Ways to join Double-faced Hexies

This is the last post of the Double-Faced Hexie Hexalong – for more please see the Overview.

For a start I’ll share with you 3 ways to join the hexies, but there are a few more ways of doing so. I will add them to this post as I happen to do them.

On this page:
A note on joining Double-faced Hexies
Joining with reversed Whip Stitch “Plus”
Joining with Ladder Stitch “Plus”
“Troubleshooting”

Click on images for larger view

For these examples I used contrasting thread and rather large stitches to emphasise the differences. What looks “sloppy” here will hardly show when you use matching thread and make smaller stitches.

I’ve sewn the hexies from the top, that is “wrong” sides together; you’ll get a slightly different result when you sew from the back – test what you prefer.

A note on joining Double-faced Hexies

The great advantage of Double-Faced Hexies is that you can grow your quilt piece by piece, and when it’s done it’s done – no batting, lining, border or additional quilting necessary (although of course you can add any of those).

The batting or lining or border, however, also adds stability to the quilt, especially to wearable quilts and throws.

The Double-faced Hexies are only held together by stitches, that means that when you make a quilt that will be worn, stretched, washed, serve as a play tent,… or items like bags which may need to hold some weight, it’s a good idea to pay extra attention to the seams.

The “Plus” is a small Backstitch I make every 3 or 4 or 5 stitches, depending on how strong the joint needs to be. Before making this Backstitch, pull the thread tight, but not so tight that the fabric scrunches up.

For sewing “heavy duty” items, use smooth and strong high quality threads. Apart from special quilting thread and thread for sewing jeans you can use … thin cotton crochet yarn (No. 80), the type you’d use for lace around handkerchiefs. It’s a bit thicker than normal thread but it comes in many colours, is a joy to stitch with and very sturdy.

And of course – if you like larger and very visible stitches – you can use embroidery thread like stranded or pearl cotton or smooth linen thread for lace-making.

Joining with reversed Whip Stitch “Plus”

One way of joining hexies which I won’t describe here in detail is the normal Whip Stitch which we used for securing the edge of the ribbons we made.

The way I learned to do EPP = English Paper Piecing was with Reversed Whip Stitch, that is the longer bit of the stitch is hidden in the fabric (my name for it – if you know a different expression please say so).

Joining with Ladder Stitch “Plus”

The Ladder Stitch is slightly looser than the Whip Stitch – be sure to pull the thread tight before you make Backstitches.

“Troubleshooting”

Well, I hope there won’t be much trouble, but there are two issues you might be confronted with.

The open side of a Plain or Half Hexie is a bit too short. Remedy: Roll/push the seam a bit inside, then the opening will become wider. Finger-press the new edge fold. – If you basted with glue stick, you might need to loosen the flaps first.

Adjust opening of Plain Hexie.
Adjust opening of Plain Hexie.

The corner of a hexie has “disappeared” or moved (happens when the crease was not sharp enough or the hexie has been handled a lot). Remedy: Move = roll the fabric in place and crease again.

In addition, especially with fabric that in general does not hold creases well, it can help to secure the corner point with a small horizontal stitch.

Adjust corner of Flower Hexie.
Adjust corner of Flower Hexie.
Pinch in place.
Pinch in place.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments.

I hope you enjoyed this Hexalong – have a good week 🙂

Maria

Review November and Preview December

Since my posts about the Process Pledge and Sustainable Balance I’ve been thinking about a way that will allow me to show you more of what I do as I’m doing it – that is in bits and pieces as they come, and certainly not only hexies 😉 – but at the same time present these snippets in an organised manner so you can easily find what you are looking for.

Today for instance I’ll share with you 3 ways to join the hexies, but there are a few more possibilities. I will add those to that post as I happen to do them and inform you of the addition with a quick link.

Until I find a good way to organise the snippets, I might be shuffling things around a bit. If you happen to click a link that doesn’t work, please say so.

The Monthly Theme for December is “The Gift of Your Time”, which I hope will allow for a variety of topics, not just technique as with last month’s hexalong/workshop.

I welcome questions – I never believed the myth of a “stupid” question 😉 Please post them in the comments below.

Happy December to you!

