How to Sew Hexies On-the-Go | English Paper Piecing Tutorial

I have to share with you my new crafting project LOVE, hexies. Yes, I’ve made them before and have even hand pieced a hand quilted hexie flower garden quilt. (That was years ago). For some reason, the smaller one-inch version has caught my eye I love making them. We recently went on a road trip and I NEEDED some handwork to do while riding in the car. I figured while I was in the car I would show you how to sew hexies on-the-go. 

One thing I get excited about going on vacation is not only time away, but some time to work on projects like these. Unless I need something to do while watching a movie, or I know I’ll be waiting somewhere for long periods, projects like these get put on the back burner. But WHY? Little sewing projects like these bring me joy, help me chill and relax, and are very rewarding. I guess I’ll have to go on more trips!

So I made sure I had some projects to take with me. (I had three small bins of things to DO: a little sewing, a little crochet, some beading, and my travel watercolor kit). I never get to them all, but at least I have them with me. Is anyone this crazy?

WHAT ARE HEXIES?

Fabric hexagons (which are affectionately referred to as hexies) are made using a process called English paper piecing. Each hexagon is made individually by wrapping the fabric around a paper shape, then securing it in place using either stitch basting or glue basting. (The paper will eventually be pulled out).

These hexagon shapes can be used alone or stitched together to form other fun shapes or patterns like flowers. There really are so many fun ways to put them together. You can applique them on pillows, quilts, or make a wall hanging. Of course, Pinterest has a few ideas.

This is a GREAT WAY TO USE UP YOUR TREASURED FABRIC SCRAPS!

I made a little HEXIE TRAVEL KIT. Let me show you what‘s in it. 

Hexagons are measured by the length of their sides. The hexies I show in this tutorial were made using a 1-inch template and is a good size to start with.

HEXIE TRAVEL KIT CONTENTS

  • Pre-cut fabric scraps (cut to 2 ½ inch – 63 mm squares). Use a variety of colors and prints. 
  • Pre-cut hexagon papers you can buy them already made in bulk, or you can make them yourselves. I like to make them using a lightweight cardstock. Cutting them by hand can be a little time consuming, so I made a template on my Silhouette and let the machine cut them out for me. It’s very important that they are cut out accurately and that they are uniform. I have the CSV file available HERE.
  • I like to get a little tin or zip lock bag to put the papers in for easy access.
  • Needle and Thread Some people use a glue stick, but I prefer the simple needle and thread method. Use a milliner type needle size 9-11. (However, any embroidery needle will work just fine). Throw in a spool of white or neutral color thread for basting.
  • Scissors I take my fabric scissors because I like to trim the fabric before sewing. A smaller pair of embroidery scissors are nice if you have a pair.
  • Upcycled Altoid tins to keep single already made hexies, and spare needles.
  • Acrylic template (optional)

HOW TO MAKE A SINGLE HEXIE

Double thread a needle and knot the end. (Don’t get your thread too long, or it will get tangled, about 16 inches after doubled.

Place your hexagon paper on the wrong side of your fabric and centered on the square. Hold the paper in place while you trim the corners to make a 3/8 seam allowance. 

Fold the fabric firmly over the paper on one side and then fold the adjacent side over to form a mitered corner. Take two small stitches over the mitered corner to tack in place. Stitch about ¼ inch from the edge.

Fold the next side over and hold in place while you tack that corner in place.

Repeat until all sides are folded over and sewn in place. Knot and cut the thread.

Store your made hexies in the tin until you are ready to sew them together. If you are home, it’s nice to press the hexies before sewing them together. However, if you are on-the-road, you can still sew them together and press later.

HOW TO SEW HEXIES TOGETHER

Decide how you want to sew them together. You can make hexie flowers for a Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt, (as shown above) or just start randomly sewing them together if you don’t want a specific pattern. I’ve done it both ways.

Double thread the needle and knot the end.

Place two hexies right sides together (RST). Using a WHIP STITCH, sew along one side from point to point. Sew small stitches that are about 1/8 inch apart. Catch the top folded edge of fabric only. DO NOT SEW THROUGH PAPER. Small, closely spaced stitches that are sewn straight across the fabric top are best.

When one edge is sewn, secure your stitching with a couple of stitches repeated in the same place, at the end of your hexagon side. This keeps the stitches tight and the seams (for each side of the hexagon) neatly intact. Next, fold the hexagons out flat and decide which hexie you want to add next.

When sewing more than one side together, you’ll have to flip the hexie as you sew. Sew the first side right up to the corner end. Align the next side by folding the other hexie next to it in half (without creasing). This allows you to line up the edges more easily. Sew that side and repeat the flip. 

