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!)
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!
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* 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
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.
Select both the contrasting hexagon and one of the other six hexagons.
Press the two hexagons together with right sides facing, making sure that all of the corners line up.
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.
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.
Continue whipstitching along the full length of the edge.
When you reach the next corner, put a neat stitch through the points, securing the corners of the two hexagons together, then knot off.
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.
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.
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.
If you lay the hexagons flat, you should now have two petals joined to the center piece.
Continue joining petals to the center hexagon until you’ve attached a petal to all six edges.
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.
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!)
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.
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!