Tape for English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Kimberbell: I thought this would be a good alternative to RNK Embroidery Perfection tape, as it’s readily available on Amazon, but it has some downsides: not enough structure to provide stability for flatback stitching, and not sticky enough for repeated use. I tried to use it for a full block, and became too irritated to continue.

Rating for EPP: 3 out of 5.
It’s fantastic for machine embroidery, so it won’t go to waste. 🙂 I also don’t want to dog on Kimberbell at all! They are a great company, and this tape is really awesome! I prefer it over RNK Embroidery Perfection for machine embroidery for the exact reasons it’s not great for EPP! ;P With machine embroidery, I love that this tape is thinner – the needle will glide through it like butter!

RNK Embroidery Perfection tape: This is my favorite, the one I recommend, and have been using it for years. BUT! It’s hard to find (only local through a dealer, or on a handful of websites). It sticks well, and can be reused several times. I’ve never counted how many times, but it’s more than 2x. It IS on the more expensive side, but a roll lasts quite a while. Living in a dry climate, my complaint with many tapes is that they don’t stay hydrated, and this one hasn’t had issues. I also like the size of the roll – it fits perfectly width and depth wise in my sewing bag!

I like that this tape allows me to get template pieces REALLY CLOSE to each other. I struggled with this with the Kimberbell tape. I believe the tight proximity is one of the keys to successful flatback EPP. This will also help with easing. I didn’t test the Kimberbell tape with easing, but based on my experience, I don’t think that it’d be able too provide enough structure to allow for easing.

Rating for EPP: 5 out of 5. The only downfall being availability.

Blue Painter’s Tape: This is the tape I originally used. It is affordable and available anywhere! I like that it has good structure to it, so stitching is nice My biggest complaint is the tape is not all that sticky…so it works for one taping, but not reliable for more than that. I also found that it would not stay as hydrated as I needed it to be. I don’t like that a roll is HUGE. It’s not convenient to fit in my sewing travel bag. It is great in a pinch and I’d use it over Kimberbell tape, but it’s basically at the bottom of my list.

Rating for EPP: 3 out of 5 (because it’s inexpensive and available everywhere)

Sewtites: This is another company and product I LOVE LOVE LOVE! But for my patterns, they aren’t a great fit. I have used these for sewing scout patches on, and they are beyond perfect for that application! I use Sewtites for holding template pieces or pattern pieces in my folding mat. The magnets are ridiculously strong, and unlike super strong rare earth magnets, they don’t break when they fall.

I don’t love that these add weight when sewing. The additional weight hurts my wrist. If you are in the same camp, be sure to prop your arm up with a pillow to avoid undo pressure on your wrist!!

For a whip stitch along the seam of 2 pieces, these magnets are stellar, but for tiny flatback stitching, I felt there was too much of a gap between pieces (this is a common complaint I have with tapes too). This gap leads to inaccurate piecing, and stitching showing on the front. Stitches showing on the front is really vain, but we’re looking at ideals and how to get the best looking block!

I tried tiny rare earth magnets as well, and ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and weight.

Rating for EPP: 4 out of 5 only because they are great for EPP other than my patterns. For my patterns, 3 out of 5.

3M Micropore Tape: WOW! My first impression was, “Oh! This might be a contender!” This is a surgical paper tape, with a great stickiness. It has a weight similar to the Kimberbell embroidery tape, which I was concerned would be an issue…but it holds really well. I had a section where the pieces needed to be eased together, and weren’t touching. This can be a recipe for disaster with tape that has lost some stick. But this tape – granted, it was fresh off the roll – held like a champ! So far I’m impressed! It also was sticky enough to be reused a few times.
I like that it’s about the same size as the RNK tape, so it fits in my sewing bag easily. It IS wider than RNK tape, which I don’t love, but for the roll to fit easily in my bag, and hold well, it’s a contender!!

This tape should be fairly easy to find in stores. NexCare sells it under their label as well. It’s very affordable.

Possible cons: I don’t have experience with it in heat, so it’s possible that it could leave a residue.

Rating for EPP: 5 out of 5.

Scotch Rough Surface Extra Strength Tape: Another WOW! This is very similar to the RNK tape in texture and hold. I don’t love that the roll is ginormous (and that makes toting it around rather challenging/annoying), but it does come in different widths, which is really nice. It’s also convenient to purchase on Amazon; perhaps ACE Hardware would carry this tape as well. As far as the size, which really is a pain for me, I might manually roll this tape onto a smaller roll so it would fit in my sewing bag. I like the hold and the texture of this tape. It has great structure, like the RNK tape.

It is exceptionally affordable when compared to the RNK tape; this is also a big plus!

Biggest complaint: the size of the roll…this might be a deal breaker for me only because I have “perfected” my travel sewing bag to be exactly the size for what I need, and the roll is nearly the same size as the bag. It may be worth it to me to roll a fair amount onto an empty smaller spool to use in my bag when I travel; for home use the size isn’t an issue.

Rating for EPP: 4.5 out of 5 (I gave it a lower rating because of the size of the roll)

Scotch Delicate Surface Tape: NOPE. Big fat nope here. It doesn’t have much long term sticking. I wouldn’t even use this in a pinch. This was a short test because it really didn’t hold. It doesn’t curl like painter’s tape, but it doesn’t have enough grip.

Rating for EPP: I’m not going to give it a rating.

1 thoughts on “Tape for English Paper Piecing (EPP)

  1. Valerie says:

    Thank you for posting this information! I agree completely with your assessments of Kimberbell, Scotch Blue Painters Tape and SewTites for EPP flatback stitching. I have been using RNK for about 4 years now and love it. I am definitely going to try some of the others you list here so that I have a back up if I am unable to find RNK.

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