Note – March 26, 2010
Be forewarned – if you paper piece the way I describe below you will NOT be able to later change to Inklingo. See this post explaining why I am having to start over and re-do ALL of the 42 hexagon flowers I paper pieced with freezer paper.
Note – March 19, 2010
If I ever do another hexagon quilt I will not use any of the methods described below – I would use the 1.5 inch hexagon - no paper or glue involved. Not convinced? You can try Inklingo for free – just download the free pattern for a Le Moyne Star.
Linda Franz- the inventor of Inklingo – just wrote a great pdf on how to rescue an English paper pieced grandmother’s flower garden that has been abandoned – as many are. She shows you how you can continue using Inklingo for the rest of the project.
The Inklingo site has lots more information – but here’s my brief description:
You don’t have to cut paper patterns or use templates, there’s no basting to do, you use a running stitch instead of a whip stitch so the stitches DO NOT show AT ALL on the front of the block!! And… last but not least – it is FAR more accurate.
The cutting and stitching lines are printed on the back of the fabric – which you have ironed onto freezer paper so it will go through the printer. Any printer will do. I prefer to use the 8 1/2″ x 11″ freezer paper you buy in packages at quilt shops – it is a bit heavier and longer lasting and not curved from being on a roll. I can use the same sheets MANY times – just rip the fabric off and iron another piece on.
Here is the original post – before I discovered Inklingo. If you want to torture yourself here are the instructions on precisely how to do it:
By the way the hexes are not crooked – they just look that way because the edges curled up before I could take the picture.
After some trial and error I have figured it out – to my satisfaction anyway. I need to have things EXACT and this method gives razor sharp edges and perfect points. Did I mention I am a perfectionist?
Here is “Carol Skinner’s Freezer Paper and Glue Stick Method for Preparing Hundreds of Hexagons.”
By the way I use the same method to appliqué any shape – not just hexagons.
1 Go to incompetech and design the hexagons in the size you will need.
2 Cut freezer paper into 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets.
3 Print the hexagons onto the freezer paper using your desktop printer.
4 Cut out the hexagons VERY VERY carefully – the accuracy of your hexes depends on accuracy of this step. You will be saving tons of time not having to baste each one onto the paper – so take the time to do this cutting accurately. If you decide to cut several sheets at the same time be sure to put several staples inside every hex – so they won’t shift during cutting.
Maybe if this catches on some enterprising person (company) will produce pre-cut freezer paper hexagons.
Wait! Let me Google that…. lots of pre-cut papers but none seem to be freezer paper.
Well – here you go.. if you plan on making LOTS of hexagon quilts this might be a good investment – your own personal die cutting machine for only $339.99. The Cricut 29-0001 Personal Electronic Cutting Machine.
Failing that, let’s continue …
5 Wash and iron your fabric and cut it into squares large enough so that when you cut there will be a generous 1/4″ margin around each hexagon. My hexagons measure 3″ from point to point so my squares are 3 1/2 “
6 Iron on the freezer paper hexes to the wrong side of each square.
7 Using sharp scissors cut around each hex leaving a generous 1/4″ seam allowance.
8 Swipe the top edge of the seam allowance with the glue stick taking care not to get too close to the paper edge – it will make the sewing more difficult if the edge is glued down. Do one side at a time.
9 With your fingers fold the edge down. I use the flat side of an X-acto burnisher to help smooth down the fabric. Take special care with the corners, you need to pull the fabric tightly up against the paper edge. Since the corners have several layers of fabric they will tend to stick up and you’ll have little wings which will keep the hex edges from fitting together tightly when you are sewing them together.
10 Proceed as above around the 6 sides, turning to the right – or the left – go in order, don’t jump from side to side.
STITCHING THE HEXES TOGETHER:
I don’t put the hexes right side together and whip stitch the edges like you are supposed to do – I tried that and for some reason my stitches were always very noticeable from the front side.
I like to butt the sides together and stitch them together catching a bit of fabric on each side – if it’s done carefully you don’t see any stitches from the front.
Eventually I got the bright idea to tape two or three hexes together while I stitch.
Here’s what the finished “flower” looks like from the back.
A closeup of the front to show you you how my method is great for hiding the stitches – which is something that I strive for in my hand sewing. I used dark rust brown thread for all the hexes – and it doesn’t show on the lavender!
If you have any questions or comments please let me know . This is my very first hexagon quilt – so I am by no means an expert – I just wanted to share a method that is working very well for me.
There must not be very many hexagon quilt tutorials on the internet because if you Google hexagon quilt tutorial I am third on the list – and first for batik hexagon quilt – amazing!
Addendum (10 months and 18 hexagon “flowers” later.)
I have come to the conclusion that this is NOT the best way to do it. The trick in the above method is to keep the glue away from the inner edge where the freezer paper hexagon is – if you glue up to the paper – then you will have a problem pushing the needle through the glued down edge. The glue MUST be kept just on the outer edges – and that’s hard to do.
I am trying another method. Still using freezer paper – but no glue.
Cut the fabric hexagon (with the generous 1/4″ seam allowance.)
Place it WRONG side up on the ironing board.
Place the freezer paper hexagon SHINY side up on top of the fabric hexagon.
Fold the edges over and iron down – working your way around the 6 sides, turning to the right – or the left – go in order, don’t jump from side to side. The seam allowance sticks to the shiny side of the freezer paper.
If you have one of those mini irons this would be a good time to use it. I don’t have one – but the regular iron works fine.
When you have gone around all of the sides flip it over (onto a scrap of fabric to protect your ironing board cover) and press – it will stick to the fabric slightly – but it is easy to pull off while it’s still hot.
Now sew them together any way you choose. I prefer the edges butted together and whip stitched method described above. It is much easier and goes much faster without the glue.
When I finish the “flower” I lift up the seam allowances, pull out the freezer paper and then I iron. Start on the wrong side and gently press the unsewn edges – flip it over and iron the whole thing flat.
As a final step I baste the unsewn edges so they won’t get messed up with handling.