hand sewing hexagons and paper piecing on the cheap……

hand pieced hexagon patchwork

When I was having a bit of a tidy up last week I found a whole load of fabric covered paper hexagons…I’d already sewn some together in clusters but had obviously moved on to a new project and had promptly forgotten about them.

As it’s so lovely and light in the mornings I’ve been getting up really early (this is also thanks in part to a certain gentleman that mews for attention at a most ungodly hour)…while the rest of the house is sleeping I try to be quiet so I thought I’d sew more of the hexagons together and make a couple of cushion covers.

back view of the hexagon patchwork

The hexagons themselves are 2 inches across at the widest point (so the sides measure 1 inch)…I cut the papers all out by hand a few summers ago, at the time I couldn’t seem to find anywhere that sold a hexagon paper punch though since then I’ve seen a few places on-line….I could have bought some pre-cut papers but I’m happy to cut and make my own out of sheets of old note paper and a couple of free magazines from a local health food store.  (if you’re going to do this then it’s super important to be very accurate with your cutting, if not your hexagons won’t have equal sides and then you’ll be spending all your time rotating them round to try to get them to fit together…trust me, I speak from experience.)

This set of joined hexagons is pretty much ready to have a back sewn on, the cushion cover will measure about 19 x 15 and a bit inches….and is made up of 123 little hexagons.

hand pieced hexagons

Once I start sewing hexagons I find it hard it very hard to stop, so I’ve begun piecing together some more to make another cushion cover.  As well as being “thrifty” and making my own papers, I also like to make my own cushion inserts*….

I’ve sewn the hexagons together pretty randomly, I try not to use the same print or pattern too often and try to mix up the colours and tones as much as possible.

papers in hexagon piecing

Making hexagons is a great way to use up odd shapes of fabric from a scrap box, I like to pin my hexagon in place on the fabric and then cut round it, generally leaving a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance (5/8 inch if possible) and then I sew the fabric over on it’s self, securing all the corners with 3 or 4 small stitches..

I don’t sew through the paper as I find the slightly extra seam allowance holds the hexagon template in place fine, and it also saves having to unpick all the basting threads…..sewing the fabric over the corners means the hexagons keep a nice neat shape and adds an extra bit of stability to the patchwork.  And I like to remove them from the centre of the patchwork, keeping them in really only the outside edge.

work basket while sewing patchwork

My sewing work box changes with each new thing I’m working on at any one time…when I’m making posy brooches then there are fat wool needles tucked into a piece of blanket fabric, transparent threads and pieces of felt, brooch pins and small fabric scissors, today it’s full of a selection of vintage threads  (I like piecing the pieces with pink and brown threads, I find they blend as well as traditional grey), a needle-case full of super fine sharps and applique needles, odd papers that I remove from the patchwork centre, a handful of Clover wonder grips which I think hold the hexagons in place better than pins and my most poshest ooh lah lah embroidery scissors.

*All the wool fabric scraps that get left over from when I’m sewing Christmas stockings, tea cosies, hot water bottles and coat hangers, gets cut up into small pieces and then I sew together a couple of big squares cut from old curtain lining or a couple of fat quarters of an un-wanted fabric to make a pocket which I then fill with the fabric snips.  This makes for a lovely fat cushion which you can plump up like a feather one, and which gives a good home for fabric pieces which you can’t really do a lot with.

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4 thoughts on “hand sewing hexagons and paper piecing on the cheap……

    1. I’ve just finished sewing them up into cushions, as a lot of the fabric used is 70’s and early 80’s they remind me of cushions that used to be at my nanny’s house.

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