Tula Nova Quilt & Tips for Machine Appliqueing EPP Giants

Monday, July 3, 2017

When I was picking thread colors to quilt projects for my new collection, Caturday, I discovered a happy accident. Lots of the thread colors from my Luna Sol Aurifil thread set were great matches for Caturday! When I dumped all the new rolls of fabric into my storage pin, it clicked. The two collections blend together almost seamlessly to create a bright and happy color spectrum! Awww yiss. 

I pre-ordered the Tula Nova EPP kit from Paper Pieces while at Quilt Market in St. Louis, and received it in early June, eager to get started. Time for a Luna Sol and Caturday mashup of legendary greatness! I spent some time studying the original quilt and mimicked the color placement in my coloring sheet, taking notes on which prints I planned to use. The ring of striped pentagons dug its claws in my brain and I had to replicate it. Thankfully, my buddy Rebecca Bryan's new collection Panache had four stripe prints that were perfect colors for this project. I had to improvise for the yellow stripe by piecing the fabric myself from Kona Buttercup and Yarrow. For the diamonds on the outermost pentagons, I used a selection of Windham Artisan cottons and a few other random Kona shades.

Once the whole thing was pieced, I had to figure out how to applique this giant onto the background. The pattern suggests basting it before appliqueing, but doesn't get more detailed than that. I put on my thinking cap and came up with a solution that worked insanely well. I've detailed my process below. Take note however, I thread basted all of pieces. If you're a glue baster, this approach won't work quite the same.

  1. Remove all the paper pieces except for those along the outermost edge. Press the entire EPP monster with a hot iron and spray starch until it is entirely flat and smooth. Give the outermost edges an extra press.
  2. Lay out background fabric and tape to the ground as if basting a quilt sandwich, making sure it's smooth and taut. Lay applique on top, position as desired, and smooth it out. Pin baste, starting at the center and working out radially. Do not basted the outermost edge because these pieces still have paper in them. Instead, pin as close to them as you can on the pieces without paper. Your outermost edge will be unbasted.
  3. Select a thread to match your applique (I used Aurifil monofilament on top) and set your machine to a blanket stitch.
  4. Remove the thread basting on a small section of the outermost edge and remove the paper pieces. I worked "block" (the star-in-pentagon units or fat star units) by block. With the papers removed from one block, pin the loose outer edge down with a straight pin or two. Begin stitching the applique down with the blanket stitch. When you reach any dog ears/seam allowances that stick out, simply fold them under the applique. I used my Purple Thang for this or a pair of tweezers for stubborn dog ears.
  5. Proceed around the entire piece, removing basting and papers from the next block just before you reach it, pinning it as needed, and stitching. 

For the quilting, I mimicked the original quilt for the most part, making some minor changes here and there. I'm pretty impressed with how well it came out, considering I do this on a domestic machine. I can't wait to hang this up on the wall whenever we move into our own place!

Name: Luna Nova
Size: 58" square
Fabric: Luna Sol, Caturday, Panache (stripes), and assorted solids
Pattern: Tula Nova
Quilting: Custom (Aurifil monofilament)
Completed: June 28, 2017

Caturday is set to ship to stores in October 2017. I haven't done a recap/introduction post for the collection yet because I plan to do that closer to release time, so stay tuned!


  1. Is there a pattern for this quilt?

    1. Yes there is. It's the Tula Nova quilt from Paper Pieces.

  2. This is gorgeous! I'm in love with the Luna Sol fabrics (I am a fan of anything celestial or space-y). I'm ordering this kit, but could you give an estimate of how much fabric you used? I have no idea how much of any fabric pattern I'm going to need and was trying to guesstimate.

    1. Thanks! If you are going to be fussy cutting, yardage is going to depend on the design. I probably used mostly half yard size cuts. I would order more fabric just in case.