How to Get Perfect Points in English Paper Pieced (EPP) Stars

Perfect Enough


Are your EPP points persistently inconsistent and you're wondering how to improve? Below I'm sharing a tutorial for how I get perfect(ish) points in EPP!


I say perfect-ish, because, I'm (not) sorry to say, I'm just not a perfectionist. I am a deeply avid believer that your quilt will be beautiful whether your points are perfect or not, and when you hold that beautiful baby up to show us all, we won't be able to see a single mismatched point from way back here. 


So while perfect points are a pretty fun trick, and I completely agree that the little dopamine hit you get when you achieve it is rewarding, I actually want you to sit with your EPP, take a deep breath, and remind yourself: Perfection is not the goal. Joy is.


If you spend your whole time English paper piecing beating yourself up about your points, or making yourself unpick when they're imperfect, you're not going to have any fun here, and then what's the point??? 


Ok, with all that in mind, let me give you my best tips for improving your EPP points, and if, after all of these, your points still aren't perfect, then it's time to let that goal go, OK? ;P

EPP star quilt Winter Jasmine

1. Basting

I like to glue baste because it gives me very tight points on my shape. If you're new to EPP and basting, give yourself time to experiment, practice, and improve. You need to use enough glue, but not too much. Apply it only on the paper shape and not the fabric, and practice getting your fabric folds over the paper sharp and straight without bunching up the paper. 


A common issue for beginner EPPers, is that their diamond points kind of sweep off the paper shape and are curvy and long. Practice getting your basted shape to look just like your paper shape - straight and sharp.


basted EPP shapes
line up paper shapes

2. Line up your diamonds on all sides.

Next, rather than just line up the edge you're going to sew, or even just the points you're starting from, line up your first two diamonds on all sides. 


Depending on how you've basted your shape, you'll end up with some folds that make a side or point of your diamond slightly longer. To allow for this, place your diamonds right sides together, and then use your fingers to make sure they're lined up on all sides. Stitch from the widest angle to the point.

stitching EPP shapes

If you've noticed that your EPP points are basted in that curvy, sweepy way I mentioned earlier, stop before the point and lightly peel up your fabric and realign. You don't need to re-glue, just hold it in place. Stitch to the point.


If you're sewing 8 diamonds into a star, you can snip the thread here and sew another pair together. Then line up the two pairs of diamonds in the same way, all around the shapes, and sew the pairs to create a half. If they're not perfect, don't worry. It's the nature of sewing with fabric. This just helps you avoid sewing them WAY off.  


If you're sewing 6 diamonds together (like in Ice Cream Soda quilt), add your third diamond, line up as above, and sew.


If you look VERY closely at my halves below, you'll see that on both sides, the point of one diamond ends a little below the other two. After sewing together 1000s of EPP stars, this still happens to me occasionally, but it's ok. We're going to stitch it out in the next step. 

two EPP half stars

3. Line up your half stars from the middle, not the edge.

Once you have your two half stars, line them up, right sides together, so that your EPP points meet in the middle. Don't worry about your ends lining up just yet. The point is the priority. Use a Clover Clip to hold it in place. 


Once you've done that, you can budge your shapes around a bit (not too violently or you'll move the points out of alignment!) to line up your ends of the star. Keep the Clover clip in place while stitching your way from the outside end to the middle point. 

line up the half stars

4. Stitch the point.

If you've basted with glue, you can easily peel up the tails created at diamond points and move them out of the way as you sew. Move the first tails out of the way, and stitch to the EPP points. Let those tails ago, and hold the rest out of the way, and continue stitching to the edge. 


Because my hands are really small, I actually flip the block and stitch in the opposite direction to the final edge so I don't have to try hold the block and stitch with my hands in the way. If trying this method feels too awkward for you, try using the Clover Clip to hold the tails out of the way so that you can hold the blocks where it's comfortable.

stitch the point
completed EPP star

Et Viola! A lovely little star with pretty perfect points! It's worth noting here that because I've done a little budging here and there, my star is feeling a bit stiff and out of shape. That's completely normal and will resolve itself once you take the papers out. Fabric has a lot of give, by paper doesn't, so if you're paper is causing you issues like bulging or warping, you can happily ignore it. 


Now you can happily stitch perfect(ish) stars to your heart's content! But remember, perfect doesn't make something fun or beautiful. Enjoying the process does. 


Inspired to make your own EPP stars? Here's my favourite star quilts in the shop!

Ready to practice your EPP points?

Now you can happily stitch perfect(ish) stars to your heart's content! But remember, perfect doesn't make something fun or beautiful. Enjoying the process does. 


Inspired to make your own EPP stars? Shop my favourite star quilts below!


3 comments


  • Kate Knaggs

    Thank you for sharing this. This has been game-changing x


  • Amber W

    Thank goodness! I am starting on the Willoughby pattern, after only sewing hexies. I had no idea how to handle the tails. I am so glad I read your blog before I started stitching. I was pleased to discover your information on basting the diamonds, too. Thank you for your invaluable, informative pictures and descriptions.


  • Linda LaPointe

    Love, love loving all your very informative tips! I am working on your Ice Cream Soda pattern and started it all in green before I read your advice about contrast! Luckily my quilty friends are providing me with bits of every shade of green under the sun.
    I am wait listed for your designing with hexies class at QuiltCon. 🤞you are too, too popular a teacher!
    I hope you have an enjoyable visit to the U.S.
    -Linda LaP


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