Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hexagon Sewing Tutorial

Hello Everyone

I promised a hexagon sewing tutorial quite awhile ago.   This is just the way that I sew my hexagons; it's not the only way.   In a lot of cases I try to play mind games with myself when sewing.  An example is when I'm hand sewing binding.   I start close to a corner, so after I turn that first corner I feel like I'm a quarter of the way finished.   I know that's not true, but if you can trick yourself into thinking you are closer to the finish than you really are, you get more of a sense of accomplishment and don't feel discouraged at trying to complete the task you are working on. (or at least that's the way I feel).

Hexagons do take awile to sew together, but it's like anything else --- the more you do, the faster you get.  

There are several ways to baste hexagons:

(1) Take a whip stitch at the corners folding one corner over as you are stitching. (photo below).
(2) Whip stitching the corners sewing through the paper piece.  (I feel like this one is hard on my hands.)

(3) Glue basting using the Sew Line glue pen.  This has become very popular and is my choice for basting paper pieces right now.   You simply baste your hexagon shape over the paper piece using a light line of glue.  Be sure to put the glue on the paper and keep it away from the edge where the fabric is folded over.  That way you are not trying to stitch your hexagons together through the dried glue.  These glue pens and refills are sold at most quilt shops.  I buy mine at Back Door Quilts.  

The first thing I do is sew my hexagons into pairs.   That is pretty mindless sewing that you can do while talking or watching TV.  I just put two sides together and stitch.  The only time you have to watch the orientation of the hexagons is if you are sewing fussy cut hexagons.    You can read my Fussy Cutting Tutorial here.  The link can also be found under my blog header.

   Sewing hexagons into pairs is part of my mind game.   Once they are in pairs, the whole hexagon comes together pretty quickly.

Here are my pairs of hexagons.

To sew these hexagons together, I first put the two hexagons right sides together and take 2 or 3 stitches.

Then I sew using a flat ladder stitch (photo below) to finish sewing.  This helps to hide your stitches on the right side of the hexagon.

Next I sew the pairs into hexagon rings.   (I sew the six hexagons together leaving an opening to form a ring as shown below.)  The arrow shows the opening.

 I have always done it this way because that is the way my Grandmother sewed her hexagons.   Here is a photo of one of her hexagons below.  The difference is that she sewed the entire ring and then sewed the inside ring together.   You can see that her template was the Joker from a deck of cards.  Her hexagons were all hand pieced and cut with scissors.  (She lived from 1888-1980 so this fabric is pretty old.)

I have a box full of her hexagons that I need to put together.  You can see that she has cut enough hexagons for a block and held them together with a thread knotted at one end and then a stitch through the stack.

I sew my hexagons this way because I can thread the needle once and sew the center into the hexagon ring with this one thread.   Start sewing at the start arrow and go around the center ending by sewing the last two pieces together by sewing your way out of the hexagon ring.   

Here are some of the hexagons that I've fussy cut.   

The hexagons in the above photo were cut from the fabric shown below.    

I keep a container like the one below full of 1" bright hexagons that are basted.  I also have a container of 1" reproduction fabric hexagons and a third container of 3/4" reproduction fabric hexagons.   

Below are several photos of 3/4" hexagons that are fussy cut from reproduction fabrics.

When you have a few hexagons sewn into flowers, you can either join them together with a background fabric (a path), or you can hand or machine applique' them onto a background fabric.  I've done quilts both ways.   

If the repeat in a fabric is like the one below - kind of a tossed flower pattern - I will take one hexagon that I've fussy cut and place it on the same flower in the fabric and trace around it.   That way you are sure to always get the exact same shape in each hexagon.  

Happy Hexagon Sewing and English paper piecing.   If you haven't already tried English paper piecing, I hope you will give it a try.    If you have any questions, email me or leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.   


  1. I usually sew my individual hexie to the inner hexie and work my way around adding another hexie. I like the way you do it in pairs and then sew the whole ring to the center. Mentally, it would feel like I'm accomplishing more faster, and I could later decide what fabric would look best in the center. Thanks for sharing this technique.

  2. Wonderful tutorial - will definitely try attaching that last center hexie using your method...love that you have your Grandma’s sweet hexies - a precious link to her and all she meant to you. In our quilting guild, I first learned years ago about keeping stacks together with a thread sewn through the middle - we had older members who taught and shared so much. They are missed.

  3. Very nice visual of how you do your hexagons. I no longer go through the paper, I use Paper Pieces acrylic templates for the size I am using with a larger seam allowance. I do take the double stitch at corners. I have not tried doing the center one like you show, that is something new to consider.
    Thank you for a wonderful post Lu Ann! Have a great week and Easter!

  4. You have a lovely collection of hexagons; I start with the center and add my hexies around it--don't know why, but my Mom did hers that way..
    I am hoping to get back to my sorely neglected hexies soon...They are such fun to work on...hugs, Julierose

  5. Great tutorial!! I will post a link to this on my blog.

  6. I absolutely never tire of your incredible fussy-cuts! Though I personally am not usually in the mood to work on either of my hexie projects, I do love the look of them!

  7. I tried epp a few years ago but simply couldn't get the hang of it. Frankly, I'd much rather admire all the beautiful work you (and others) do, and stick to what I "can" do. Your tutorial is very explicit, and helps me understand the process a little better, ar any rate!

  8. Thank you for your insite to EPP. i am going to do the pairing up sewing, it goes so much faster and the final finish is great too. I have just started the ladder stitch and it works great, except i have the two face to face and then open the 2 hexies and pull the stitches tight so that i am not fighting so much with flat sewing. It seems to work for me. Great advise in this post :) thank you


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