Last July we sold our home in Missouri and decided to look for a small piece of property in Wisconsin where we could do a little "homesteading" and raise our boys in a rural community.
During the process of selling our home I knew I needed to keep my sewing/craft space clean and neat and I also knew that once we sold our home I wouldn't have time for quilting/sewing during the moving phase. Also, as part of this move we were going to be staying with family in both MN and TX while looking for our new home. I couldn't lug around my sewing machine and fabric making messes at other peoples houses either. While I knew I had to pack up my sewing machine, I also knew that I needed a project that I could take with me, work on during car rides, in the evenings, etc. I needed a small hand piecing project that would keep me busy for an undetermined amount of time. I decided to make a quilt using EPP (English Paper Pieced) Hexagon Flowers.
Prior to packing up my craft room, I cut out hundreds of 1 inch hexagons using white cardstock and my Cricut Explore. I decided to go with 1 inch hexagons because I wanted to use Charm Packs of different fabric and if I cut the charm squares into fourths (2.5 inch squares) they fit perfectly on the 1 inch hexies. I loved the idea of using charm packs because it was an affordable way to mix and match many different prints. Each charm pack usually runs between $9-$12 with about 40 5 inch squares included, if I cut each square into fourths I can get about 160 hexies from each charm pack!
TIP: If you can find water soluble foundation you can use that to cut out your hexagon template and then you don't have to remove them later. Pro - it's easy, Con - you can't reuse the template.
I already had 2 charm packs of Happy Go Lucky and 1 charm pack of Marmalade both by Bonnie & Camille for Moda in my stash. Bonnie & Camille fabrics are so cheerful and vintage and really do make the perfect hexagon flowers! Along the way I ordered charm packs of Vintage Picnic, Little Ruby, and Handmade all by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. So I guess I should call this my Bonnie and Camille Hexi Flower Quilt.
Like I said, I cut paper hexagons and my charm squares in fourths or 2.5 inch squares, then I used a glue stick to position the wrong side of each 2.5 inch square of fabric. With my ruler and rotary cutter I trimmed each fabric square leaving a quarter inch of fabric around the paper hexagon.
I prepped about 400 or so of these hexagons prior to packing up my sewing room!
So what do you do after you have all of these lovely little hexies prepped???
Over at The Zen of Making I found some really good/clear pictures showing how to stitched the hexies around the paper hexagon.
I originally learned how to EPP Hexies when I did the 2013 Skill Builder BOM from Pile O' Fabric and she has a good video tutorial that I linked above.
If you google "English Paper Piecing Hexies" you will find videos, tutorials, and blogs galore. Many people don't trim the fabric around the template, and I haven't seen too many glue them down, they will use a paper clip or something to hold the fabric in place. My method works for me... but there are many ways to do this.
My pictures are not as clear... I need a personal photographer while I sew :) Basically you turn the hexie over and fold the 1/4 inch of fabric over the paper hexagon, then stitch the corners down. Take care not to stitched the paper template. Eventually these stitches will be "snipped" and the paper template removed.
After I get 7 of these little guys made I can make a flower!
Another thing that I choose to do differently is leave the template in my hexie while I sew the "flower" together. I like the rigidity. I just take care not to sew through the template itself. I have seen many remove the paper template and iron the hexie with starch to hold it's shape better and then stitch them together. I prefer not to remove the paper template from the fabric hexie until I have at least one layer of hexies around each flower. In this case since I plan to put white hexies between each flower, I will not remove the templates until I have at least one outer row of white hexies surrounding each flower.
I have about 15 Hexi-Flowers now and I think I need 150 or so more lol! Yeah... This is one of those projects that I might not ever finish! If I would do one Hexie-Flower a day I could have it all done by the end of this year, but I am not sure that will happen. It's a fun little project to take on a road trip or to do while I watch tv, when I remember or don't have 3 boys in my lap!
I found a wonderful way to store and carry my hexagons as well. I found a 3 piece Sterilite Stack and Carry, that came with a 6 way divider. I put the divider in one of the containers and that is where I store the hexies I am working on. In one container I store the hexagons I have pieced together into a flower. In the third container I keep my seam ripper, scissors, needles, thread, etc.