Do you ever have a moment where you think now why the hell didn't I think if that?
I do it all the time!
I had that exact thought when I was talking to the owner of Ashmead Designs at the CHSI Stitches show.
The idea behind their Paperless English paper piecing is that instead of using card or paper as a template and then removing it you use their templates and leave them in.
I was pretty sceptical about the whole no paper thing so they were kind enough to give me a coaster sample kit to try.
Instead of paper you use a product called Hexiform which is a fully washable template. You can buy it in a sheet or as pre-cut templates. I personally am fully on board with the whole pre-cuts idea because it saves a lot of time faffing about.
Price wise these are more expensive than a pack of card templates on amazon. For example 60 1.5inch Hexiform templates will cost you £9.00 but 100 card ones will cost you £5.02 on amazon.
So I guess you'd have to weigh up the pros and cons of if it would be worth paying the extra for the particular project your doing. So for a coaster its well worth being able to leave the templates in and not faff around taking them out. However for a large quilt made of hexagons it would hike up the cost quite a lot because you can't re use the templates and you'd need a lot.
I dunno if you can tell because but I'm pretty conflicted over these! I mean on the one hand I love the idea and think its brilliant! But on the other hand I'm not too keen on the extra cost [What can I say Frankie Baldwin bringing you 100% honest reviews since 2013]
I am pretty tight with money though. I mean about 4 years ago I thought buying card board templates instead of making them from old Xmas cards was a HUGE extravagance!!! But now after using some free ones from magazines I'd rather bite my own arm off than spend hours tracing!!
So pros of hexiform!
- You don't have to remove papers
- easy to sew
- machine washable
- holds shape of patchwork even after lots of washing [like a 3d item like a cushion]
- doesn't blunt sewing needles [like sewing through paper templates]
- Prevents shadowing [that's when you can see your seam allowance showing through under the fabric, this happens with pale fabrics and ones that are thinner]
cons of hexiform
- More expensive
- Can't reuse papers
- Needs neat stitches because its not as stiff as card
I did also wonder if it might make quilting a bit more difficult as well because the machine would have to go through a layer of batting and a layer of hexiform. But don't take my word on it because it I haven't tried quilting it.
All in all I really enjoyed the product and I can definitely see how it would be useful! I love anything that saves time and this definitely would.
The kit I used was for a coaster and the instructions were really clear and I;m chuffed with the finished result. I had a look at some of the other kits at the show and they all seem to have the same high standard of instructions.
I think my takeaway would be, if you've got the extra money to spend then its definitely worth spending the extra and saving yourself the time of removing papers etc. Plus I have a sneaking suspicion that with the hexiform as base your project will say nicer for longer and last more washes! And as you can tell the pros really do out weigh the cons!
p.s I have some clothes to photograph but there's currently a washing machine in the space where I take my pictures so your gonna have to wait for those!