Maria

Embroidery Stitches – Loopy Stitches

This post is part of the Double-faced Hexie Hexalong – for more information please see the Overview.

You may know the Buttonhole or Blanket Stitch, the Feather Stitch or Chain Stitch, or perhaps some other variation – there are so many in this loopy family, and quite a few have several names 🙂

On this page:
The principle of Loopy Stitches
Some examples – with metallic threads on Flower Hexies
An additional tip for embroidering hexies

Click on images for larger view

The principle of Loopy Stitches

What makes a Loopy Stitch different from other stitches?

After the needle comes out from the fabric, it stays within the loop made by the thread and the thread crosses itself – something we usually try to avoid, but here it’s what we want.

When we pull the thread tight, the loop becomes smaller.

loopy stitches

Some examples – with metallic threads

By the way: Loose, generous Loopy Stitches are great for working with the often difficult metallic threads! And the stiffness of the metallic thread contributes to nice loops 🙂

Blanket Stitch - outwards.
Blanket Stitch – outwards.
Blanket Stitch - inwards.
Blanket Stitch – inwards.
Feather Stitch - first stitch.
Feather Stitch – first stitch.
Feather Stitch - second stitch.
Feather Stitch – second stitch.

An additional tip for embroidering hexies

The centers of the Trefoil, Pinwheel and especially the Flower Hexie are very delicate. They are well protected by a couched coil or fabric-covered button, but if you want for instance to add some sequins or beads, they fray easily.

The remedy is to create a “safety net” of threads that are well anchored in the fabric just outside the center. When attaching the sequins or beads, you can then latch onto those threads.

For creating the safety net, start with a few stitches for instance with the sewing thread, or with the embroidery thread right after you fastened it (see image below – I’ve started stitching the center with metallic thread. The red sewing thread is waiting to attach sequins and beads once the embroidery is done.).

Reinforce center of hexie.
Reinforce center of hexie.

When you finish a “petal”, don’t move on to the adjacent one, but skip one or go across the center. This way you reinforce the network without additional effort. If it looks messy, you’re on the right track 😉

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments.

Have a good weekend 🙂

Maria

Adding Batting or Wadding to Double-faced Hexies

<< Overview       << previous: Day 11

Day 12

Today I show you how I add batting to the Double-faced Hexies, in case you have a project that requires it.

On this page:
Materials and tools today
A note on adding batting or wadding to the hexies
Marking and cutting the batting
Basting/securing the batting
For you to do
Next time

Materials and tools today

  • hexagons
  • batting/wadding, a piece of flannel or terrycloth
  • for batting of a large Hexie: Small Hexie Template (not the Small Flower Hexie Template)
  • light coloured felt tip marker (see also Marking and Cutting below)
  • glue stick
  • sewing thread and needle
  • scissors

Click on images for larger view

A note on adding batting or wadding to the hexies

There are no “rules” to this, neither for the materials nor the process. I’ll just show you how I do it.

For myself, I don’t add any batting at all to small hexies, and I find Flower Hexies in general thick enough to do without batting. Regarding the others, that depends very much on the project, as does the material for the batting itself.

Securing the batting

Just adding the batting is not enough for projects that are handled or worn and washed, as the batting might move around. Therefore the batting needs to be secured close to the edge, at least near the corners.

For this you’ve got a choice of possibilities:

  • Invisibly = while doing some embroidery on the front by catching a bit of the batting at several points.
  • Visibly = on the reverse side, with embroidery or sewing thread. Especially the Plain and Half Hexies can be quilted through all layers.
  • If you want to secure the batting only on the reverse side, you can do that before you fold or sew the hexie or afterwards, when it’s finished.

Marking and cutting the batting

There’s one thing cotton, wool or polyester batting and terrycloth have in common: It’s a bit difficult to mark them.

Fortunately batting is malleable and quite forgiving as far as precision is concerned 😉

The batting needs to be a bit smaller than the hexie, else it may not lie flat; about 3mm // 1/8 inch less is fine unless your batting is really thick.

I mark it with a felt tip marker – when using a washable one, test that first. Some marker dyes and some fabrics really like each other… Also, when your fabrics are light and rather thin, dark or intense colours may shine through.

