Hand Piecing Hexagons

A follower sent me a question recently about piecing hexagons.  Most stitchers are using the English paper piecing method.  I prefer to use template stamps.  After thinking about the question, I thought I might devote a blog to how I piece the hexagons.

For my sample, I chose a gorgeous fabric that was given to me by my friend, Naoko.  She bought this Japanese kimono fabric in Japan.  It was a special surprise to me and immediately I thought it looked like “hexagons”.  This fabric is a blend of cotton and silk and handled beautifully for this demonstration.

I started with this great all over fabric.

I started with this great all over fabric.

Next I just stamped out 6 hexagons on the back side of the fabric using my permanent fabric ink.

Stamping sure is easy!

Stamping sure is easy!

Cut out your hexagons on the outside line, I’ll be piecing on the inside line.  Since this was such a large print, I didn’t mind where I stamped.  I did however want a centered “fussy cut” hexagon.  I found a Jo Morton batik that worked perfectly with the Japanese print.

Using the technique for fussy cutting with stamps, I cut out the center hexagon.  (See an earlier block post under “Teaching Tips”.)

I'm using the new 3/4" hexagon for my example.

I’m using the new 3/4″ hexagon for my example.

Here is the completed stamped hexagon.  Doesn’t it look great?

Hexagons set around the center.

Hexagons set around the center.

Now to the stitching.  I hand stitch the way I stitch all my pieces, starting with a Richard Hemming size 10 sharp and quilting thread with a knot.  Place a pin in the left corner matching the corner underneath and let the pin hang.  (I’m right handed, lefties would pin in the right corner.)   Sew up to the pin hitting the stamped line on the top and bottom.

Start with the center hexagon and one of the adjacent hexagons.

Start with the center hexagon and one of the adjacent hexagons.

End with 2 backstitches and leave a small tail.

Here are the 2 pieces on the front side after sewing.

Here are the 2 pieces on the front side after sewing.

No need to press anything, yet!  To piece in the second hexagon, lay it over the first section, pin, stitch up to the corner, back stitch and then pivot the hexagon on the bottom to line up with the top, pin, and continue stitching.

Come up to the corner and back stitch.  Pop up the seam and go straight through to the other side.

Come up to the corner and back stitch. Pop up the seam and go straight through to the other side.

Pivot and continue stitching.

Pivot and continue stitching.

 

Continue stitching all of the hexagons around the center in this manner.  When you are finished it looks like this…

A little rumpled, but looking good!

A little rumpled, but looking good!

Now to press…  Turn the block over and press the seams in one direction.

Back side view of pressing.

Back side view of pressing.

Here is how it will look on the front.

A beautiful block!

A beautiful block!

Here are a few more I finished earlier with my Jo Morton scraps.  (Yes, I do have a plan of a cute design just made with scraps!  They are all stamped and ready to go.)

These are made with the 3/4" hexagon available on my website.

These are made with the 3/4″ hexagon available on my website at www.cindyblackberg.com.

You can also piece the “Lucy Boston” patchwork the same way with the “Pointed Tile” stamp.  (The pointed tile stamp will also match up with some of the pieces of the Sawtooth star set of stamps, so you don’t even have to draft “connector” pieces to sew your blocks together.  HOORAH!)

"Lucy Boston" patchwork made with the 1" (side) pointed tile stamp available on my website at www.cindyblackberg.com.

“Lucy Boston” patchwork made with the 1″ (side) pointed tile stamp available on my website at www.cindyblackberg.com.

Here is the back view of the block pressed.

Back view of the Lucy Boston "Pointed Tile" stamp available at www.cindyblackberg.com.

Back view of the Lucy Boston “Pointed Tile” stamp available at www.cindyblackberg.com.

I’m off to stamp and sew today!  How about you?


Comments

Hand Piecing Hexagons — 11 Comments

  1. This is great! You save some steps and don’t have to worry about your threads showing on top when you whipstitch those little things together. It is like a light went off in my head and made the process seem so much easier. Thanks!!

    • I’ve only made some blocks. I do have a friend piecing an entire quilt with the stamps. I’m hoping to get a new sample made up with my blocks in progress. Check out the website for the small top I made with 4 blocks.

  2. Hi Cindy! I bought a bow tie stamp when you were at NSQG in IL. I have made 8 blocks and live hand work. Can you tell me how to press the block please? I read where you said to the dark. Works fine for center, the background doesn’t want to lay right though. Thanks for your help.

  3. Hi Cindy
    Thanks for the clear demonstration for stamp-piecing hexagons. I have “nearly” finished a king-size hexagon quilt using EPP. I just need to decide what fabric to use for the borders, I might applique some flowers if I’m in the mood. I’m ready to try the stamping method with the pointed tile stamp I just purchased. The EPP method is so time consuming and I’m not especially wild about the whip stitching. Unfortunately some of my stitching does show so I think your method will certainly improve the looks of the piecing. When I can I will order your new hexagon. I do love hand piecing..
    Judy

  4. Great tutorial! I don’t have the stamps but have used a template and hand pieced a bunch of flowers. (not epp). I am stuck on an efficient way to put them together. I am planning a black surround but can’t wrap my head around how to nicely connect them. Thoughts?

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