English Paper Piecing Photo Tutorial: Hexagon EPP Flowers

In this tutorial you'll learn how to english paper piece hexagons together into a flower design. It's simpler than you think, and it's likely you'll want to make more than one once you start!


You'll be able to complete this tutorial with items you have in your sewing studio.

  • Fabrics (scraps welcome!)
  • Cardstock
  • Templates 
  • Glue stick or glue pen
  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pen or other marking tool
  • Needle and thimble
  • 50wt or 80wt thread
  • Sew Fine Thread Gloss (optional)

english paper piecing tutorial supplies

How to English Paper Piece Hexagons: A Photo Tutorial

Step 1: Print Your Templates

You will require two template sizes to begin your EPP journey. You can purchase the printable templates here. The first is a 1” hexagon that you will glue your fabrics too, and the second is a 1” hexagon with a 3/8” seam allowance that you will use to cut out your fabrics.

Print out both pages on cardstock at 100% scale. Using cardstock is a must.

 screenshot of printer settings at 100% scale

Confirm that the 1” x 1” square measures correctly.

Close up of ruler on top of templates measuring the 1 inch square

Then cut out your 1” hexagons along the outer borders and store them in a safe place. You will likely print more of these as your project grows, or you can purchase kits of pre-cut hexagons if you’d prefer.

Next, cut out your 1” hexagon to trace along the outer border. If you’d like to experiment with fussy cutting, you can cut out the centre area of the template to create a window to help audition fabrics and visualize the final result.

Hexagon templates cut out and placed on floral fabrics

photos of a hexagon with the centre cut out to be used for fussy cutting fabrics

Step 2: Choose Your Fabrics

Quilting cottons are a great substrate to begin with. Scour your fabric stash – remnants and scraps too! – for fabrics you’d like to use in your project. Consider the scale of the motifs on any patterned fabrics. 

Photo of liberty of london quilting cottons; florals on purple and magenta

Don’t feel pressured into choosing all of your fabrics before beginning. Start by choosing two fabrics: Fabric A for the outer petals and Fabric B for the centre hexagon. This colour placement will make an effortless hexagon flower. 

Step 3: Cut Your Fabrics

Place the hexagon template with the 3/8” seam allowance on the right side of your Fabric A. Use a marking tool to trace (6) hexagons along the outer edge of the template. Choose any marking tool that is visible on your fabric. Pens work fine. 

Photo of hand holding pen tracing along the outside of a hexagon template onto floral fabric. 

The most economical way to trace several hexagons onto your fabric is to place them in a staggered formation. The hexagons will share some edges, which will save you time on tracing and cutting too!

photos of hexagon template traced onto floral fabric

Cut along the traced lines using fabric scissors.

Photos of hexagons cut from purple floral fabric and the fabric remnants

Repeat to cut (1) hexagon from Fabric B. This will be the centre of the EPP flower.

Photo of scissors cutting a pink floral fabric in a hexagon shape for EPP

You will now have (7) hexagons total.

Seven hexagons cut from floral fabrics placed in a circle.

Step 4: Prepare Your Hexagons

Place (1) one-inch hexagon in the centre of your fabric hexagon. The fabric should be wrong side up.

Paper hexagon template placed in the centre of fabric hexagon.

Using a glue stick or glue pen, apply glue along the outer edges of the hexagon template, then fold the seam allowances over the edge one at a time and press to secure. Apply more glue, if needed. You will naturally overlap the fabric as you go. Do this for all (7) hexagons.

 Photos of gluing down each edge of fabric to a hexagon for english paper piecing

Photo of seven fabric hexagons for english paper piecing

Step 5: Sew Two Hexagons Together

Thread your favourite needle. I'm using 50wt Aurifil thread that matches my centre hexagon for this tutorial. Keep your threads relatively short, say 12" to 18" long, to avoid tangling.

Your needle should be a comfortable length and sharp. I prefer needles that are not too flexible, as they require less effort to puncture the fabrics. (Unfortunately, I don’t know the details of the needle I’m using in this tutorial as it was an inherited notion.) 

Tie a knot at the end of your thread.

Photo of threaded needle with aurifil 50wt thread, knotted

You can choose to condition your thread with beeswax. To do this, place your thread on the conditioner and hold it in place with your thumb. Pull the needle away from you. It will slide along the conditioner and be coated.

apply thread conditioner to your thread before beginning to english paper piece

Next, we'll sew one of the outer hexagons (Fabric A) to the centre hexagon (Fabric B). Place the two hexagons right sides together.

