Saturday, August 21, 2010

hand sewing hexagons - part 2 {quilting basics tutorial series}

hand sewing hexagons tutorial! {part 2}
{see part 1 for info on templates & basting}
{see part 3 for info on removing the plastic quilt patis and one finishing option}

personal note...
I meant to have this done & posted hours ago.. but I discovered and I'm addicted. Between last night and this morning I've spent 10+ hours on the site and digging through books and papers in the house.   I traced one part of my family 11 generations up from me back to 1614!!

Below are step by step directions for sewing hexagons together.  This tutorial will continue in step #3 with finishing directions.

{Directions are written for right handed people... if you sew left handed you'll have to reverse a a few steps.}

fabrics used in most tutorial photos are...
Mon Sheri by Khristian A. Howell {available in october}

1. After following the directions in part 1 you'll have a pile of hexagons.

2. You can sew them together to make a flower... or in a random arrangement.  The process for attaching them is the same.  Start by threading your hand sewing needle with no more than 18" of thread.

3. Select with two hexagons.

4. Pick them up...

5.  Fold one on top of the other along the side you want to sew together.

6. Until they are like this...

7. Turn the two hexagons so that the side you want to sew together is facing up.

8. Take your threaded needle in your right hand.

9. Begin sewing at the right corner and take very small stitches {or bites} out of the fabric.

10. Continue moving right to left along the seam.

11. At the end of the seam take an extra stitch to secure the seam.

12. This will be your result.

13. Choose the next hexagon to attach.  I suggest choosing one that can be attached to a seam where your thread is already attached to the pieces you just put together.

14.  Just like in step 9 take small stitches and begin to sew this seam.

15. When you reach the end, like in step 11, take an extra stitch to secure the seam.

16. This is the result.  Instead of sewing the open seam at the top I suggest again choosing to add another hexagon where your thread is already attached to the pieces you just put together.  {This is personal preference... no single way is right or wrong.}

17. The next hexagon to add.

18. Folded onto of the unit.

19. Beginning to sew it in place.  {Again like step 9}

{another angle}

20. Eventually you'll come to a point where your thread is not in a location where you need to add another piece.  You could tie a knot and start over, but if you still have a good amount of thread left there is another option.  Place your needle into the seam allowance near the corner your thread is at and take one long running stitch to the closest intersection that has an open seam.

21. Pull the needle out at that intersection.

22. Think of the hexagon intersections as a Y shape.  The first two seams are easier as you can put the hexagons together back to back.  {See step 8 Photo}  Sewing the last seam isn't hard... just a bit tricky to get used to.  Hold the hexagons together with your left hand and take tiny stitches with your right.

23. The plastic templates don't bend as easily as the paper ones but I still prefer to use them for their overall benefits.  Continue sewing along until you finish all the seams.

A finished flower!

the back

If you are making a larger piece you can remove the hexagon templates once all six sides have another hexagon sewn to them.  {As shown in the bottom right of this photo.}

In part 3 I'll show you finishing directions!

happy stitching!!


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© 2009-2022 Julie R. Herman. All rights reserved.
No part of this tutorial may be reproduced without written consent of Jaybird Quilts. 


  1. I love direction #4!:) And no fair using fabric we can't get until October!! like the plastic ones better...need more info on that please!:) We have paper ones at work but so far I'm liking what I see here so please....elaborate on the plastic vs paper issues!:)

  2. DeeRoo,

    the details on the plastic ones are in part 1 of this series!


  3. Thank you so much for the 2nd lesson! I'm still waiting for the Quilt Patis Hexagon Templates to arrive so I haven't even started the 1st step - and I can hardly wait!! Your instructions are so clear and easy to follow.

  4. tracing family history is soooo amazing!! we have done the same... my fabric line Arabella was named for a lady WAY back on my family tree! have fun... what countries have you found?

  5. Lovely fabric choices in that flower! You make me want to pick my hexies back up and finally finish that quilt top I started so long ago...

  6. I must say your step by step photos are wonderful! It makes following along much easier. I haven't started hexies like this yet...maybe soon. Not sure I want another addiction yet!! :)

  7. Love the hexies, I have some Verna I want to make a bunch with but have yet to get started. Hopefully once school starts.

    I love looking at my family's genealogy which, by the way, has both Fischer (my maiden name) and Herman (paternal grandmother's maiden name)in it.

  8. Just a word of caution, some people add information to their online tree without actually verifying its accuracy, so instead of copying information from other trees you find, you should use that as a hint for where to look next. It is definately a very addicting hobby.

  9. very clear tutorial, thanks for sharing it with the hex crazy masses in blogland. I've been piecing with Quilt Patis templates for nearly 4 years now and I've discovered a few tricks that make basting and piecing go a bit faster. Here, I made a video last year:
    Quilt Patis piecing

    For starters, I hold the fabric in place with 2 paperclips instead of a pin through the center. And to avoid the tricky-ness of your step #22, when you're stitching all the petals around a hex flower center, it's easiest to sew 6 petals on and then pop the center template out so you can fold it and sew up the petal seams. I basically do the same thing in my diamond video. I've found it's easier to sew the seams in a certain order instead of dealing with a tricky seam every so many minutes. This has really sped up my piecing and keeps my flow, you know?
    I'm just about done with a queen size diamond star top (pics on the blog shortly, or click Travel Quilt #2 in my sidebar) and I've already started my third quilt with QP templates, along with a pillow in hexagons (i needed to see what everyone was so crazy about!). I have given demos to 2 guilds and recommend QP templates to anyone that shows interest in English paper piecing.
    I totally don't mean to "correct" your technique or your tutorial, but seeing as your blog gets a lot more traffic than mine, I thought I'd pass on what I've learned.

    Jessica in NY

  10. OK, you convinced me, I need to make some hexies, just printed off the template, will be following the rest of your tutorial.

  11. you might be convincing me to get my girls and i started on a hex quilt to keep in the family! you made this look so much easier than I ever thought it would be! -kg

  12. Hand sewing hexagons . . . one of my favorite things. Congrats on all your new endeavors.

  13. What type of thread do you suggest sewing they hexi's together with? For my basting I used whatever because I knew it would be removed at some point.

  14. Thank you for such great tutorials! I am just starting my hexagons :D

  15. Great tutorial! Where can we buy the plastic quilt patis?

  16. How to you make the coners of the quilt??


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