Basting/securing the batting

For you to do

From “plenty” to “nothing” – as you like:

“Nothing” consists in bookmarking this page for further reference 😉

“Plenty” could consist in taking for instance a couple each of the Pinwheel Hexies, Plain Hexies and Half Hexies, the same type of batting for all, and then testing whether you prefer securing the batting in advance to making the hexie or afterwards.

At the same time you can try out the different ways of securing them.

Next time

My review revealed that the content could do with a different organisation or structure. Therefore the rest of this workshop/tutorial will be in form of mini-posts.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments 🙂

Maria

 

 

Making Double-faced Plain Hexies and Half Hexies

<< Overview       << previous: Day 10

Day 11

A Plain Hexie is like a tiny quilt in itself – just two layers of fabric, plus, if you want, some batting. The Half Hexies are for achieving straight edges all around a larger quilt, but also within the quilt.

On this page:
Materials and tools today
A note on the templates for Plain Hexies
The Sew First, Cut Later method
Half Hexies
Tracing multiple Plain Hexies
For you to do
Next time

Materials and tools today

  • fabric (two scraps for one hexie – any colour or pattern
  • marking pen or pencil/sharpener
  • sewing thread and needle
  • scissors for cardboard and fabric
  • pins or safety pins

Click on images for larger view

A note on the templates for Plain Hexies

The Plain Hexie templates – as you find them in the pdf – are intended for machine sewing. The seam allowance (= the space between the dotted and the continuous line) is about 6 mm // 1/4 inch, so you can just align the cut edges with the footer of your sewing machine (it’s best to make a test hexie and measure it) >> tracing around the template will give you the line for cutting the fabric.

Cutting the Plain Hexie Template to adjust it for hand sewing

For hand sewing, cut the template right on the dotted line >> tracing around the template will give you the line for sewing the fabric, which means you need to add the seam allowance before you start cutting.

BUT: Both for hand sewing and machine sewing there is a different way, which I personally prefer because it leads to precise results without requiring precise cutting, a great advantage when cutting with scissors: Sew first, cut later.

The Sew First, Cut Later method

For a large Plain Hexie I use the Small Flower Hexie Template, which is slightly larger than the normal one and just right for what I want to do.

I haven’t added an equivalent template for making a small Plain Hexie with the sew first, cut later method as the tracing wasn’t precise enough – I recommend you use the cut-down template (see above) and estimate the seam allowance when cutting (see also end of tutorial).

Tracing

Sewing & cutting

For sewing the seams I use a combination of a few Running Stitches and a Backstitch. The stitches can be fairly long because the seams don’t need to be strong, but the Backstitches are necessary to keep the thread tight so the seams won’t open, especially at the corners.

Basting

After much skepticism, I’ve come to love basting with a glue stick, at least in cases like this where I only need temporary hold but can’t use pins.

The trick is to apply sufficient but not too much glue – try the edge of the glue stick which gives a thinner line. After basting with glue stick, let it dry. That can take up to an hour, but you can speed it up by ironing (between two pieces of baking paper, just in case the glue has spread beyond the flaps).

Most glue sticks wash out of most fabrics with warm water and a bit of detergent, but when in doubt, test it first.

Note: Basting is not an obligatory step. If you want to do without, finger crease the open edge well, from both sides, before you remove the basting thread. Then turn the hexie inside out.

Turning the hexie inside out

Note: In most cases I don’t close the open edge it’ll be closed automatically when I sew the hexies together (more on this when I show you how to join them).

Half Hexies

Depending on how you fold them, you get two different Half Hexies: edge-to-edge or point-to-point.

When sewing an edge-to-edge Half Hexie, sew two edges, secure the thread, and baste the third edge which will be the opening.

With the point-to-point Half Hexie, the edges right by the fold are too short for turning the hexie comfortably. Here’s what I do:

  • secure thread near the fold
  • sew short edge to first corner
  • secure thread
  • baste this first long edge (if I want to use the basting thread later to close the gap, I leave sufficient extra thread before I secure it at the next corner)
  • secure thread at second corner
  • sew all the way to the end
  • secure thread and cut

Before turning the hexie, all I need to do is to cut through the basting thread and remove it.

You probably won’t need to snip off any seam allowance at the folds.

