Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hexagon paper piecing

A few months ago I spotted The Liberty Book of Home Sewing for a bargain price in a local shop and couldn't resist. Its full of lots of gorgeous pictures of some of the classic Liberty prints and lots of inspiring projects - one of which uses traditional hexagon patchwork to make a cot quilt. I hadn't tried it before but was tempted as it a great way to use little scraps of fabric and show them off in a really beautiful way.

Then I had the opportunity to attend a paper piecing workshop with author Nikki Trench at the the Craft Hobby and Stitch show at the NEC in February. She was promoting her latest book, A Passion for Quilting,  and was sharing her paper piecing tricks and tips - and it got me hooked.

So, paper piecing is basically done by cutting out lots of paper hexagons..I just used normal paper..then temporarily stitching scraps of fabric to the paper, making sure you have enough of a seam allowance. You need a fair few hexagons to get you anywhere but I've made a good start with the liberty print scrap pack I recently bought.
Lots of colourful scraps

I've used a red thread to tack my fabric onto the paper so its easy to spot when I remove it later, once all the hexagons are stitched together. 

Once you have your fabric covered hexagons you then use a whip stitch to stitch all the hexagons together. First make up 'flowers' of 7 hexagons and then stitch your 'flowers' together. I couldn't resist making up one of the 'flowers' to see how it would turn out. The red taking stitches won't get taken out until the very end.

After attending the workshop with Nikki I used the sample I had made to make a pin cushion. Its done in exactly the same way but to create the width of the pin cushion I used little squares that were the same dimension as the length of one of the sides of the hexagons. Bit fiddly I got there eventually. I then used a self cover button for the centre to create more depth and shape. It also helps to make it look a bit more flower like. 

Its a nice way to use up scraps of a favourite fabric that you might otherwise throw away. Its also a good way to test the water the paper piecing instead of committing to a whole quilt. It does take a while so really is a labor of love.

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