While on the road, you can just make up a bunch of single hexies, or if you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait and you’ll want to arrange a flower and sew one together right away. 

Play Video

Seriously, once you make a few hexies you’re going to be hooked! 

I hope this inspires you to make a little travel kit and get sewing, EVEN ON-THE-GO!

Have fun sewing!

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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FACE MASK Minimal Sewing Method | It’s A Cinch

Making a face mask just got even easier! This DIY face mask minimal sewing method can be made either by a sewing machine or by hand. It’s really a cinch, literally! Instead of pleating, I teach you how to create a comfortable fitting face mask using a new CINCHING METHOD. 

This adult face mask has four protective layers and an easy to access filter pocket that is accessed from the bottom of the mask, out of the way from your mouth. The ties are made from upcycled t-shirts which makes this mask comfortable to wear. I have given the measurements for a TEEN AND CHILD MASK as well.

 

Recycle an old t-shirt or use a cotton piece of fabric to make your mask. I will demonstrate the sewing machine and hand sewing method in this tutorial.

Face Mask Minimal Sewing Method Materials and Items Needed

  • FABRIC (14.91 cm) cotton fabric, knit fabric, or upcycled t-shirts (cut 16 ½  x 16 ½  inch)
  • SCISSORS/ROTARY CUTTER (OPTIONAL)
  • PINS/CLIPS (OPTIONAL) I LOVE THESE FABRIC CLIPS!
  • RULER/SEAM GAUGE
  • SEWING MACHINE (OPTIONAL-can be sewn by hand)
  • BAG TWIST TIES,  CRAFT PIPE CLEANERS (If using craft pipe cleaners, cut to 4 inch
  • IRON
  • UPCYCLED T-SHIRT/ OR KNIT FABRIC (for the mask ties)
  • Safety Pin
  • Needle & Thread, if sewing by hand.

Cutting Out Mask

Cut the fabric to the correct measurement for the size.

  • ADULT: Fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches (14.91 x 14.91. cm)
  • TEEN: Fabric 15.5 x 15.5 inches (39.7 x 39.7cm) 
  • CHILD: Fabric 14.5 x 14.5 inches (36.83 cm)

Upcycled T-Shirt

Cut off the bottom 16.5 inches of the shirt, LEAVE THE HEM INTACT!

Cut the same width (16.5 wide).

Woven Fabric

Cut a piece of fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches.

Cutting Out Ties

The beauty of knit fabric is that it doesn’t fray, and when pulled it will curl. You may be asking why do we want it to curl? When it curls it creates a little tube, like an enclosed tie, but you don’t have to sew it to keep it that way like you would a woven fabric.

If you don’t have any knit fabric or T-shirts to make ties with, I found a great resource where you can purchase this stuff already made. It’s called “FARMYARN”. This yarn is made from recycled lycra fabric that is REALLY stretchy and durable. It’s like elastic and can be used in so many ways ie: FACE MASKS! You can read more about it and buy it HERE

Read the face mask tie tutorial HERE.

Cut two strips either crosswise or lengthwise 1 inch wide. (2.5) cm

Cutting along the bottom of a t-shirt, the fabric will curl and expose the wrong side of the fabric.

 (Which doesn’t matter if using a plain color, preference only).

But if you want the right side of the fabric exposed, cut the shirt lengthwise.

Pull the strips to stretch and curl the fabric.

You can either have the ties tie over the head and behind the neck, or you can make it so you have a continuous permanent loop behind your neck. (That way you don’t have to tie it every time) I personally just like regular ties.

 CUT TWO STRIPS 32 INCHES (58.42 cm) long

CONTINUOUS STRIP  33 INCHES (83.82 cm) long

If you don’t have a strip long enough, you can sew two pieces together.

Sewing Instructions

Fold the fabric in half with Right Sides Together (RST).

(T-Shirt fabric, have the hem edge be on the side).

Using a ¼ inch seam allowance, sew along the long unfinished edge using a straight stitch or sew by hand USING A RUNNING STITCH. Backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams.

 

Turn inside out.

WOVEN FABRIC: Fold unfinished edges under ¼ inch and press in place. Do this on both sides.

T SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step. (Knit fabric will not fray).

Fold WRONG SIDES TOGETHER making a shorter tube.

Line up pressed edges of the two layers.

WOVEN FABRIC: Sew the 2 layers together, topstitching close to the edge.

You will start at one point and sew around until you meet the starting point (Sewing around the tube). Backstitch.

T-SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step

Applying Nose Wire

Take the twist tie or pipe cleaner and insert it between the two FOLDED EDGES of the doubled tube.

(Opposite of where you just topstitched)

(If using a pipe cleaner, barely fold the ends under and crimp in place. This will keep the sharp point from poking through the fabric!).

