National Park Sew Along

Welcome to the informal National Park Sew Along!

Whether you are heading out for a fun, adventure filled summer, or you are staying at home planning your National Park blocks, this sew along is going to keep your creative juices flowing!!

Since this is a very informal sew along, there are not prizes. If you have a business, and would like to be a sponsor for this sew along, please contact me.  The official unofficial dates are May 27th-Sept 2. We have had so much fun, that we are continuing the sew along in my Facebook™️ group – I’d love for you to join – if you see this, we’re still sewing along, and we’d LOVE to have you!

Please use #EPPNPSAL and #EPPNationalPark when you post to social media, so we can all fawn over your beautiful blocks! (you can use the above hashtags even if you aren’t using English paper piecing)


Do you need some inspiration for your own National Parks blocks?

Watch a video with my favorite app that helps you select colors, right from photos you’ve taken!!

I have written this pattern for quilters and sewists who have never used either method!  There are so many gals who have never used either technique, and are doing beautiful work!!  If you have never ever English paper pieced, watch this video.  In it, I show you how to piece from start to finish…AND how to stitch those not-so-tricky curved seams!  You can do it!!! I know you can!!

If you have never foundation paper pieced, here is a video for you!

Here are some of my must have items for piecing on the road, and piecing at home.  It has everything from a light that is helpful, to thread, and my favorite needles.

I like to lay out all of my prepped pieces before I start piecing.  It makes my head swim if I don’t know what to reach for next….and *I* designed the pattern! 🤦🏽‍♀️ So I carry this little design ‘wall’ in my sewing travel pouch.  It fits nicely on my lap, and I can easily see what piece comes next.


Where is my download?
It’s in your account, safe and sound.  If you have troubles accessing it, please send me a message.

I’m really overwhelmed, where do I start?
First, get the pattern. It’s easier than you think!!  If you’ve never EPP’d (English paper pieced), watch the video above.
If you aren’t sure what fabric to select, please don’t go out and buy new fabric for this project! I’m certain you have fabrics in your stash!  It was designed with the traveler in mind, most of the blocks use 5″ charm squares.  You don’t need to cut your fabric to 5″!  Use what you have!!  If you have fat quarters, use that!  You’ll find that scraps, or even jelly rolls will work with many pieces!
You don’t need to use a bundle, but you can if you want.  I prefer a scrappy look, with the blocks inspired by my travels, or photos that have been shared with me.  My Roosevelt Arch block has snow, because our trip was really snowy.
If you want help selecting fabric, again, shoot me a message and I’ll help you select fabric.

Is the Sew Along $49 per month or $49 total?
The pattern is $49, one time.  You’ll get free pattern additions (the newest version will always be in your ‘my account’.  There is no charge to the sew along…you only need the pattern.
UPDATE: There is a $62 option to get both the FPP and EPP option.  For $49, you’ll choose either EPP or FPP.

Can I purchase an already printed version?
Currently I’m not offering a printed version.  If you are interested in this, send me a message…if enough people are interested, I’ll explore this option more.
You CAN take/send the pattern to a print shop or the public library and have them print it for you, if you wish. Just make sure that the patterns print at 100% and are not scaled down.

What kind of paper do you use?
I use cheap, copy paper.  Some EPPers like a thicker card stock.  I’ve never had an issue with copy paper, so I keep using it.  Use whatever you like!

EPP question: How do I make the fabric stick to the paper?
I like to glue baste.  I have details about this in my video (I have another video on my homepage as well).  For glue basting, I use cheap (ahem affordable) glue sticks from Office Depot.  I don’t like the colored glue…I’ve noticed that it burns the fabric when I press it.

What do you use for an iron when you’re traveling?
I use a metal teapot 😂  When I do the dishes in the evening, I put a hot pad down, and when the teapot is hot, I use that to passively iron while I wash the dishes.  My vintage Airstream runs on only 12v…so a regular iron is out.  A heavy book would also work until you get home!

My blocks are wonky, what did I do wrong??
Nothing!  Press your block, and remove the paper (sometimes in that order, sometimes remove papers, then press), and your block should be flat.

I haven’t traveled much….
That’s ok! Create a bucket list quilt!  Where do you WANT to go?

I’ve traveled lots, but I haven’t picked up patches….
That’s ok!!! I haven’t either.  No time like the present to start!  You can order from NP websites, or get them on other websites…or travel to them again…or ask your friends to grab them for you as they hit the National Parks.

Can my Quilt Guild join in?
Sure! The more the merrier!!

Do I have to camp? 
No, certainly not! You can do whatever you want!

Can I include State Parks?
YES!!  There are many State Parks that would work perfectly with the original 13!

Can I foundation paper piece these?
YES!!! I’ve added a foundation paper piecing option!!

Do you have a question I haven’t answered?  Send me a message, and I’ll help you!

8 thoughts on “National Park Sew Along

  1. Karen Wilcox says:

    Have been collecting patches for years, now collecting fabrics! Will work on quilt at April retreat. Thank. You, can’t wait!

  2. Deborah Curtis says:

    Just purchased the pattern and am starting the blocks. Have been a National Parks fan and quilter so this pattern is perfect. Love the portability of this as there is nothing greater than traveling to the Parks and quilting. Thanks for the ability to combine my two favorite pastimes.

  3. Stephanie Trigg-Smith says:

    I love this pattern so much! It’s a wonderful trip down memory lane. 50 years of family vacations packed full of experiences. I had no idea how many we had visited until I started. It takes me an evening to do a small block and I’m brand new to EPP. Such a fun idea!

  4. Kimberley Tijerina says:

    I am totally addicted and haven’t even finished my first block. We just finished visiting four (4) National Parks and Recreation Area so I am still in the process of determining which blocks I want to try out first! So many options, and more are showing up each week. I appreciate all of the help I have gotten so far from the designer. She has been responsive and even created a special block upon request for one of my adventures!

  5. Laurie Stell says:

    I was a little intimidated with this NPSAL- since I’ve never done English Paper Piecing. I started with the sign block. It went together quickly and gave me confidence to get going on some other blocks. I have 8 blocks done now. No need to be nervous- the piecing is easy. Thx Rachel for these awesome patterns.

  6. Yvonne Hamilton says:

    I think I’ve become obsessed with these patterns–and the designer keeps coming up with more!! There is no hope for me….I am addicted. Since I’m not that comfortable with EPP, I was glad when she added the foundation paper piecing options. I get along much better with FPP. While it is true, some of the patterns have a few tiny pieces, it is well worth it. They come out so cute! Anyone thinking of trying this, I’d say “go for it!” The patterns aren’t as complicated as they may look. Come. Join me in my addiction! lol

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