Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Spy Quilt - Hexagons - Sewing Tips and tricks

Since I just finished sewing the main part of Aurora's I spy quilt, I thought I'd document some tips. I will be making another one of these after Christmas so I want to be sure to review all the things I learned while making this first one.

Just the nature of working with hexagons means that you are sewing on bias edges.  So when sewing your hexagons, is to make sure you have lots of points to line up at various stages of sewing. You get the points by ironing your seams so that the points stick out beyond the block. Normally, these are a nuisance. But in this case, these are important to have because they simply make it easy to line up your seams and your pinning is minimum.

So, here's how you get your points.

When you add your 2 triangles to each hexagon, be sure that you iron the triangles out so that you have little points sticking out each side of the two triangles.

Next, when sewing two hex sections together, first lay right sides together, and match up the points so that they are directly one on top of the other. Make sure that you have a quarter inch point sticking out the top and the bottom too. The layering of the fabric makes a V. Sew a quarter inch to join the blocks.

If you are like me and have a little bar on your quarter inch foot, I use a seam ripper to flip over the points so that they go nicely through the machine.... (Note to self.. get a quarter inch foot without a bar for my Juki)

After sewing a whole row of these you will need to press the seams down. Here's how I ironed my seams to ensure that I had 4 points coming out of the top and bottom of each hexagon. If you are a quilting purist, don't read further because this is just wrong!!   Anyway, on the wrong side, press the seams down so that the points stick out from each edge.. this means that you will have to twist the seam backwards about 1/3 of the way down the seam. I urge it along with my finger, then press.

Notice the back of this hexagon. Two points sticking out the top, and the bottom. The middle ones don't matter much now. Their work is done. Ironing these down now prepares you for an easy long seam in the next step.

This is what it looks like after pressing from the right side.

I prepare all my rows before sewing them into pairs of rows.

When I sew my rows together, I line up the points to be exactly stacked on top of one another, and I pin below the point. I sew a quarter inch seam for the whole row, and I continue to use my seam ripper to make sure my points remain stacked and folded in as they go under my presser foot.  You may find that because of the bias edges, you may find that the top or bottom fabric seems to be longer... Don't worry, just be true to your points... Make sure they stacked perfect on top of one another.

By doing this, you'll be pleased with how the points of your trangles line up on the right side. 


Joanne said...

Great tips!

Unknown said...

I am going to refer to this.. if I ever make one of those hex quilts

Jolene said...

I borrowed the templates from a friend, and have no instructions. Your blog has been so helpful!! Thank you so much, has helped so much!

MmBex said...

THANK YOU! My Grandma and I are working on an I Spy quilt and had quite the time trying to create the pattern on our own. These tips helped very much!

Nancy: said...

Thanks for the tips! I have all the hexagons and all the triangles cut out, but have been reluctant to start sewing. I do have some other things on my plate right now, but your suggestions will be a big help when I start making the "I spy" quilt for my grandson.