Hand piecing a quilt and making a quilt out of hexagons are two things on my quilting bucket list. I tried the English Paper Piecing method but didn't like working with those tiny scraps of paper. And because my whip stitch has lots of room for improvement, I chose hand piecing hexagons instead.
A few weeks ago I purchased a Scan and Cut by Brother. I wanted to cut applique and maybe some paper projects down the line. I discovered that in addition to cutting fabric, the Scan and Cut can draw seam lines as well. The light bulb went off when I realized I could cut hexagons and draw the sewing lines in two passes of the Scan and Cut. In my article, Marking and Cutting 1″ Hexagons with the Scan and Cut, I showed my process of testing out this method.
Hand Piecing Hexagons & Planning the Design
I cut out some pieces and started piecing the diamond units. I got three of them done and started auditioning background fabrics.
Start Piecing the Background
Next I started piecing the background hexagons.
When you are hand piecing, you don't press the seams as you go. Press the seams when the diamond unit is finished. This makes piecing easier. Here is a diamond unit before pressing.
Well this is my progress in the first several weeks. It's amazing how fast these go together. I'm able to work on these in the evening when watching television. I can literally stop mid-stitch if there are any interruptions.
Lessons Learned So Far
This is the first time I have tried hand piecing hexagons and I'm pleased with the results. Here are some tips if you choose to hand piece your hexagons:
- If you use the Scan and Cut by Brother or if you use hexagon templates to cut your fabric, use the Faultless Maxx Spray Starch. The stiffness helps give greater accuracy in cutting and marking.
- Don't use the spray starch when pressing the seams unless all the seams in the hexagon are stitched. If you use starch, the seams will stay pressed to one side. You will not be able to easily hold the seam allowance out of the way when attaching the next hexagon.
- If you want to learn hand piecing, I recommend Quiltmaking by Hand by Jinny Beyer. Beautiful pictures and easy instructions. This is the book that taught me how to hand piece.
- Marking and Cutting 1″ Hexagons with Scan and Cut
- How to Hand Piece Hexagons
- How to Cut Hexagons With Templates
- Quiltmaking by Hand – My other hand quilting projects