Piecing Hexagons on the Sewing Machine
Hexagon Quilts made using the traditional technique have been around since at least the 1700s and were very popular in America in the 1930s. Two methods can be used to make a Hexagon Quilt. One is to use large hexagons and sew them together on the sewing machine, or the traditional way using the English Paper Piecing Method.
The purpose of this tutorial is to show you how to make a Hexagon Quilt in a simple and achievable way. So I will abandon traditions and show you step by step how to make a beautiful Hexagon Quilt by cutting your hexagons, arranginging a design and sewing it together on the sewing machine.
How to make a Hexagon Template.
Detail of a Hexagon Cot Quilt sewn together on the sewing machine.
The Hexagon Pattern.
Download and print off the template.
Cut Fabric Hexagons ready to be arranged and pieced together.
You can make your Hexagon Template using two methods. Method 1- Requires a sheet of Plastic to make the Template (available at Quilt Stores), Lead Pencil, Ruler and Scissors. Method 2- Requires Freezer Paper (available at Quilt Stores), Ruler, Lead Pencil and Scissors.
Please select one of the following methods to create your Hexagon Template.
1. Place the plastic sheet over the top of the Hexagon Pattern and trace the shape onto the plastic using a lead pencil and a ruler.
2. Carefully cut out the plastic Hexagon shape. Now you have a Hexagon Template.
a. You will need a length of Freezer Paper. The paper has two different sides to it. The paper size which you will transfer the Hexagon Pattern onto and the shiny side. To see the pattern through the paper place the Hexagon Pattern against a window and and trace the shape. b. Carefully cut out the paper Hexagon shape.
Making your Fabric Hexagons
Chosing your Fabrics for the Hexagon Quilt
A great way to start is to either find a beautiful piece of backing fabric and select colours for your Quilt which will go well with the backing fabric. Or look at using a selection of fabric from a range that a designer has created. Using fabrics from a range means the designs and colours on the fabrics will naturally go together well.
The fabric range I selected (pictured above) is called Up Parasol by Heather Reiley by Free Spirit. I selected fabrics
from this range and my own stash of fabrics for my Quilt.
Up Parasol- Free Spirit
Using the Plastic Template
Please note that you can purchase sets of Plastic Hexagons in various sizes from Quilting Stores. Feel free to use these to transfer your Hexagon Shape onto your fabric. Obviously they many vary in sizes to the one I have provided for you. I would suggest you use the largest hexagon shape to begin with, as it will make sewing together your hexagons mauch easier.
1. Press the fabric to be cut with the iron. Place the plastic Hexagon Template on top of the reverse side of the fabric.
2. Trace around the template with a lead pencil.
3. Carefully cut out the fabric hexagon using scissors or using your rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat.
Using the Freezer Paper
1a. & 1b. Press the fabric with the iron and place the paper hexagon shape on top of the fabric with the shiny side of the paper facing downwards. Press with the iron again and the paper will stick to the fabric. Carefully cut around the outside of the paper hexagon and peal off the paper. This paper can be used over and over again to make more Fabric Hhexagons. 2. Shows the Paper Hexagon and the Fabric Hexagon just cut.
One more thing about choosing your Fabrics for the Hexagons
When you are selecting fabrics for your Hexagon Quilt choose a mix of fabrics with designs on them and some solid colours, stripes and dots to break up the designs featured on the fabrics. In the Up Parasol range I chose to use the bird fabric pictured below (3a, 3b & 3c). Select an area on the fabric and placed your Plastic Hexagon Template over the top of the fabric trace around the Hexagon and cut it out. Use this method to determine which sections of the fabric you would like to feature in your Quilt.
Your Hexagon Homework!
1. Find the fabrics you want to use in your Hexagon Quilt.Only use 100% Cotton Quilting Fabrics.
2. Download the Hexagon Pattern and create your Hexagon Template.
3. Make your Fabric Hexagons using your Hexagon Template.
4. How many do you need? The amount required will depend on the size of the Quilt you are making.
So work out roughly the finished size you want your Quilt to be.
Cut a resonable amount of fabric Hexagons to begin with. Once you have decided on your Quilts Arrangement and the Hexagons placement you may need to cut more of one particular colour or designs to even out the Quilt. So you really can not predict at this stage.
What is next?
Arranging your Fabric Hexagons and sewing them together.