Revisting Hexagons - Part Three

My newest "old" quilt.
Just found this treasure at a flea market this past weekend.  Couldn't resist it.  I love 1930's quilts and although this one has been used, it is still in really good condition.  The workmanship is excellent.
Plus, if fits right in with my Hexagon series.
O.k., you want to make one of these lovelies and you want to English Paper Piece it.  Where to start?
Well, let's start with the papers.  Paper Pieces is famous for their paper shapes.  They are pre-cut, accurate and ready to use.  Their website has a lot of info on it. I am not going to repeat all the info they offer here, so go there and read what they have to say about it all. 
There are other ways to get accurate paper pieces.  One is to buy a punch like one of these:
The white punch is fairly new and made by Fiskars.  You can find it at places like Jo Ann and Michael's.  The other punch is one I found at a flea market a long time ago.  The price is still on it.  Looks like it was $3.00.  You can punch your own papers and not have to worry about running out in the middle of a project.
Another way to get your papers is with a Sizzix machine.  Here is the one I have.
This one is an electric model, but they make hand crank ones as well.
You can visit the Sizzix website to see what they have to offer and how the machine works.  They are steel rule die cutting machines.  That means that you can not only cut paper, but fabric as well.  They are great machines. I have had various versions of them for years.  This past summer Hobby Lobby stores around here put their Fabi dies on clearance.  These dies are the same as Sizzix dies, but they put the new name on them and targeted the quilting market.  Guess it didn't work so well at H.L., as the were on clearance.  I bought these hexagon dies:
Don't know how well these show up.  They are on a box that has red handles.  The box has nothing to do with the dies.
Here are the sizes they cut:
The sizes of the sides are: 1/2", 3/4", 1" and 1 1/4".  This means that you can cut the paper with the 1/2" one and the fabric with the 3/4" one and so on.  Very handy. The dies are all the same outer dimensions, so the amount of pieces you get varies with the size.  You get 16 pieces with the 1/2" die, but since you can cut 8 layers at a time, one pass through the machine will give you 128 pieces.  Not bad.
I use inexpensive index cards that the Dollar Tree sells or magazine inserts for the paper pieces.

Above is a photo of the back of a feedsack project.  It is my summer project - something easy to do when we are RVing.  You can see both the index cards and the magazine inserts. I will put the project up for the winter. 
O.k., that about says it for obtaining your paper pieces. 
One of the reasons that I have changed my mind about EPP is the seam allowance problem I have with this project:
I have boxes and boxes of these hexies, stamped, cut out and organized.  The problem is that the piece is only 1/2" on the side and the standard 1/4" seam allowance is just too big.  I can either continue hand sewing them, and then trimming the seam allowance after fighting to get them ironed in the right direction - ugh - or switch to EPP where the seam allowance is at least split in two directions (so that it will be possible to quilt through them) and tamed somewhat.  Which brings me to a couple of points:
1. Some people just start with a scrap of fabric (not a hex shape) and baste the fabric down to the paper.  I am not a proponent of this.  I like a neat seam allowance.
2. I don't sew the fabric to the paper.  I just take a backstitch at every corner and  go around the piece.  That way the basting can remain in the hex and keep the seam allowance nice and flat.  Also, there is no need to remove the basting to get the paper out - it just slips right out.  I leave the papers in until the hex is completely sewn in to other pieces on all sides and then remove it. I just whip stitch all the hexes together.  There are different methods for this, but a whip stitch is the fastest way for me.
3. I like the fact that I can spray starch the pieces with the paper in and keep everything nice and flat.
Well, that's about it for this series. If you have any questions, let me know.
I leave you with this pic of an antique charm quilt I have.  The hexes are about 2" on a side.
Till next time...




Jill said…
Okay, a lot to think about here.......thanks for all the great information. But, I am wondering.....if you have put the hexie project away (since it is a summer project) what will you be working on this winter? Looking forward to what that might be.
Beautiful hexagon quilt--am just learning this technique and am trying to start slow with something simple
That is the way I do my EPP hexagons too except that I use card stock and punch a hole in the center so they can be removed and reused. Thanks for sharing your method!

Popular Posts