English Paper Piecing Final Coaster Cover
Everything Fabrics,  Pattern Love

Islamic Geometry meets English Paper Piecing

Cat interrupting English Paper Piecing LayoutOne of the things I have been working on lately is combining my two passions – Islamic geometry and patchwork. In July I worked on two quilted cushions using the foundation paper piecing approach. The other option to transfer geometric patterns to fabric is the English paper piecing method

This is the method that I used for this little project I did at the end of December 2020. And it was a perfect fit for its purpose.

Having met a very nice international group of Islamic geometry artists through all the online classes I have done in 2020, I needed a Secret Santa gift for one of the ladies. The ideal would be to combine both Islamic geometry and patchwork. And I needed something that I could send virtually on the one side and send to her later on in an envelope as well. 

This is how I came up with the idea for an Islamic geometric coaster in fabric!

The Perfect Pattern Choice

The idea for the pattern comes from the book ‘Islamic Geometric Patterns’ by Eric Brough. It is from the Great Mosque of Kairouan and one of the first patterns I ever drew. A perfect easy pattern for trying to transfer it from paper to fabric with the English paper piecing technique.

As I used fabric scraps from my Sandia quilt project I did not need to choose any colors as such. It was an intuitive choice based on the size of the scraps. But these earthy and warm tones work very well for the pattern.

Preparing for English Paper Piecing

The work on this little quilted Islamic geometric coaster took me three days. I made a time-lapse to share with my Islamic geometry friend as a gift. It nicely documents my work and how English paper piecing is actually done.

This first video shows how I constructed the pattern on cardboard as a base for my transfer to fabric. As the video files are quite big I uploaded them on YouTube and embedded them here.

On this occasion, I want to point out the very new Me + My Craftroom YouTube channel that I created for this purpose. 🙂

Please excuse that the video ends so abruptly. I am still learning how to add music to my time lapses with YouTube. 

Preparing English Paper Pieces

After the English paper piecing shapes are created from cardboard each shape is covered by hand with fabric pieces cut in the same form. But the shapes are ca. 1/4 inch bigger on all sides. Then you can attach them to each other which I show in this short video. 

For a geometric pattern that consists of various shapes, it is helpful to lay out all the pieces in front of you. Unfortunately, Loki did not agree with my approach and messed up my nicely arranged shapes quite a bit!

Removing the Paper Pieces

Then I sew all the pieces together to create the complete block. My fingers hurt quite a bit at this stage and I was happy that I had decided on a small coaster only and not a complete cushion. 🙂

Afterward, I removed the paper pieces from the back. It was quite tricky for the very tiny ones. I had to undo some of the stitches that I had done for covering the paper shapes with fabric in the previous stage. But as all fabric shapes were nicely attached to each other this was not an issue. 

As you can see in this time lapse I had quite some issues with my sewing machine. I needed some time until it ran smoothly to be able to start the machine quilting of my Islamic geometric coaster. To secure to block I attached it to a slightly bigger fabric square. I did not use an appliqué stitch for doing so, but a simple straight stitch.

Quilting the Islamic Geometric Coaster

At this stage, I was almost done with the coaster which was good. My time was running out as well. We had set a date and time for the virtual gift exchange and I was slightly running out of time… 😉

But there were not too many things left to do for finishing it up. I quilted the coaster with the machine. As I used the pattern as guides and I had a lot of threads to secure afterwards. This took some additional time!

Finishing my English Paper Piecing Project

English Paper Piecing Final Coaster back sideAfter securing all my thread ends I attached a matching binding to finish my Secret Santa gift. 

I managed to finish it in time and sent a photo of my little Islamic geometric coaster to the lady I was supposed to surprise.

The time-lapse videos were still not edited at that time. I did this only when writing this post. So, the versions I shared with her were not as ‘fine-tuned’ as the ones embedded in this blog post. If you can call them ‘fine-tuned’ at all… 🙂

Should any of you, my dear readers, be an expert for YouTube, please reach out to me. I am very grateful for any tips and advice in this regard.

It was the idea of the quilter’s husband to start the YouTube channel actually. So, you can thank him for this new addition to my social media presence. 🙂

What do you think about this? Would you like to see more process time lapses in my projects in the future? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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