make it yourself: fussy cut mini hexies

I like to have some handwork to take on the go. I tend to crochet, and embroider and over the winter, I created many yo-yo’s. But I get bored, so I need some variety for a change of pace come spring. So, I decided to try sewing small hexagons with English paper piecing techniques. You have probably seen the grandmother’s flower garden pattern, but today’s hexie shapes and patterns don’t have to be old fashioned.

I decided to try fussy cutting some small hexies. I poured through my fabrics and scraps looking for cute prints and little items that I could highlight on a hexie. Trust me, once you start, you can’t stop. I am stockpiling my little treasures.

what you will need:

  • Heavy duty template plastic (I used these from Dritz Quilting)
  • Cardstock paper
  • Sharpie marker
  • Printer
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Paper clips or small spring clips

what you will need to do:

Create or get a hexagon template in your desired size

Note:  Hexies are measured by the length of the sides.  So a 1 inch hexie means that when it is finished, each side of the hexagon measures one inch. To get a finished one inch hexie, you have to start with cutting a 1 ¼ inch hexie because you will fold under ¼ of an inch of the raw edge.

There are so many great resources on the web, so I am going to share with you all of the places I found great information and tutorials.

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First, I needed some hexagon patterns. I found these great hexie pattern templates in many sizes from Geta Grama on her blog Geta’s Quilting studio.  I used her 1 ¼ hexagon template and her 1 inch template. These templates are really easy to cut out and she even gives some tips on how to cut several pages at one time.

Next, I needed a fussy cut hexie template window to find the best design placement. I ran across this idea from Melanie on her Texas Freckles site.  She uses a square of template plastic with a hexagon shape inside to find the perfect setting for her fussy cut designs.

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I was inspired by her idea, but I decided to make my template do double duty. I cut out a 1 ¼ inch hexie from the heavy duty template plastic.

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Then I used the 1 inch hexie template, I colored the ¼ seam allowance with a sharpie marker.

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I use the window to find the best image for fussy cutting and then use the outline to mark the fabric for cutting. If you prefer, most quilting and fabric stores sell acrylic templates.

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Use the window template to fussy cut a bunch of cute designs into hexie shapes.

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Finally, print some paper templates to sew the hexies. Using the card stock, I printed out a bunch of the 1 inch hexie paper templates from the patterns. I cut them all out and now I had a stack of paper templates ready.

Time to sew

In my research, I discovered that there are several methods for sewing hexies (also called English paper piecing). I settled on trying the method where you only catch the fabric on the back side of the hexie. In this technique, you don’t sew through the paper or both layers of fabric. I found two tutorials that showed this style that I really liked.

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Bec from Chasing Cottons Quilt Designs has a great tutorial where she uses clips to hold the fabric and catch the ¼ inch turned edge. She also has some great pictures of hexie projects for inspiration.

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Kat Scribner from Scrapbox Quilts also has a very nice tutorial where she shows to use a regular paper punch to punch a hole in the center of the design so you can pin the paper to the fabric and make it easy to pull it out to reuse later.

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You only stitch on the back catching the folded edges from each side working your way around. When you finish, it is ready to be joined to another hexie or stitched down by itself.

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You can easily slip out the cardstock to use again since you did not stitch through it.

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I hope you can use all of these great tips to create your own cute mini fussy cut hexies! The next challenge is deciding what you are going to create with all of them. I am going to keep my window template handy and cut out a few hexies from all of my scraps as I go along. That will give me some time to get inspired by the perfect hexie sewing project!

Let me know what you create!