Quilting with hexagons is believed to have begun in England in the 1700's. A hexagon quilt is created by stitching together hexagon-shaped pieces of fabric. It is more difficult to make than a square quilt, and the overall shape of the quilt will be wavy instead of straight. Quilting with hexagons requires greater technique and skill than making a quilt comprised of squares, but the outcome is rewarding. Several patterns are common with hexagon quilts, with flower-patterned hexagon quilts extremely popular since the 1930s.
- Fabric of varying colors and patterns
- Flexible measuring tape
- Stiff poster board
- Rotary cutter
- Sewing pins
- Batting, if desired
- Backing, if desired
Cut the Hexagons
Draw then cut seven identical hexagons on a piece of stiff poster board. Measure them so that the height and width are equal and that they measure the size you want to use in your quilt. These hexagons will serve as templates for cutting and will be a hard backing for stitching. For example, if your quilt will consist of hexagons that measure 1-1/2 inches, make sure the templates also measure 1-1/2 inches.
Stack five layers of fabric on top of one another, lining up the edges. Place a hexagon template on top of the fabric, about 1/4-inch from any corner.
Cut around the hexagon with the rotary cutter, creating a stack of hexagons from the fabric. Do not cut close around the edges of the template. Leave an approximate 1/4-inch around the template, creating a seam allowance in the fabric pieces. You do not have to measure the seam allowance if you are comfortable estimating the small measurement.
Continue cutting hexagons out of the fabric stacks, leaving the 1/4-inch seam allowance. Cut as many hexagons in as many patterns or colors desired for your quilt.
Assemble the Hexagons
Choose a fabric hexagon to use for the starting point in your quilt. Lay the fabric piece right-side down and place a hexagon template on top of it, directly in the center. Insert a sewing pin through the middle of the template and fabric, holding the two together.
Fold the 1/4-inch seam allowance of the fabric over each side of the template, pulling it tight. Sew a quick stitch through the folded edges and template to hold it in place. The stitches and template will be removed later. Remove the sewing pin.
Choose six fabric hexagons to be sewn around the outer edges of the middle hexagon. Fold and sew the six remaining templates to the back of each fabric hexagon, exactly as the first one.
Hold the middle hexagon and an outer hexagon together, right-sides facing each other. Line up the edges. Stitch along one of the edges, sewing them together. Tie off and cut the thread.
Hold another outer hexagon to the middle hexagon, right-sides facing. Line up the edges. Stitch along one of the edges, sewing them together. Do not stitch the two outer hexagons together.
Continue adding the remaining four outer hexagons to the middle hexagon by stitching the edges together. When it is finished, the hexagons will create a flower pattern.
Cut and remove the stitches holding the templates to the hexagons. Remove the templates from the fabric.
Move around the flower pattern stitching together the sides of each outer hexagon.
Stitch the seven templates into seven additional fabric hexagons. Stitch the hexagons together, creating a flower pattern. Continue creating flower patterns until you have enough to complete the desired length and width of the quilt.
Assemble the Flowers
Line up a several flowered pieces beside one another, creating the bottom edge of the quilt. The flowers should be turned and situated so the outer hexagons from each piece interlock with each other.
Add a row of border hexagons around each flower piece, if desired. The border will separate all of the flower pieces in the quilt. Choose fabric hexagon pieces that are similar in color. Add the templates to the back of each border hexagon with a quick stitch around the edges. Sew the border hexagons around the outer hexagons on each flower, creating a lining between flowers as they are sewn together.
Sew the flower pieces together. Interlock the outer or border hexagons from each piece and stitch the edges together. Stitch each piece together working in a row to complete the bottom edge of the quilt. Continue stitching the flower pieces in rows until you have reached the desired length and width for your quilt.
Add batting and backing to your quilt, if desired.
- Photo Credit Ableimages/Photodisc/Getty Images
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