How to Prepare a Hexagon Quilt

Written by denise bowman
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How to Prepare a Hexagon Quilt
The hexagon quilt, also known as the Grandmother's Flower Garden, gained popularity in the 1930s. (Ableimages/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The hexagon quilt, also known by the popular name of Grandmother's Flower Garden, was first made in England during the 18th century. It's popularity quickly spread across the Atlantic Ocean, and the quilt became a hit with American women looking for an attractive, efficient way to use up fabric scraps. A completed hexagon quilt can contain hundreds or thousands of individually cut and sewn pieces. Putting one together uses a method of construction called English paper piecing.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Compass
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Needle
  • Thread

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    Prepare the Hexagon Template

  1. 1

    Set the compass and draw a circle on a piece of paper that is the same diameter as the finished hexagon. For example, to end up with a 2-inch hexagon, set the compass so the pencil is 1 inch from the compass tip.

  2. 2

    Place the tip of the compass on one spot on the circle. Turn the compass and make a mark where the pencil intersects the line of the circle. Move the point of the compass and place the compass tip on this point. Draw another intersecting point. Repeat these two steps until the circle has six separate marks equally spaced along the perimeter of the circle.

  3. 3

    Place the ruler against two adjacent marks on the outer edge the circle. Draw a line connecting these points. Repeat this step until the circle has six lines connecting the lines on the circle to form a hexagon shape inside the circle.

  4. 4

    Cut out the hexagon to use as a template. Use it as a pattern to cut out enough templates to complete the quilt.

    Prepare the Hexagon Pieces

  1. 1

    Lay one of the hexagon shapes on the wrong side of a piece of fabric and pin the two together to hold it in place. Cut a hexagon out of the fabric, making sure to leave a quarter-inch seam allowance on all six sides.

  2. 2

    Turn down the edges of the fabric over the edge of the template. Use large running stitches to baste the fabric to the template. Continue sewing the fabric to the template, tucking in the fabric over the edges of the template where the two edges meet at a point.

  3. 3

    Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for each of the hexagons needed for the quilt.

    Construct the Flowers

  1. 1

    Starting with the centre of the flower petal, place the centre hexagon and a hexagon in a contrasting fabric together with the right sides facing. Stitch the two hexagons together with a whipstitch.

  2. 2

    Continue sewing hexagon pieces to this centre piece until it is enclosed by six hexagon petals to create a flower.

  3. 3

    Follow these steps to create enough flowers for the quilt.

    Complete the Quilt Top

  1. 1

    Sew hexagon flowers together by stitching using a row of hexagons in a contrasting fabric between the flowers to represent a garden path.

  2. 2

    Continue to connect flowers together until the desired quilt size is obtained.

  3. 3

    Baste and machine- or hand-quilt the completed quilt top.

Tips and warnings

  • To eliminate the need to prepare paper hexagon quilt templates by hand, check with your local quilt or fabric shops. Pre-cut paper templates are available in numerous sizes.
  • Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts can be made with three separate fabric colours for a unified look, or it can be made into a scrappy quilt by making each flower different. To unify the look, make each flower centre from the same fabric. The garden path hexagons, likewise, should all be the same.
  • Because a hexagon quilt uses modular construction techniques, it makes a great on-the-go quilt project.
  • To make sure the hexagons will meet correctly at the corners, be sure to measure and cut the paper template accurately.
  • When stitching the hexagons together, take care not to catch the edges of the paper templates in the stitching.

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