Sunday, August 06, 2017

Hexies table topper

I love playing with colourful fabrics. That's why English Paper Piecing (EPP) suites me so well. I get to use up some of my favourite scraps while making something pretty.
Hexie  flowers top assembled
This little hexie piece has been fun to make and I did learn a lot by making it, especially while finishing it with a facing instead of appliquéing it to a fabric background. I found a great tutorial by Badskirt for using a facing made up of more hexagons. It allowed me to keep the hexagon edge on the finished piece. (See Related Links below.) It was challenging but turned out great!

Quilted backing before the facing is attached
Once I finished the quilt top, I marked the batting and backing with a marker following the top's outline. I cut these to the same size as the top. The next step was to free motion quilt (FMQ) everything together. I very slowly quilted everything in the ditch, except the final lines leading up to the edges. I thought that I would quilt these once I had attached and finished the facing but found that it wasn't necessary.

Hexie facing on top of the piece
I made the hexagon facing to match the edge of the piece. This was the most challenging part. The hexies have to be attached to each other correctly because they need to match the quilt top. It turns out that matching the hexies following the back is not the same as matching the front! Let's just say that there was almost as much un-stitching as there was stitching. It's a good thing that it was easy to undo!

The next step was to attach the facing to the top. With right side together, as in the picture above, I attached the facing (which still had the paper pieces in them), being very careful to stitch on the outside of the hexies so that the stitches wouldn't show when they were flipped over.
The finished back with the hexagon facing attached
After removing all of the papers, I turned the facing over, making sure that the edges were poked out properly. It was simple to attach the facing to the back.

Finished Hexie Flowers Table Topper
Playing with a friend

Lyne's first foundation paper pieced block
This weekend I finished my hexie piece while spending some quality time with Lyne, a childhood BFF who now lives in North Bay, Ontario. Since she's an artist, we spent a few hours at the National Art Gallery where we took a great tour of the new Canadian art section.

We spent the rest of the weekend talking, eating and playing with fabric. Lyne was intrigued with a foundation paper pieced bunny pattern I had. She decided to make it on the weekend! The pattern was one that I've wanted to make for a while but just don't have the patience to - it's got lots of small pieces, even if I doubled the size of it!

Isn't it gorgeous? This was her first foundation paper piecing project. She did a great job! It's going to look wonderful on her grand-daughter's quilt!

What I learned
  • Basting EPP pieces is a great way to finish up my almost-empty spools of thread. 
  • Piecing the facing was a huge learning experience. I think that I was twisting the hexagon pieces when I was holding them to sew. Even if I checked the hexies twice before starting to sew, I would still end up with the wrong edges sewn together. Finally I learned to pick up the hexies only to attach them with a knicker knot. After that I would place them over the quilt top as a guide and sew the correct edges together.
  • To make the facing, I used colours that matched the top. They don't really show from the side but the back look neater.
  • I was very eager to see what the facing would look like when it was flipped, so I took the paper shapes out and flipped a few over before the facing was fully attached. Since the hexies are sewn together using silk thread, I ended up breaking some of the thread. Silk is lovely but not made to take any abuse. Luckily it was very easy to sew them back together.
  • If you want to use silk thread to sew hexies together, a trick I learned recently is to make a knot at the top near the needle so that the thread won't come out of the needle. Since the silk is so fine (#100), the knot goes through the fabric but keeps the thread in the needle.
  • Quilting with a friend is awesome! Thanks Lyne for a great weekend. 😊

Related Links

Project Details

Hexie Flowers Table Topper
10" x 10½"
Materials: cotton scraps, hexagon paper pieces, silk thread
Techniques: English Paper Piecing (EPP)

Great news! This little hexie topper was featured on Midweek Makers. Thanks Susan!

Linking parties: I will be linking this project to the One Monthly Goal August Finish Link-up as soon as it opens up in the last week in August, since this was my OMG for August. I am also linked up to the following parties - come join us! Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, MOP Monday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, Finished or Not Friday, Design Wall Monday, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making, Midweek Makers, Let's Bee Social, Linky Tuesday, Free Motion Mavericks, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap!, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?Slow Sunday Stitching


  1. That hexie project is very cool! That facing technique looks interesting, I may try it for future hexie projects. And the bunny is too cute!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much Alida. The facing was challenging but I think that doing it a second time would be better. It does finish it off well. Thanks!

  2. I've not seen the facing technique either. That is a very cute table topper!

    1. Thanks! I know that I'll be using that facing technique again. It just might get easier (I hope)!

  3. Very sweet projects! That bunny is so adorable, and the little hexies are lovely, too.

    1. Thanks Amy. My girlfriend was thrilled with her bunny!

  4. That facing technique sounds quite complex, but you certainly have mastered it. It looks great!

    1. Thanks Norma. It was, but I do hope that it will be easier the second time around!

  5. That is such a pretty table topper - you are the master at hexies! Thanks for sharing this week on Midweek Makers!

    1. Thanks Susan. Not sure I'm a master yet but I really enjoyed this. I think that the success is all in the colours. Thanks for featuring my hexie flower table topper on Midweek Makers!

  6. I like the idea of creating a facing for these irregular-shaped projects. I usually just bite the bullet and whack 'em off with the rotary cutter to get a straight edge.

    1. Hi Jayne, I can say that I was tempted to wack them off at one point but I'm hoping that it will get easier the second time around.


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