Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Welcome to part 2 of my English paper piecing series! In this tutorial, we’ll be joining seven of the hexagon pieces that you made in the first part of the series into a flower-shaped quilt block.

Why flowers? They’re pretty, eye-catching, and delightfully versatile. (And really easy to make.) This block can be used to make a quilt—I actually have two of those in progress right now—but that’s definitely not the only option. Even if you don’t have the time or the patience to make a full quilt, a flower block or two can make a great decorative addition to other sewing projects. Want to see them in action? In the third part of this series, I’ll show you how to incorporate the flower quilt blocks from this tutorial into a portable hexagon sewing kit. (I can’t wait!)

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Before we get started, I’d like to take a moment to send out a special thank you to Diane Gilleland, who taught me the English paper piecing method that I’m now teaching you. Turns out, her hexie addiction was pretty contagious!

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.

Supplies:
* 7 basted hexagons from Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 1, six in the first color/pattern and one in a contrasting color/patern (If you’re making 2 blocks, you’ll need to double these quantities.)
* Hand quilting thread, a color that will blend in with the colors/patterns of your fabric

Tools:
* Thread snips or embroidery scissors
* Hand quilting needle

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 1
Gather six basted hexagons in one fabric color/pattern and one basted hexagon in a contrasting color/pattern, then choose hand quilting thread in a color that will blend in well with both.

If you haven’t already basted your hexagons, head over to Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 1 to see how it’s done.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 2
Select both the contrasting hexagon and one of the other six hexagons.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 3
Press the two hexagons together with right sides facing, making sure that all of the corners line up.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 4
Thread your needle and knot off one end. With the two hexagons pressed together, insert the needle carefully into the point of one corner, piercing both hexagons in the same place. Pull the thread all the way through to the knot to complete the stitch.

Note: Just like when we were basting the hexagons in part 1, you should never sew through the paper template while joining the hexagons. Instead, carefully insert the needle into the fabric, then, if needed, gently feel around for the edge of the template with the tip of the needle before stitching.

english_paper_piecing_hexies_2_06

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 5
The two hexagons will be joined along one edge using very small whipstitches. After making the first stitch in the corner, move the needle over about ⅛" and insert it carefully into fabric along the edge, sewing through both hexagons but not the paper template.

Note: Keep holding the sandwiched hexagons in the same position as you stitch, always inserting the needle into the top of the stacked pieces and pulling it out through the bottom. This will wrap the stitches around the edge, joining the hexagons and creating a secure seam. For best results, the stitches should be spaced ⅛" or less apart.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 6
Continue whipstitching along the full length of the edge.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 7
When you reach the next corner, put a neat stitch through the points, securing the corners of the two hexagons together, then knot off.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

When you’re finished, your two hexagons should be securely joined along one edge and the corners at each end of that edge should be neatly aligned.

You now have the center of the flower with one attached petal.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 8
Now it’s time to add another petal to the center. To do this, select the second of your six hexagons, then place it on top of the center (contrasting) hexagon with right sides facing, making sure that all of the corners line up.

Thread your needle and knot off the end. Then, starting in the same corner where you knotted off in step 7, insert the needle into the corner of the new petal, then carefully stitch down into the same hole that you made when joining the corners of the first petal and the center hexagon. Pull the thread all the way through to complete the stitch.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 9
Just like in step 6, whipstitch all the way along the full length of the edge, joining the second petal to the center hexagon. To avoid confusion, your stitches should be worked in the direction that moves away from the first petal.

Once you reach the next corner, connect the points with a final stitch, then knot off.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

If you lay the hexagons flat, you should now have two petals joined to the center piece.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 10
Continue joining petals to the center hexagon until you’ve attached a petal to all six edges.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 11
Next, we’ll join the side edges of the petals to one another to create one solid quilt block.

To start, with right sides facing, pinch two petals together with your fingers or a clip, aligning the corners. (It’s okay if you need to fold the paper template in the center hexagon to get the corners to line up.) Then, just like in previous steps, insert your threaded needle into the corner points (start with the points farthest from the center) and stitch through both hexagons.

