How to Hexie

How to Hexie

Hexie (hexagon) patchwork is a great, traditional, low-tech and very satisfying craft to take up. However, some people who love the my hexie projects have said that they would never be able to do hexie patchwork because they ‘can’t sew’. Well, I don’t believe them! Everyone can sew, with a little practice, and as hexie patchwork only requires two simple kinds of stitch, it’s a brilliant place to start.

Hexie patchwork is a form of English paper piecing. The name gives away how it’s done. Fabric is folded around paper templates, in this case hexagons, and then hand-sewn together at the edges. As hexie patchwork is sewn by hand, it can be done in the garden, watching telly, at the bus stop…. and that’s why I love it. Crafting on the go!

The paper templates can be created in a number of ways. I remember seeing a half finished quilt on display at Beamish Living Museum (UK) where newspaper hexagons had been used. I don’t know how they cut them out then but these days acrylic or metal templates are used to cut shapes out of printer or freezer paper. In more recent years, laser-cut paper templates are available online.

The fabric is usually cut out about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 to 12mm) larger than the paper template. The excess fabric is folded over the edges of the paper and secured in place by long running stitches (tacking). I usually do two stitches at the ‘corner’ where the two folds overlap.

Iron the hexagon on the back. Repeat the process for the hexagon you wish to join with this one or make a pile of hexagons and join them all at the same time.

Now the real sewing begins. With right sides together (fronts facing each other), the shapes are sewn together at the edges using whip stitch. Yes, it is better to be as neat as possible but I don’t think a few stitches showing is a tragedy and, actually, it’s quite nice to see that it has been lovingly hand-sewn.



And that’s it! You just continue adding as many hexies as you want, sewing with whipstitch along the edges. When you have finished sewing, carefully remove the tacking and the paper templates. To make it nice and flat, iron the front and back with a clean cotton cloth in between the iron and fabric. This prevents staining. 

Hexie patchwork is so simple that you could start making a king-sized quilt straight away! However, it is probably better to start on a small project such as a mug-mat, cushion cover, pincushion or hexie hoop picture.

I hope this has inspired you and given you some confidence that hexie patchwork could be for you. Why not give it a try? Here are some small hexie projects I have made with sea parrot fabrics:


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