The Free Motion Quilting Project: 73. English Paper Piecing Part 2: Turning Hexagon Edges

Monday, November 11, 2013

73. English Paper Piecing Part 2: Turning Hexagon Edges

It's piecing time! Last week we learned the basics of design with pieced hexies. Today we're going to learn how to turn those edges, then later this week we'll finish up with connecting them together.

Now you might be wondering what got me so psyched about hexies in the first place. I really caught this bug from Mickey Depre after taking the Craftsy class Pieced Hexies. If you're looking for even more amazing hexagon inspiration, definitely check out her fun class!

Turning the edges is not a hard task, but it is slow and there's a method to this madness. I worked on my 160+ hexies in the following way:

1. Cut strips of fabric - Place your chosen paper piece size on your ruler and estimate at least 1/4" around the shape on all sides.

2. Pin shapes to fabric - You should know the number of hexagons you need based on your master design on graph paper. Pin hexies to the strip, leaving at least 1/2 inch between the shapes.

3. Cut out and turn the edges - Working 1 at a time, cut the pinned hexie off the strip and turn and baste the edges as shown in the video.

While it's definitely a time consuming project, it's also very portable. I kept all my hexies in a little pouch with needle and thread and was able to piece almost anywhere, even in the line at the grocery store.

After turning a mess of hexies, we'll next learn how to connect them together on Thursday so make sure to check back for the last part later this week!

If you absolutely can't wait, do check out the Craftsy class Pieced Hexies for a really fun spin on this whole idea. Mickey Dupre teaches you how to piece the shape itself, THEN turn the edges, to create a variety of cool designs within the traditional hexagon shape. She's really taking hexagons to a whole new level! Click here to get 33% off this awesome Craftsy class.

Let's go piece!

Leah Day


  1. This is too complicated and fussy a method.
    Better to mark on fabric using a hexagon template - allowing 1/4" between each hexagon shape. Cut out. Insert pin in centre of each patch and tack around each hexagon.

  2. Iron on wash out hexies are available in a variety of sizes or you can make your own from the applique paper.

    Helen shows how to use them with glue to turn the edges so that you are left with just sewing the hexies together. Much faster than the traditional method of English paper piecing!

  3. There is an easy way to prepare your hexies so that all that is left is to sew them together: you use iron on wash out applique paper (precuts are available for several hexie sizes or you can make your own) and glue the folded edges. Helen Stubbings has a tutorial on her blog with a link to buy the wash out hexie and paper.

  4. Leah, your method seems the most efficient: no marking, no ironing, no gluing. Just eyeball your seam allowances, cut, and baste. It's compact, portable, and clean, which the other methods are not. I enjoy the process of hand sewing and feeling a resonance with women of the past. Fiskars has punches for 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch hexies, which I punch out of junk mail envelopes, just a bit sturdier than plain paper.


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