How to Machine Piece Hexagon Patchwork
Hexies have my heart. Always have and always will. I love that they can be traditional, contemporary, technical or fun all at the same time, for however you want to use them in your makes.
Hand piecing, EPP style, is my usual go to when it comes to Hexagon patchwork – it is the portability factor that really make it for me, stowing them away in a bag to tote along with you so you can whizz up a couple here and there as the mood hits.
But, I know for some of y’all hand piecing is a huge turn off. Firstly I will say to you, have you checked out my tutorial for hassle free hand piecing hexies? And, secondly I will say to you, how about giving machine piecing a shot?
Yup, you can actually machine stitch all those little hexagons together, and it is not as tricky as you might think…let me show you How To Machine Piece Hexagon Patchwork.
Get your supplies…
You’re going to need your pre cut hexagon fabrics in your chosen size
Sewing machine (duh!)
Tape measure or ruler
Also…if you’re looking at machine piecing hexies to hurry the process along, you might want to check out the Sizzix Big Shot and the Hexagon Dies – cutting multiple shapes is super quick and easy and will really cut your cutting time!
Begin by laying out your hexagon pieces into rows of your desired pattern and design. You will be working with one new piece at a time to create rows of hexagons to piece together. Take the first pair of hexagons to be joined and place right sides together. Using the chalk pencil and ruler mark out the seam allowance. The marks need to be positioned 1/4 of an inch in from the raw edge and they need to be centred 1/4 of an inch from both the top and bottom sections of the seam. You may find that after piecing a few of these little hexes together that you are able to eyeball the correct seam amount, seam allowance a placement – but, just to be sure, it’s wise to add these markers in!
With a straight machine stitch, work the joining seam along the marked section, the seam will be 1/4 of an inch from the raw edges and there will be 1/4 of an inch unstitched at both the top and bottom of the shape to allow join in the other pieces later.
Continue working along the row to join in all the pieces in exactly the same manner, being careful to keep to the same 1/4 inch seam allowance and leaving the top and bottom 1/4 inch of the pieces unstitched. Once the first row has been jointed you can go ahead and join the remaining rows in exactly the same manner. Once joined press the seams open on the back of the work to neaten and help with the construction of the next stage.
Now, you will have a series of lovely hexie strips all ready to be joined together into your wonderful quilt project. The process of joining them is not as tricky as you might think. The strips are joined with a series of ver small seams working along the aligning short lengths of the two strips. With the two strips to be joined you can see the order in with you will be working the seams – I’ve numbered them and marked with arrows for the direction of the stitching!
Using the image above you will be able to identify the seams that you will ned to stitch – and it might be helpful to keep this to hand as you work for an easy reference to keep you on the right track! Begin by aligning the first seams to be joined – shown by arrow 1 – with the right sides together – you can work a straight machine stitch across the two pieces to join them. As this is the start of the row, the stitching can begin right at the start of the shape and should continue to 1/4 from the end of the seam. You might like to mark this out with a chalk pencil and ruler – I found that the I was able to use the pressed seams as a guide for where to stop the stitching.
Press the seam open to prepare for the joining the second seam.
With the right sides uppermost, locate the second seam to be joined – shown by arrow 2 – you will find that the unstitches sections of the rows and the completed joined sections will need to be folded around in order to line up the seams. yes, this will feel a bit weird, and it will look a bit messy while you prepare to stitch, but, if each seam is aligned neatly the seams will all fit together perfectly!
Place the sections right sides tougher and join with a straight machine stitch. Work with a neat 1/4 seam allowance and use the pressing mark (or add in chalk markers) to ensure that there is 1/4 inch left unstitched at the start and end of the seam.
Once the seam is stitched, press neatly open to prepare for stitching the third seam.
I think that you got where this is going, right? Repeat the process of folding the sections out of the way allowing you to align the next seam in the sequence (check back to the arrows to be sure!) and join with a 1/4 inch seam leaving 1/4 inch unstitched at the start and end of each seam. The more seams you work through in the sequence the more the folding of the stitched sections will start to feel like origami, but taking each one in turn and you’ll get to the end in no time!
Press open the seams in preparation for adding any further rows, which – you’ve guessed it – are worked in exactly the same manner – following the arrowed sequence to work the small joining seams across the row!
Tah Dah! Little rows of lovely hexagons joined with machine piecing! This was a lot of fun – I’m all for learning new ways to work awesome hexies into my makes – how do you join your hexagons, are you a hand stitching fan or a machine piecing convert?