EPP Ferris Wheel Mini Quilt Tutorial

Friday, July 25, 2014

I've been noticing a lot of pretty English paper pieced pictures (pbthhhh!) on IG, in magazines, and at the last HMQG meeting. EPP has been on my radar for a few months but I never bothered to try it. The hand-sewn aspect didn't appeal to my impatient personality, but last Saturday the scales tipped. The geometric puzzle charm outweighed my impatience. 

I wanted something to make into a mini quilt for my wall that would reflect the time and care that went into it. I decided to go with a rainbow Ferris wheel after reading about the first Ferris wheel at the 1893 Chicago World's fair. That sucker was 264 ft tall! In case that doesn't sound impressive...the individual cars (the ones we usually expect to hold like 8 people at max) could carry 60 passengers! And there were 36 cars total. Yeah. I'm a dork. Moving on! 

I used pieces with 1" sides for a 10.5" x 11.5" finished mini quilt. I made a PDF with templates and a diagrams that you can download here. If you print the PDF at 100% scale, you'll get 1" sided pieces like mine. I'm not going to bother re-hashing to EPP process since there are already lots of great tutorials out there. I personally like these two from Sometimes Crafter and Patchwork Posse. There are lots of different approaches to EPP though, so feel free to experiment. I opted to use a dab of glue from a clear archival glue stick to lightly adhere my paper template to the back of the fabric before I trimmed a rough square. 

After I prepared all of my hexies, squares, and triangles, I whip stitched them together following my diagram, pictured above. Next I removed the basting stitches, pulled out the paper pieces, and pressed the entire thing with an iron. Don't worry about how the outer shapes fan out without the basting stitches. They'll be trimmed.

Now for the fun part. I pin basted my quilt top, batting, and backing together to make a quilt sandwich. I opted for simple, organic wavy lines with my walking foot to keep the focus on the piecing. When you're finished quilting, it's time to trim your quilt down as indicated by the red dashed line on the diagram. Line your ruler up with the points shown and trim with your rotary cutter. Actual measurement aren't important; you just want to follow the diagram visually.

Just let the diagram be your guide...

...and voila! 

I finished the mini off with low volume binding I had leftover from my Solstice Medallion. I didn't want anything taking the focus off my Ferris wheels!

Such a pretty little finish!

Now it's hanging on my wall with my growing mini quilt collection. Going from the top left corner we have: my improv Heather Ross mini, a mini version of Crazy Old Ladies' Best Friends by Alyssa from the July HMQG swap, the cutest sewing machine from Jen (also from the HMQG swap) using DuringQuietTime's pattern, a super tiny scrappy mini I made in my early quilting days, my Ferris wheels, and the mini I received from Melissa Irvin in the Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap. It's mini madness!


  1. Your mini is gorgeous, Felice! The very first Ferris Wheel really was an engineering marvel of a beast. Built specifically for the Chicago World Fair (a fascinating topic in itself), it's sole purpose was to outdo the Eiffel Tower from the previous World Fair. Yup, I'm a big dork, too.

  2. I love this, just saw it on Pinterest. I am definitely going to give it a go.

    1. Yay! Please share pictures, I'd love to see your progress! :)

  3. We would like to share this with our Mini Mania Challenge group over on Flickr for our July Mini. Is that OK with you? I will link back to your page for credit. Its only a small group, started with 4 of us sharing via Whatsap but has grown a bit so we've started a Flickr group

  4. Thanks for letting us use this....I'm excited!:)

  5. I love this and hope to make it one day.

  6. I finally jumped off the ledge, and learned how to do EPP recently because I need something to keep my hands busy when not at my sewing machine. I had no idea how much I would absolutely love it! I decided to try a whole lap quilt (eeeak!) and this is the one design I just keep coming back too... my templates are printing while I type this. (enlarged into 2in sides pieces so I keep my sanity!) Thanks SO much! love love LOVE yours, love using low volumes and I think I will fade out my outside edge with low volumes too! For my circles, I think I'll stick to being monochromatic or analogous for the circles... I like scrappy, but "planned and calm" scrappy ;-) Heeeere we go!