Things You'll Need
- Paper (can be recycled)
- Hexagon template
- Rotary cutter
- Paper blade
- Various fabrics
- Rotary fabric blade
- Ironing board
- Backing fabric
- Quilt batting
- Binding fabric
- Sewing machine
- Straight pins
There are two ways to make a hexagon quilt. One is to use larger hexagons and piece them like any other quilt. The traditional way (discussed here) is called foundation piecing, with the specific technique being English paper piecing. Hexagon quilts made by the traditional technique have been around since at least the 1700s. They enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in America in the 1930s as a design commonly known as Grandmother's Flower Garden.
Cut Paper Templates
Stack five papers together.
Place the hexagon template on top of the stack of papers.
Use the rotary cutter and paper blade to cut the hexagons around the template.
Continue cutting hexagons from paper in this manner until you have cut enough for your project. The number you need will be determined by the size you want your quilt to be and by the size of the hexagons you choose to use.
Cut the Fabric
Stack five pieces of fabric together.
Lay the hexagon template on top of the stacked fabric.
Use the ruler to hold the hexagon template in place. Line it up so that the edge of the ruler extends beyond the template 1/4 of an inch.
Cut the fabric hexagons out with the rotary cutter and fabric blade, making sure all sides have 1/4 inch added. This will be your seam allowance.
Continue cutting fabric hexagons until you have enough for your project.
Build the Foundations
Prepare ironing board and preheat iron.
Place a fabric hexagon on the ironing board, right side down.
Center a paper hexagon on top of the fabric one, leaving 1/4 inch of fabric around each side.
Fold a side of fabric over the paper template and gently press it with the iron. Continue for all sides.
Continue folding and pressing the fabric edges over each template until all have been completed.
Stitch the Hexagons
Thread the sewing needle and knot the end of the thread.
Place two hexagon foundations together, right sides together and edges lined up evenly. Hold them flat between your thumb and forefinger.
Whip-stitch the hexagons together along one edge, beginning at one corner. To whip-stitch, insert the needle through the bottom hexagon into and through the top one. Bring the needle back around to the bottom from the top without making a stitch. Knot the thread before cutting it at the end of the sewn edge.
Unfold the joined hexagons and finger-press them open.
Add hexagons to the line until you have reached the desired quilt width.
Continue making rows until you have enough to make the desired length of the quilt.
Stitch rows together using the same sewing technique used to attach the individual hexagons. Your quilt top is complete.
Turn the quilt top over and gently pull out the paper foundation pieces.
Make the Quilt Sandwich
Lay the backing fabric on a smooth, flat surface, wrong side up.
Lay the quilt batting on top of the backing fabric and smooth out any wrinkles.
Lay the quilt top on top of the batting, right side up.
Pin the three layers together randomly throughout the quilt sandwich. Add quilting stitches throughout the project to secure the three layers together.
Make and Attach Binding
Cut strips of binding fabric 2-inches wide. If a single strip is not as long as your quilt, machine-stitch pieces together so they will be. Make enough to go all the way around your quilt.
Line up a strip of binding fabric along one edge of the quilt. Be sure the right sides of the quilt top and binding fabric are together.
Pull the binding fabric in so that the edge of the binding lines up with the points of the hexagons that have empty spaces in between them. This will leave triangle shapes extending under the binding fabric.
Pin binding in place.
Machine-stitch the binding in place, 1/4 inch from the edge of the binding fabric. Remove pins as you go. These stitches should go through all three layers of the quilt sandwich.
Open the stitched binding, folding it back and finger-pressing it out over the edges of the quilt sandwich.
Fold the edge of the binding under 1/4 inch. Fold over again another 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch, making sure that it touches the backing fabric.
Pin the folded binding in place on the backing of the quilt.
Machine stitch around the folded binding, sewing together the binding and all layers of the quilt sandwich. Continue the process will all sides of the quilt to complete the project.
Basting spray adhesive is a good way to keep batting in place when forming the quilt sandwich. Thin battings slip less. If you need a hexagon template, print one off your computer. Try using old magazine pages for your paper pieces. Unlike newspaper, their ink doesn't smudge. Instead of throwing away dull rotary blades, keep them specifically for cutting paper.
When using a rotary cutter, always roll away from you to avoid possible injury.
Ronna Pennington, an experienced newspaper writer and editor, began writing full-time in 1989. Her professional crafting experience includes machine embroidery and applique. When she's not repainting her den or making new holiday decorations, Ronna researches and writes community histories. She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and an Master of liberal arts in history.