Emergency hex-it how to…

Well, there’s no point writing a QuiltCon post as you’ve probably read all about it and seen all the photos and besides the tragic and sad demise of my iPhone means I have no photos to share. C’est la vie. Move on Lorena…

So instead, I can finally focus on writing a tutorial to use my Emergency Hex-it kit that I gave to a few friends at QuiltCon. The kits included an acrylic template and seven 1″ hexagon papers, enough to make one hexagon flower. Maybe to keep in your handbag for crafty emergencies, just add fabric, needle and thread and voila – crisis averted!

It comes as a huge surprise that there are still some modern quilters out there who have never tried English paper piecing, oh hello Penny! Probably because I enjoy making samplers which aren’t always terribly modern, I learnt lots of different techniques to try to create all the different blocks.

Pairing up the technique of fussy cutting with English paper piecing can create a kaleidoscope of colour. Whilst it’s possible to machine piece fussy cut hexagons and other shapes, I like the portability of the paper pieced project. The acrylic template makes finding a motif and cutting the fabric super easy.

This tutorial will focus on making the hexie flower, I’ll follow this up with a tutorial to make the zipper pouch in case you can only sew one beautiful fussy cut hexie flower in your lifetime and want to share it with the world. Or you may become addicted and start a whole new quilt. For a grandchild. Mine is taking a while…

What will you need:

1″ Acrylic hexagon template with included 3/8″ seam allowance

7 1′ hexagon papers

fabric glue stick or needle and thread for tacking

strong, sharp needle

strong fine thread, a colour that blends into your fabric

cutting matt

small rotary cutter

a large piece of interesting fabric with at least 6 repeats of a motif (choosing fabric to fussy cut is an art itself, I should really write more about this)

Step 1

Spread out your fabric and slide the template around till you find a motif that you like and that you can see would repeat well. It doesn’t necessarily need to be completely symmetrical but that can help create the kaleidoscope effect. Check that you have six of the motifs on your piece of fabric before you start cutting!

Choosing a fussy cut motif

Step 2

Using a small rotary cutter, carefully cut around the template. Be careful not to shift the template and cut as accurately as possible.

You will use this first cut hexagon to position the template for the following 5 identical pieces.

Find your motif

Step 3

Position your template carefully over your hexagon and cut with your small rotary cutter.

Repeat till you have 6 identical hexagons.

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Step 4

Here comes the fun part, where you start to see your pattern emerge.

Take one of the fabric hexies, flip it over and place under the template.

Dab a tiny amount of glue in the middle. This will hold the paper template in place.

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Step 5

Centre the paper hexagon into the middle of the acrylic template.

Remove the acrylic template and repeat with the rest of your fabric hexies.

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Step 6

I prefer to use a glue stick to fold back my seam allowance.

You could also tack them down with needle and thread but I find I get better accuracy with the glue stick.

Use a thin line of glue at least 1/4″ from the edge of the paper. You don’t want to get glue where the needle and thread need to push through.

Fold over the seams one by one, creating neat folds in the corners.

Don’t pull the fabric too tight, you need a tiny gap at the edges to get your needle through later.

Don’t use too much glue! Those papers need to come out at the end.

Repeat with all six hexagons.

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Step 7

You’ll need an extra hexagon for the centre, that one needn’t be fussy cut so go ahead and pick a fabric that compliments your design. Then play around with your hexies to find a setting you like. It’s amazing how different they will look as you turn them.

I decided to go with the blue solid.

See that film that I’ve got under my hexie? I’m trying a tip from QuirkyGranolaGirl Melinda, it’s Press’n Seal and it keeps my pieces from disappearing in a gust of wind. High novelty factor as we don’t have this stuff in Australia! Probably a piece of batting will work just as well.

Anyway, time to stitch. I prefer to sew all the “petals” to the centre of the flower first but feel free to do what feels good for you.

Place your two prepared hexies together, make sure you’ve got the right edges together.

Use fine, strong thread and a strong, sharp needle to make little whipstitches over the edges of the templates. Don’t sew through the paper, there should be just enough fabric over the edges to slide your needle through. If not you may have glued your fabric too tightly or used too much glue.

Continue sewing the petals around your central hexie.

Always knot at the corners in case of thread breakage.

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Step 8

Continue sewing the hexies together by folding the flower in half and sewing the opposite seams till you’ve sewn all the seams.

You can see the folds here:

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Step 9

And voila! your beautiful fussy cut hexie flower is done.

See that wasn’t too hard at all. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect. The eye and brain work very well to forgive imperfection! And if not, take your glasses off or step back.

Next I’ll give you some tips on what you can do with one flower or maybe you want to make a whole quilt full of them?

Will you make one? I’d love to see it. If you share it on IG or Flickr please tag me or #emergencyhexit :-)

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Holiday Hexies

Do you have a long term project you just pick up a few times a year? Something that’s purely therapeutic, mindless and there’s no end game?
I do! It’s purely for fun and has no deadline whatsoever. I’m calling it Blissful Abandon. Sounds a bit Mills & Boon doesn’t it?

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I’ve been working on these 1″ fussy cut hexagons for over a year. I’m not in a rush as I’ve now worked out the longer it takes the more fabric I can include.

Fussy cutting is a pretty slow process, choosing the motif and then painstakingly cutting six identical shapes before stitching them over paper by hand.

Did I mention that it’s very relaxing? Highly recommend you give it a go :-)

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