Two english paper piecing hexagons placed right sides together

Begin to sew the hexagons together by starting at one end of any one side using a simple whipstitch.

Hold the hexagons steady in place. Ensure that the corners are always matched as you sew. You can treat yourself to Sew Tites, magnets that work like pins to keep EPP pieces together as you sew.

Your first stitch should begin right at the edge of one corner as shown below. Trim your thread tail after the knot if it's too long.

Photo of a needle puncturing the hexagons for english paper piecing

For your second stitch, sew in the same direction as you did the for the initial stitch. I'm right handed so I use my right hand to push the needle through the fabrics, always entering from the hexagon on the right into the hexagon on the left. You only have to catch a couple of threads from each hexagon each time. Small and even stitches is a goal to strive for. 

Close up of two fabric hexagons right sides together

A few whip stitches along the edge of two fabric hexagons.

Continue in this way along the entire edge, pulling the thread taut as you go.

image of a needle whip stitching two hexagons together

Take your final stitch once you've arrived at your first corner.

needle piercing two fabric hexagons

Next, tie a knot to secure your stitches. I like to tie my knot loosely first then pull it into position using my needle. 

a thread tied into a knot

Trim the thread near the knot.

a pair of scissors cutting thread just above a knot

Below is a photo of the right sides of two hexagons once sewn together.

A photo of the seam between two hexagons.

Step 6: Sew a Third Hexagon to the Centre

Thread your needle again, if needed. Repeat step 5 to sew a third Fabric A hexagon to the centre hexagon (Fabric B). 

Place the outer hexagon on top of the centre hexagon right sides together.

Begin at one corner and whip stitch your way to the next corner. (Note: At this point the two outer hexagons will not be sewn together.)

Close up of sewing fabric hexagons for EPP together

Photo of three hexagons nearly sewn together 

Step 7: Sew Fabric A Hexagons Together Using a Y-Seam

Now, it's time to sew the outer hexagons together. The seam you will be sewing is called a Y-seam, the location where three fabric edges meet. 

Lightly curl the centre hexagon, right sides together, so that the two Fabric A edges to be sewn are matched neatly. Do not crease the centre hexagon, just fold it enough so that it's comfortably out of the way.

Begin stitching just as you did in step 5. Your first stitch should begin right at the corner. You should not be stitching into the centre hexagon. 

sewing a y seam in english paper piecing

Continue to whip stitch along the entire edge until you arrive at your first corner. 

sewing hexagons for english paper piecing

Take your final stitch at the corner and tie a knot. Trim your thread.

Below is a photo of the right sides of the three hexagons now sewn together, followed by a photo of the wrong sides.

Step 8: Continue Sewing Hexagons Together

Next, you'll sew another outer hexagon to the centre hexagon, then sew the outer hexagons together. Continue in this way until you've completed your flower. Below are a few example of completed flowers. 

english paper pieced flower using liberty of london quilting cottons

The next two have fussy cut centres.

english paper pieced flower using liberty of london quilting cottons

english paper pieced flower using liberty of london quilting cottons

Step 9: Sew EPP Hexagon Flowers Together to Make a Quilt Top

You can make anything you'd like with your english paper pieced flowers. If you would like to sew them together to make a larger project, like a quilt top, just sew the hexagons together as you did in step 7. The hexagons should fit neatly into each other as shown below. 

Remove the paper templates from a hexagon once all of its sides have been stitch to another hexagon. As your project grows and you sew more flowers together, you can remove more templates. 

Don't want to make a large english paper pieced quilt top? You can remove all the paper templates and appliqué your flower to a garment, tote, or quilt block!

a hand holding several english paper pieced hexagon flowers

two completed hexagon flowers next to each other

three completed english paper pieced hexagon flowers

Have you tried english paper piecing before? Do you love it?

Leave a comment below!

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Cristina De Miranda

Cristina De Miranda has been crafting and creating since her early years watching Art Attack. A tactile world of colour, pattern, and design appeared before her when a colleague introduced her to quilting in 2018. Cristina quickly dusted off her sewing machine and dived into a plethora of designer fabrics. Today, she is totally and irreversibly immersed in a whimsical world called Ships & Violins.