Traditional English paper piecing (EPP) has grown so much in popularity in the last few years and although I have not made a whole quilt using this technique I have had fun using EPP on or for various projects that I have made. Here is one of the blocks from 'Stitched By Me', notice the little hexagon quilt that the bird cage is on :) its EPP.
Another favorite of mine is 'Badger Cottage', where I joined hexagons to make the pencil case.
'Chateau Hexagon', my new mystery button club which is due to start in June has as its name suggests both a chateau (house) and hexagons on it and I have had a few enquires about how to do hexagons not only for this 'coming soon' project but for projects in general.
So, lets gather our tools.
I am using some lovely milliners needles (they come in this cute container), a superbob of thread in a non descript colour so that it blends with your fabrics, scissors and a glue pen. I use a thimble but I forgot to put it in the photo in any case I was probably wearing it!
There are two types of papers that you can use for EPP, the traditional paper ones which are reuseable or a new style that are made from water soluble paper. Both are fantatic products, the paper ones are more cost effective as they are reuseable but I am loving the water soluble ones as they make it so much quicker.
Both the paper and the water soluble hexagons come in a variety of sizes
Today I am using the water soluble hexies...place them shiny (glue) side down on the wrong side of your fabric making sure there is enough room between each hexie for the seam allowance.
Using a hot iron press in place, take care not too glide the iron too much as I found the little holes for the steam in my iron caught the edges of the hexies when I wasnt paying attention and distorted them...opps!
Cut out each hexagon with a small seam allowance (scant 1/4" is fine)
Put a small line of glue stick glue on the edge of the paper, this is the same for paper or water soluble hexagons).
Fold edge of fabric over paper shape and press lightly with fingers so glue can hold in place.
Repeat for next edge
until all edges are in place.
Prepare a large pile of hexagons and then you are ready to stitch. To begin take two hexagons and place them right sides together.
Thread your needle and put a double knot in the end of it ...doing a whip stitch and catching only the tiniest amount of fabric stitch across the two hexagons. The long fine Milliners needle will really help you take those tiny stitches and because the needle is one thickness you wont be making gigantic holes in the fabrics.
Keep stitching, taking tiny stitches, by the time I had got half way along this 1" hexie I had taken approx. 12 stitches. Of course you can do bigger or less stitches but they will probably show when you open it out and look at the right side and you may not like what you see!
Here is my opened out stitched together hexagons, you can hardly see the stitches and so its worth using the superbob thread and Milliners needles.
If you are using paper hexagons the papers will need to be removed but the water soluble papers can be left in place which if you are going to applique the hexagons (ie: Chateau Hexagon) onto a background fabric they certainly make life easier!
I hope this has helped, if you have any questions please feel free to email me.