When I was younger I tried learning how to do patchwork with instructions from a book………. I gave up, everything had to be so precise, for each piece of fabric you needed two templates, the second one being exactly 1/4″ bigger than the main one. Every stitch needed to be regular, the back needed to be as neat as the front…………….not me at all, I needed to be able to get on with it. When you are hand stitching patchwork you don’t really need to be that exact, it doesn’t matter how much fabric is at the back. After all no-one is going to see it once the backing is on. My little 1/2″ paper pieced hexies are so quick to make up, not frustratingly precise on the back, and fit perfectly together. Here’s how I do them:
Print and cut out your 1/2″ paper template hexies. This ladies website is brilliant for explaining how to do your paper templates http://www.getasquiltingstudio.com/2013/01/tips-for-cutting-hexagon-templates.html
4″ fabric squares, I buy them in mixed packs
Cut each square of fabric into 9 little squares, as shown, you don’t need to be accurate, as long as when you place a paper template onto a square you have a border of fabric large enough to fold over on all sides.
Thread your needle with ordinary cotton, and tie a knot. (It doesn’t matter what colour cotton you use as this will be taken out later).
Holding your template, on the back side of the fabric fold over one side of fabric press down with your fingers and make one tacking stitch through the fabric and paper template.
Fold over the next side and stitch over the fold on the corner, making sure you are folding over your template, you will be able to feel your paper through the fabric, don’t fold the template. When you have done this a few times it will become easy. Keep doing the same with all sides and finish with two tacking stitches, do not knot the end.
First little hexie ready. Now do as many as you want. For each of my little flowers you will need one white hexie for the centre and six outer ones for the petals.
When you have your seven little hexies you can make your first flower. With the white hexie in the centre join the ‘petals’ around it by putting the two right sides together and using little ‘whipping’ stitches, catching a few strands of fabric on each hexie. (This ladies website has brilliant instructions http://www.jessiefincham.com/2014/07/english-paper-piecing-basics-week-2_29.html )
I have made loads of little coloured and white hexies and threaded them in sets on to a long strand of cotton, so they are all ready to be stitched into flowers. Sometimes I sit and put the flowers together, or I make more little hexies, depending on how much time I have or how I feel!!
Part 2: We will applique the flower onto our first 2″, white hexie.