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 12
Whipstitch the two petals together along the length of the edge, working toward the center. When the center is reached, neatly stitch through all three of the corner points, connecting the seam between the two petals with the center hexagon. Knot off. (Joining the points at the center can be a little bit tricky at first, but it gets much easier with practice. Cut yourself some slack on the first few tries!)

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 13
Continue joining the side seams of the petals together, working your way all the way around the quilt block. To finish, snip away any excess lengths of thread from the knotted areas.

TutoriaTutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Makingl: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2 | The Zen of Making

Step 14
In the final part of this hexie series, we’ll be putting our finished quilt blocks to work in a portable hexagon sewing kit project. (Squee!) To get ready for part 3, you’ll need two completed flower-shaped quilt blocks.

See you then!

19 thoughts on “Tutorial: English Paper Piecing, Hexies Part 2

  1. Another excellent job of sharing how to make hexies into a quilt block! Haven’t exactly ever really done this so all these tips and images and instructions are a huge help. Will be linking and sharing the whole series in my next “come blog reading” post. Thank you for all the hard work of putting this together.

  2. One thing I do when adding petals to the center, is after putting the first one on, then after sewing the next one to center hex, starting from edge away from first hex, then I go ahead at attach the second hex to the first hex. Continue until last hex, then on that one, start the sewing on outside edge connecting the previous hex, then the center, finishing up connecting to the first hex (kind of like sewing in a “U” shape). I’m a big believer in not having to stop and start my sewing as much as possible. Just makes it quicker for me. (Hope this makes sense.)

  3. Pingback: Tutorial: Hexie flower quilt blocks | Quilting | CraftGossip.com

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  5. I never knew what paper piecing was until now. I think I can do it! You gave such great directions. When will we get part3? How many parts are there? Thank you

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm, Sandra–I’m sure you can do it!

      I’ll be at the Craft and Hobby Association trade show next week, so part 3 will go up when I return. At this point, I’ve only got three parts planned (making the hexagons, sewing them together, then making a finished project), but it’s possible that I’ll expand the series in the future, especially since so many people are expressing excitement about the technique.
      thezenofmaking recently posted..Audiobooks + Crafters = True Love

  6. When I do the edges that are not around the center hexy, instead of breaking thread to go to the next edge, I bend the paper until I can reach the next corner of the next edge leaving a tiny bit of slack. After I have done that edge I snip the tiny bit of slack in between. Saves me a ton of time from stopping and starting. I don’t use a double thread, I use a stronger hand quilting thread and just do a slip knot/quilter’s knot in the end. I like how you baste without going through the paper. I also love how you did a fussy-hex on some of the petals too :)
    Mike Pearson recently posted..Did you miss me?

    • Thanks for sharing your tips! It’s funny, a friend of mine actually showed me the same method that you’re using on the very same day that you left this comment. I guess the universe really wanted me to try something new!

      When I’m hand sewing, I don’t generally double the thread either, but I decided to do it in this tutorial because the thread showed up better in the detail photos that way. (Actually, I should really point this out in my tutorial–thanks for bringing it to my attention!) In my usual one-strand stitching, my go-to quilting thread is the Coats cotton hand quilting thread–it has such a nice texture and it’s so easy to use. But, if I really need strength, the waxed YLI hand quilting thread is next on my list. It’s not nearly as easy to work with–and heaven help you if you need to knot off–but I’ve never had it break on me. (And, because it comes on such a lovely wooden bobbin, I’m willing to overlook a little stiffness!)

      I just checked out your blog, and I love your Green and Hexy quilt. My green fussy cut petals would be right at home!
      thezenofmaking recently posted..Sunday Snapshot: Drawing Cats in Bed

  7. I have made a bunch of these little hexies and loved doing it. I am not loving putting them together! Is there another way? When do we remove the paper? And how do we remove the paper?

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