Hexagon quilt blocks are traditionally assembled using a method called English paper piecing, which involves basting each piece of fabric to a paper template before assembling the block. Because hexagon quilts are made using a single patchwork shape for the entire quilt, they are called one-patch quilts or single-patch quilts. Different arrangements of fabrics can create different patterns, ranging from the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden to modern free-form designs. A single-patch quilt such as a hexagon quilt, in which every patch is made from a different fabric, is called a charm quilt.
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Things you need
- Heavy paper or tagboard
- Cotton fabric, prewashed and ironed
- Hand-sewing needle
- Cotton thread
- Straight pins
- Steam iron
Cut as many hexagons from the heavy paper or tagboard as you will need for one quilt block. Either draw them by hand or use the template listed in the Resources to print them out. Each hexagon paper should be the size of the finished hexagon fabric piece as seen from the right side of the quilt block, without seam allowances. These hexagon papers can be reused if handled gently.
Cut the desired number of hexagons from the cotton fabric, using the hexagon paper as a template but adding 6 mm (1/4 inch) all around for a seam allowance.
Pin one hexagon paper evenly in the centre of a hexagon fabric piece. Fold the edges of the fabric snugly over the edge of the paper, pressing lightly with an iron if necessary. Baste all around the edge, stitching through the paper as well as the fabric. Repeat until you have enough hexagons for one quilt block.
Place two hexagons right sides together and stitch along one flat edge using a whipstitch, taking care not to catch the paper in the stitching. Use small, tight stitches, spaced close together. The stitches should not show from the front of the quilt block. Continue adding hexagons around the first one, stitching one flat edge at a time, until your quilt block is the desired size.
Remove the basting stitches and take out the hexagon papers. Gently steam-press the quilt block to smooth it out.
Tips and warnings
- Hexagon papers can be purchased ready-made from quilting suppliers. These papers are described by the length of one flat edge. For instance, a 5 cm (2 inch) hexagon paper will have six sides that are each 5 cm (2 inch) long.
- A rotary cutter and self-healing mat can make cutting all the fabric hexagons quicker and easier than using scissors.
- Freezer paper can be used for the hexagon papers. Iron it onto the fabric, shiny-side down, and it will adhere until you are ready to remove it. With freezer paper there is no need to pin the hexagon papers to the fabric.
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