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When I first started English Paper Piecing I used Mylar shapes. In fact, when I shared my my Starpoint Table Runner project, you will see that I sang the praises of using mylar. But, If you having been following along with my EPP journey, you have probably seen that over the course of time I switched to using just paper pieces. Today I wanted to share with you some information on using Paper vs Mylar Pieces for English Paper Piecing. I hope that this will help you pick the material right for you, your project and shed some light on why I switched to paper.
- The pieces last a very long time. If you are wondering what Mylar is, here is the definition I found on google “Mylar- a form of polyester resin used to make heat-resistant plastic films and sheets.” Which translates into a very durable sewing material.
- Because of the smooth surface, whether you are basting shapes or sewing them together the needle glides over the Mylar.
- The thickness and durability of the mylar gives you nice sharp corners and points, since it isn’t easily bent or distorted.
- Can only be basted with needle and thread. You cannot use the glue basting method with Mylar.
- Only available in limited shapes and sizes.
- The upfront cost is a little more than paper, but they won’t need replaced anytime soon.
- You will have to be a little more strategic when sewing shapes together. You will have to remove the Mylar in a certain order since the shapes can’t really be bent or folded.
- Can be basted with needle and thread or glue basted.
- Available in every shape shape and size. If it isn’t commercially made, you can just make up your own shapes like I did with my Christmas Tree Topper.
- Very affordable.
- Can be bent or folded when attaching other shapes, so you will not have to remove the paper to connect shapes.
- Can only be reused a few times.
- With thinner paper it is easier to accidently fold in part of your shape or to sew through your paper.
For me it comes down to how I’m going to baste my shapes. Soon after I started EPP I switched to glue basting, which is why I made the switch to paper. For me being able to glue baste is the most important thing. I constantly have an EPP project that I’m working on, this isn’t an occasional thing for me, so I want to be able to accomplish as much as possible in the little time I have. If you aren’t sold on the idea of glue basting and plan to baste the traditional way than I highly recommend Mylar pieces.
This is another one of those things that comes down to preference. For me time is the issue, while for other, factors like cost or simply what is most readily available might be the deciding factor in which material you use.
Where to Purchase:
I am not an affiliate with any company, these are just my preference when ordering shapes.
- Paper of course you can always make your own shapes or purchase them from PaperPieces.com. The paper that they use is a great thickness. I have never had any problem with sewing through the paper or having the paper accidently fold in while basting shapes.
- Plain Jane Threads has a great selection of Mylar Shapes, and is where I have purchased mine from in the past.
Which material do you use when English Paper Piecing? Have you considered using Mylar?
Still confused by all the English Paper Piecing talk? Don’t worry more tutorials and information to come!
I use glue basting on Mylar and have no problem. I just glue baste the folds and do a quick tap with hot iron to crease the folds. For a larger piece like 3 inch side, I brush a little spray starch on and press the fold. Works great. I have not had any issues. I use Roxanne glue baste to put a dot on each fabric fold.