Friday, May 14, 2010
Finishing Your Hexagon Quilts Tutorial
Two tutorials in one week. I'm on a roll. After posting photos of my hexagon quilt border progress on flickr, I had a few requests for a tutorial. I suppose this is the long overdue part 2 of my english paper piecing tutorial that never made my sidebar for some odd reason. Probably and very likely due to the vast spelling errors throughout. I'll fix that soon too!
The original tutorial will be useful for reminding you about whipstitching, ladder stitching and making hexies. It will also help as a guide to my diagrams below.
As a reminder, I have zero formal training in quilting. I made this method of finishing hexies up myself, so it may not be kosher-quilting or nana-approved. It's working well for me and I like the results. Hurrah for that!
I am calling this the border method. It gives your quilt with a hexagon shaped border instead of straight binding. It also means you don't need to make partial hexagons to square up your sides. It could equally be called the why am I torturing myself with even more hexies method.
Step 1 [Optional]: Lightly baste the batting and backing to your front hexagons to keep it from slipping later. I skipped this step because my hand quilting held my batting and backing in place
Step 2: Count the number of hexies that make the outer ring of your quilt and baste this many to paper as you did with your original hexagons for the front.
Step 3: Using the same technique as you did for piecing the front, create a ring with your basted hexies to match the shape of the edge of your quilt. In most cases, this will be the same as your quilt. If your quilt is assymetric, it will look like the mirror image of the front when you view the right side of the fabric.
Step 5: If you haven't already, trim away excess batting and backing fabric to make sure the outer edges of batting and backing fabric are even with the front of your quilt.
Step 6: Lay your hex loop on top of your quilt with right sides facing. You should now see the papers in the back of your border.
Step 7: Using your prefered technique (whip stitch or ladder stitch) sew around the outside of your quilt attaching the border to the front hexagons. Ignore the back fabric and batting at this stage. Just attach your border loop to the edge hexagons on your quilt. Only attach the outer edge. Work your way completely around the quilt.
Whip stitches will be much stronger and more durable at the edge of the quilt. I opted to use ladder stitch though because I am faster at it. It's really up to you, but for durability, whipstitch is probably the way to go.
Remove all of the basting papers from the front hexies at this step, if you haven't already. If you've basted through them, you may need to trim a few threads to get them out.
How seriously daggy is my sewing and basting? I'm all about embracing the imperfections.
Step 8: After completing your loop, flip the border over onto the back of the quilt. You will create a little sandwich with the backing fabric and batting between your hexes.
Pretend that giant hole in the middle of the sewing of the green hexagons isn't there. I rushed a bit for the tutorial and will be fixing it.
When flipping the border right side out, make sure all of the triangle bits are poked out. Also make surethe batting and backing fabric is smoothly tucked in.
See how terrible my running stitches look on the back? Particularly up close? They are horribly uneven. That's my reminder that you need to think "big picture". It doesn't matter if a stitch or two or thirty are bad. The overall effect will look good. Just look back at the first image to see what I mean.
Step 9: Now sew your hexagons to the backing fabric to permanently affix them. Sew them one at a time so you can remove the stabilizing papers as you go. For this, you will likely need to use ladder stitch or any other magical technique you have for affixing binding. Keep a pair of tweezers handy to help remove the stabilizing papers. If you basted your batting and backing fabric, remove the basting stitches now.
Enjoy! Happy Crafting!
Do let me know if it's unclear and I'll try to answer questions. As always, if you try one of my tutorials, I'd love to see the results. You can always share in the (tiny) badskirt flickr group.