patchwork star with title "adapting English paper piecing to pojagi seams".

Adapting English Paper Piecing Patterns to Pojagi Seams

English paper piecing is a great quilting technique. Because of the hand stitching, the piecing is precise and everything always matches up. It is also portable. You can easily take it along to stitch while waiting at the dentist or at a hockey game or piano lesson.

When English paper piecing is crossed with pojagi, you get a fun kind of fusion patchwork. The seam itself is actually quite similar.

In this tutorial, I am using the Temperature Quilt Pattern from Fiona Sandwich. It is a great pattern and available online. However, you can use this same technique with any paper piecing pattern.

Follow along with my 2020 Temperature Quilt progress here.

This is the lined method of pojagi, not the reversible seam. It would be extremely difficult to adapt a paper piecing pattern to reversible seams.

Prepare the Pieces

NOTE: This is the traditional pojagi way to prepare the pieces which is template based. It doesn’t involve paper. You can still stitch the seam with the pojagi method if you paper baste your pieces in the regular EPP method of your choice. In this case, scroll down to stitching instructions.

Make templates

cutting out English paper piecing pattern.

Print the pattern pieces and cut them out. Transfer them to lightweight cardboard – an old cereal or cracker box is ideal.

transferring templates to cardboard.

Cut them out carefully and check that they fit together properly. Be sure to mark each piece to you can keep track of how they go together.

Since I am working on a star, I have marked which points go into the centre of the star and which point are on the outside.

cardboard templates labelled.

Mark the shapes

Be sure you are using a fabric that will hold a crease well. Quilting cotton is fine for this, as well as linen, silk and most natural fibres. Polyester is a problem.

Place the template on the fabric. Since I will be making a lot of stars, I roughly cut out triangle pieces for the points. You can cut out the piece after it is marked if you prefer.

markin the fabric with a hera marker.

Hold the template firmly and trace around the shape by pressing a Hera marker with a back and forth motion on all sides.

The crease will be clearly visible in the fabric. The crease marks the stitching line.

fabric piece with clear crease.

Cut the fabric leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.

Finger press the crease to set it in place. Be careful not to stretch any bias edges.

Stitch the Seam

With this method, your stitches will be clearly visible. That is part of the design. You can use a coordinating thread colour or contrasting colour. I am using a heavier weight hand quilting thread to emphasize the stitching.

pieces pinned together for pojagi stitching.

Place the pieces WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, matching the corners. Pin to hold. If you are paper piecing, you might not need pins, or you might use clips instead.

Thread a needle and knot the thread. Bring the needle up right at one edge of the piece. The knot will be buried in the seam allowance.

Take an overcast stitch, bringing the needle through perpendicular to the pieces. That will allow your stitches to all be parallel at the same angle.

Don’t pull the stitches too tightly or you will have puckers in the finished seam.

fabric pieces joined with pojagi seam.

Once you get to the end of the seam, open the pieces to check before tying off the thread. The seam should lay flat and smooth. If you need to adjust the tension, now is the time to do so.

When it all looks great, knot the thread in the seam allowance.

You’re done!

quilt piecing in progress.

When you try this technique, be sure to tag pictures #epidastudio


Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos

designer, teacher, speaker

Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. For more information or to have her speak to your group click HERE.

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