Tracing multiple Plain Hexies

When you want to make several Plain Hexies with the same fabrics, you can economise fabric by arranging them in honeycomb fashion (the tracing didn’t come out well on this photo, you can see it better in the enlarged view – click the image).

If you don’t want to trace the seam allowance, just make sure you’ve got a distance of twice the seam allowance on all sides between the hexies!

For you to do

Make at least one Plain Hexie, and perhaps one each of the Half Hexies.

Next time

Next week we’re going to tie up some loose ends:

  • how to insert batting (or a layer of flannel or terry cloth)
  • “loopy” stitches
  • different ways of joining the hexies

Now that we’ve covered most of the basics – and I’m sure you’ve started developing project ideas of your own – I also want to show you some projects I’ve made / am still making this weekend. Which is why I’m not quite sure yet about the order of the tutorials and whether the next post will be on Monday.

Stay tuned!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments 🙂

Maria

 

 

Embellishments (3) – Attaching fabric-covered buttons to hexies

<< Overview       << previous: Day 9

Day 10

Top: Pinwheel Hexie with whip-stitched flat button *** Left: Flower Hexie with fabric-covered four-hole button *** Right: Flower Hexie with button-decorated, rimmed one-hole button
Top: Pinwheel Hexie with whip-stitched flat button *** Left: Flower Hexie with fabric-covered four-hole button *** Right: Flower Hexie with button-decorated, rimmed one-hole button


Embellishing the centers of our hexies is not only about making them pretty, but also about securing and protecting them. Without adequate embellishment, they might easily fray and tear apart. Just like couching, sewing on buttons is ideal.

On this page:
Materials and tools today
Sewing on a button – the quick way 🙂
Sewing on the fabric-covered four-hole button
Sewing on a fabric-covered button – invisibly
Sewing on a fabric-covered button – very visibly 😉
For you to do
Next time

Materials and tools today

  • some hexies, ready to have their centers embellished
  • the buttons you made
  • sewing/embroidery material and tools (a thimble might be helpful)
  • scissors
  • if you have some, small buttons or beads for decoration

Click on images for larger view

Sewing on a button – the quick way

To begin with, I’ll sew on a normal plastic button – with thick crochet yarn, but you can also use embroidery yarns.

The advantage is that I need to go only once through the holes and still have multiple threads holding the button securely on the fabric. The most important part is tying a really tight knot (= two half knots; a half knot is what you start with when tying your shoelaces).

And yes, that’s also how I often sew buttons onto garments or other textiles 🙂 The thick thread also gives the button that little extra space it needs to sit nicely on top of the buttonhole.

Sewing on the fabric covered four-hole button

I do it exactly as if it were a normal button. Here I used stranded cotton; the crochet yarn would have been too thick to pass through the fabric.

It can take a bit of probing and patience to find the first hole in the hidden plastic base, but once you got that, you can estimate where the others are.

Sewing on a fabric-covered button – invisibly

I’m using the one-hole button with a rim. I want to emphasize the rim by tying the fabric down at the center of the button, for instance with a small button (or a bead or sequin) or a little cross stitch.

As this is only decoration (and actually can be done beforehand), the button needs to be attached securely and invisibly in a different way, with small Ladder Stitches (as shown) or Whip Stitches.

Sewing on a fabric covered button – very visibly

Instead of using sewing thread and hiding the stitches, I’m using embroidery thread. You can do this with different stitches (for instance Whip Stitch, Herringbone, Buttonhole) but need to adapt them a bit – it’s not possible the normal way because of the plastic base. You’ll see what I mean.

For you to do

Try, test, play around and see how you can get the buttons onto your hexies!

Next time

On Friday Saturday = Day 11 I’ll show you how to make the last one-and-a-half  – the Plain Hexies.

You don’t need to pre-cut anything (I’ll show you a different method), but you’ll need the Large or Small Plain Hexie Template. If you only want to make a large Plain Hexie, you can also use the small Flower Hexie template.

Else:

  • fabric (two scraps for one hexie – any colour or pattern, or different, we’re not going to embroider it)
  • marking pen or pencil/sharpener
  • sewing thread and needle
  • scissors for cardboard and fabric
  • pins or safety pins

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments 🙂

Maria