Monday, September 19, 2011

Little hexies all in a row... tutorial

I just love the block I came up with for the 3 x 6 bee, so I decided to write it up as a tutorial.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

This pattern is for a 12" finished block, and is a great way to use up some scraps.  So what exactly do you need?

  • a piece of background fabric 12 1/2" by 12 1/2"
  • fabric scraps
  • a hexagon template with 1 1/4" sides (incompetech is a great place to make your hexie)
  • scissors
  • a pencil
  • fusible web

First, choose your palette and fabrics.  For this block I needed fabrics in aqua, yellow, and chartreuse.  If you want to make each hexie from a separate fabric you'll need to pick 11 prints/solids.

Using your template, trace 9 full hexies and 2 half hexies on the paper side of your fusible web.  I like to use a mechanical pencil as it gives a really tight line.  Cut out your hexies and half hexies!

Set your iron to a medium setting, somewhere around silk, or follow the instructions on your web for the suggested setting.  Place your first hexie web side down on the back side of your first fabric, making sure there's enough room all round for 1/4" seem allowances.  Press your hexie, bonding it to the fabric.  Cut out leaving a 1/4" seem allowance.  Repeat with the remaining hexies and halves.

Press the seam allowances of the hexie in over the paper,just as if you were basting them down for English paper piecing.  With the half hexies only press the short sides, the long side will be left as is and become part of the seam allowance of the block.  It's a good idea to press all your pieces then move on so that you will be working with cool hexies for the next step.

Now you're going to open up those pressed seam allowances and take out the paper backing.  Try to keep the folds you've put in as sharp as possible!

Use the very tip and edge of your iron to gently press the seam allowance to the fusible web.  If it doesn't want to stick your iron may be too hot and the web melting too much.  Let the piece cool a few seconds then finger press.

Once all your hexies are prepped, it's time to start positioning them.

To make sure your hexies really are all in a row, grab a ruler and line one edge of your background fabric up under the 2 1/4" mark.  Place your first hexie with one point on the edge of the ruler, right at the half way mark (if your ruler is lined up with the edge of your fabric this should be 6 1/4").

Next, place your 2 outer hexies, once again lining them up with one point touching the ruler.  Position them so that the side closest to the edge is a bit more than 1/4" in from the edge.  3/8" is perfect.

Now add two more hexies into the gaps.

Next, fill in the second row of hexies, using the spacing between the ones in the first row as a guide.  Gently press the hexies in place once you're happy with their positioning.

Applique using your favourite technique (I used my machine's blanket stitch).


Whew, I think we all need a drink after that!  Grapefruit gimlet anyone?


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