The Patchwork Diaries

The Patchwork Diaries

We go on a patchwork adventure with our columnist Aine Foley of Lismore Quilt Co.

What extremes of weather we’re having. Not so long ago we were all snowed in with Storm Emma and the Beast from the East. Now we’re basking in glorious sunshine with soaring temperatures.

One sewing project that has seen me through all of these weather events has been English Paper Piecing (EPP). This is one of the oldest hand sewing techniques for making patchwork. In EPP, you hand tack your fabric to a paper or card shape and then hand sew the shapes together using a whip stitch or a running stitch (I use a running stitch as I feel the stitches are less likely to show).

Common shapes that are used include hexagons, diamonds, that when sewn together, make a star, or a tumbling block.

Fabric placement is important to get the 3-D effect in the tumbling block – light on top, medium to the left and dark to the right. You need to sew the blocks consistently in this order to get the overall effect when the blocks are sewn together.

This is a great project to bring with you on the go. All you need is a needle, thread and a small scissors. Pop them all in a zip-lock bag along with your paper shapes and fabric and off you go!

I spent most of Storm Emma stitching the pieces together by the fire and now I am putting the blocks together to make a wall hanging, while sitting in the shade of my umbrella in the garden …. happy days and happy sewing!


Aine Foley has been quilting for more than 20 years. She has completed the City and Guilds Certificate in Patchwork and Design, and in 2013 she established the Lismore Quilt Co. She runs a range of quilting and patchwork classes for all levels from her purpose-built studio, where you will also find everything you need – fabrics, wadding and notions – to complete your quilts. She has a particular interest in quilt history and finds her inspiration in antique quilts.