Friday, 18 December 2015

Learning to Make Hexagons (English Paper Piecing)

Since opening my first packet of Hexie papers last year, I have quickly fallen in love with making little fabric pictures. I'm making a collection and love fussy-cutting gorgeous japanese fabrics into perfect hexagons. Earlier in the week, I spent some time at the ironing board, sorting out and neatly folding, trimming and pressing scraps leftover from out of print japanese fabric collections. I want to cut them into hexagons and needed to get them all organized before doing so. Admittedly, they were kind of sitting neglected in the corner, bunched in a ball of wrinkled cotton-ness. Neatness is not my natural talent.





With the fussy cutting, I was taking stab in the dark guesses at getting the right part of the print cut out under the heavy card template I was using. I have heard you can buy plastic templates (?) for this very purpose. It being a cloudy, rainy afternoon, the craft bug hit me and I wanted to cut out some hexies in the new Dear Little friends fabric right then and there. I don't know if I am mad or not, but I opened the filing cabinet, pulled out an empty folder and removed an A4 plastic sleeve from it. I traced my template onto the plastic using a permanent marker and cut it out from the sleeve. I have a feeling template plastic would be better than this, but there are no shops nearby and well, I wanted to fussy cut! The A4 sleeve plastic is easy to pin through anyway. I then used one of my hexie papers to trace a little view finder in the centre so I could get my fussy cut print in the right place.

It worked a treat! The only thing I would change is tracing it out in a thicker pen and leave the black outline on the outside of the template, to make it easier to see when I am cutting out.



When I made my first ever hexagons, it took me forever. I cut all the little pieces out, and then proceeded to fold around and edges and iron them all in place before doing a gazillion little stitches around the edge.

I now cut the pieces out in batches and keep them in a basket with the papers and items needed to handstitch. I can then sit down and sew a few with a cup of tea outside or in front of the TV at night time at the end of a long day.



After I have positioned the paper, I put a pin in the middle of my hexies to secure the fabric. I am currently using 1 1/4 inch papers so this works fine for me to hold the fabric in place while I fold and stitch.

Unlike when I first started, I have found the corner stitches are actually the most important and now do just one big baste stitch in between. I did find the folding part a bit tricky at first, but now I find it's a bit like when you are wrapping a gift in a box. Then I make sure I do a little stitch on either side of the corner to hold it in place. Just stitching in the point results in a hexagon that won't be a hexagon...

(note: there's like a scary double knot thing happening on the back of my hexie in these pictures...I didn't check my thread length and ran out in my rush to get stitching!)

I find it easier to cut my template a bit bigger than the one provided in the packet. Yes it uses more fabric but as a beginner or perhaps just as someone that origami and folding doesn't come naturally to, I have found it way easier to have some extra in the fold over.




All things considered, I am rather pleased with my make do plastic template. This print is going to look so cute mixed in with my other florals and prints!



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2 comments:

  1. Oh my! Love your fussies! I've been Hexie-mad for awhile now, and your clear plastic template idea is fab!

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    1. They are fun aren't they Kim! :-) Hexies are the best. I'm glad my template worked so well, I think when I can find some I will upgrade it to template plastic ;-) Have a lovely Christmas, Megan

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