Got fabric scraps? Get quilting! Jumpstart your hexie obsession with my free 1" hexagon template and part one in my English paper piecing tutorial series!
As you all know, I’ve been making hexies nonstop since last month’s trip to Portland. And, because so many of you have asked questions or expressed an interest in learning how it’s done, I decided to put together a series of posts on the basics of English paper piecing. The first post (this one) will show you how to make a hexie, the second post will take you through the process of joining your hexies into a quilt block or geometric pattern, and the third post will show you how to incorporate a finished hexie quilt block into a project. The English paper piecing method that you’ll learn in this series is the method that Diane Gilleland generously taught me during my Portland visit.
Beyond quilts, what else can you make with hexies? Check out Diane’s giant hexie placemat project and her post on rescuing old quilt blocks with English paper piecing for great examples of non-quilt projects!
Before you get started, you should know that making one hexie may lead to a serious hexie addiction. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Please note that the links to supplies and tools that are provided below are affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking through.
* English Paper Piecing 1" Hexagon Template PDF, printed on cardstock at actual size (full scale)
* Cotton fabric scraps or fat quarters, two contrasting prints or colors
* Hand quilting thread, a color that will blend in with your fabrics
* Glue stick
Before you begin:
Print the English Paper Piecing 1" Hexagon Template PDF at full scale on cardstock, then carefully cut out the individual hexagon shapes.
Apply a small smear of glue to the back of a hexagon template.
Press the template in place (glue side down) on the wrong side of the fabric, centering it on the part of the pattern that you would like to display on your hexagon.
Use your fabric scissors to cut the fabric out around the template, leaving a ¼" to a ½" seam allowance around the template.
Fold the fabric snuggly over one edge of the template and finger press the crease.
Fold the fabric over the next edge, creating a nice sharp corner where the two sides meet. Finger press this crease too.
Thread your needle and knot off the end, then insert the threaded needle into the folded edge of the fabric on both sides of the corner, just below the point. Take care NOT to sew through the hexagon template.
Pull the thread through the fabric until you reach the knot at the end, then reinsert the needle into the same place in the fabric.
Pull the thread all the way through the fabric one more time, completing the stitch and securing the corner.
Note: These are basting stitches that are used to hold the fabric in the correct shape around the template as you sew. The stitches do not need to be deep or large, and you should never sew into or through the paper template. In most cases, the stitches—along with the paper hexagon template—will be removed once a project has been pieced together. (That said, if the fabric is thick enough that the stitches aren’t visible in your finished project, you can just leave them in. It’ll be our little secret.)
Fold the fabric over the next edge and secure the next corner by following the instructions above.
Continue folding the fabric over the template and placing stitches at the corners until all of the corners have been secured in place.
When you get back around to the first edge that you folded, bring the needle through the center of the folded fabric and clip the thread, leaving a short tail.
Inspect your finished hexagon to make sure that the edges are straight, the fabric is stretched evenly, and the corners are sharp.
To prepare for part 2 of this tutorial, follow the steps above to make a total of 6 hexagons in the first fabric pattern/color and one hexagon in the second fabric pattern/color.
In the next post in my English paper piecing series, I’ll show you how to join the hexagons together to create a quilt block or a geometric pattern!