Friday, February 11, 2011

Easier Hexagon Tutorial

If you're like me, you have been seeing gorgeous things made from hexagons all over blogs, Flikr and Etsy for months, but the thought of making your own hexagons...ugh!

Typical sewing with hexagons is exhausting just to explain. You cut out dozens of tiny paper hexagon pieces, you cut out dozens of tiny fabric hexagons 1/4" larger than your paper ones, you sew the fabric to the paper with basting stitches, you sew the hexagons together by hand, then you take the basting stitches out.

Why, oh why, would anyone go through all of that? I am far too busy/lazy.

So, first things first. Get yourself some of these. Reusable, heat resistant Teflon hexagons. No paper to cut out! Step one, DONE!

The instructions on these things are about useless. No pictures and pretty vague. Run a basting stitch, remove shape with tool...huh? Ignore them.

It says to cut your fabric 1/4" larger than the Teflon shape, but I have found that Teflon is slippery (who knew?) and that 1/4" is way too little room for that thing to slide around. I like 1/2". So, cut your fabric into 2 3/4" squares and it ends up just about perfect.

From there, center your hexagon on the square and I like to clip off just the tips of the corners to reduce bulk. You don't have to, and could eliminate that step too, but I do.

Now, thread your needle. You're going to want about two feet of thread on there, any more and you'll be upset with yourself for wasting it. Double your thread by bringing the needle to the middle and tying the ends in a knot.

Fold your fabric around one corner of the hexagon.

Stitch like this (there is a great illustration here) just in the corner.

Continue all the way around the shape. Basting this way means no stitches to rip out when you're done! All of your stitching remains hidden on the back of your shapes!

When you get to the end, run one last stitch back to your starting point, but before you close the stitch completely, run your needle through the center so that it forms a knot when you tighten it.

Trim your thread and you are ready to iron. Spray a little starch on your hexagons (I have tried it without the starch and they do tend to lose their shape) and press.

Now take that little straw that came with your hexagons, and insert it in the hole in the middle. Push down on it gently in the direction of one corner while pulling back on your fabric. Loosen two corners this way and the whole shape will easily pop out.

Press your shapes one more time and they're ready to sew with. Sadly, I can't help you shorten this part. You still do have to hand sew them together, but I've cut a bunch of steps out of the process...which should make it a little less daunting if you were on the fence.

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