come is sizes 1-12.

I have heard that Sajou hand sewing needles are good.

Between Needles – These are best for quilting your finished EPP project – very short, fine needles with a round eye. Their diameter is the same as a sharps needle but they are shorter in length to allow quick and even stitching. Sizes range from 5-12 but size 7 or 8 are best for a beginner. It is possible to get a Big Eye quilting needle in a size 10.

Thread for EPP

50 weight Aurifil thread is good for piecing and a favourite among a lot of EPP stitchers. Most stitches done in EPP are very slightly visible so choose a colour to blend in with your fabric background. There are people who want the stitches to show and choose a completely different colour to make it obvious that the project is hand stitched.

Superior Thread’s Bottom Line is also a favourite with some people but I have heard that the 60 weight, though strong, has a tendency to twist.

I have also heard Mettler thread recommended.

My favourite for appliqued items is Gutermann’s silk thread which is strong enough, not too fine and is available in a wide variety of colours.

Some EPP stitchers feel that polycotton threads are a good choice as they don’t shred or break in the same way as cotton. However, I have been warned that when you wash your quilt the cotton fabric will shrink, but the polycotton thread does not and can pull at the fabric in an unsightly way. If anyone has found this to be the case I’d love to hear what they have to say. If you are making a wall quilt that you don’t plan to wash then you can use whatever thread you like. Apparently Polycotton is preferred by a lot of people because the threads do not shred or break. I only use cotton so I can’t say.




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