Center it side to side and down ¼ inch from the top edge. The wire will be sandwiched between the two layers. Clamp or pin in place.

Make a casing for the wire so it stays in place when washing the mask.

If sewing by hand, use a simple running stitch.

Feel with your fingers where the edge of the wire is and start stitching down from the top a few stitches. (You will be sewing through all four layers of fabric).  Leave your needle in and lift up presser foot and pivot fabric.

Sew along the bottom of the wire to the other edge of the wire (feeling with your fingers where that is).

Pivot and sew back up to the top edge. Leave your needle in and pivot again to sew along the top edge. You will have sewn a little box around the nose wire.

Sewing Tie Casings

Sew down the sides of the mask ½ inch from the edge.

If sewing by hand, you can just use a simple running stitch.

Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Inserting Mask Ties

Attach the safety pin to the end of the tie.

CONTINUOUS TIE:

Thread the tie into the casing starting at the top of the mask. Pull out and continue threading the other side from the bottom up to the top.

REGULAR DOUBLE TIE:

Thread each tie into the casing.

 

Cinching the sides of mask to gather.

No Pleats, Yea!

CONTINUOUS  TIES:

Decide how tight you want the neckband to be by trying the mask on.  Once you’ve situated it and it feels tight enough, clamp in place. Remove mask.

Take the ends of the ties and hold them together. Pull to gather each side of the mask until the gathered section measures 4 inches.

Repeat on the other side.

REGULAR DOUBLE TIES:

Take the ends of the ties and hold together. Cinch the fabric to gather evenly until the gathered fabric area measures 4 inches. CLAMP IN PLACE OR PIN IN PLACE.

Tacking down ties

Sew the ties in place by sewing back and forth over the end of the casings, making sure to catch the ties underneath.

Repeat on both sides of mask. (This can be done by hand or by sewing machine).

Mask Care:

Masks can be washed and dried with other clothing.

See my other face mask tutorials HERE.

 

Play Video
Play Video

See my other face mask tutorials HERE.

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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SEWING BY HAND | Most Important Stitches to Know

SEWING BY HAND | Most Important Stitches to Know

 

Knowing how to sew these 3 basic stitches will allow you to mend and create items that maybe you thought you couldn’t because you don’t have a sewing machine.

Although there are several other hand sewing stitches and techniques, I am only going to show you the basting or running stitch, stretch stitch or herringbone stitch and the backstitch.

Items Needed:

  • All-purpose thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle

(I recommend getting a variety set of needles to have handy for different projects). For basic hand sewing, use a sharp or a milliner. You can get more technical with eye size and point types, but for now, just choose one that is mid-sized.

  • Thimble (optional)
  • Needle threader (optional)

I recommend purchasing or making your own little sewing kit. What I love about this one is it comes with everything you’ll need, even my favorite fabric clips and small scissors. It comes with several colors of thread for those small mending projects.

Threading the needle

You can either use a single or double thread. I use a double thread for most projects. Don’t get the thread too long or it may be prone to tangling while sewing. A good length is around 16 inches after doubled.

 

Knotting the thread

Each seam, unless you are just basting, will need to start and end with an anchor stitch. This is where you knot the thread so it will not come undone. For most projects, you can just make a knot at the end of your thread.

To do this, simply take the ends of the thread and wrap it around your pointer finder then roll the thread between your fingers. Gently pull the thread and it will create a little knot. Then you’re ready to begin. To make a knot at the end of the seam, pull the needle to the backside and take a TINY stitch, leaving a little loop.

Wrap the needle around the loop once and pull the thread. Thiswill knot the thread.

If you don’t want the bulk of a bunch of knots when you’re sewing by hand, you can use an anchor stitch. Simply take a tiny stitch and then another tiny stitch right by it. Then start your stitching. You can end a seam the same way.

SEWING BY HAND stitches that are important to know

 

Basting stitch/running stitch

The basting stitch/running stitch is great for temporarily holding pieces of fabric together or for quick seams that don’t need to be real sturdy. This stitch can also be used to gather fabric for ruffles or easing in.

 

Take the needle in and out of the fabric with ¼ to ½ inch long stitches. Take several stitches at a time by popping the needle in and out of the fabric before pulling through.

 

Stretch stitch/herringbone stitch

This stitch has several names. I like to call it a hand stretch stitch because it works so well with stretchy fabrics. (The seam won’t pop and break like a straight stitch will when sewn on knit fabrics).

You can also use it for hemming and decorative embroidery and quilt making.

 

Drawing two horizontal lines with a washable pencil or chalk will help as a guide while sewing by hand. Work the stitch from left to right, making little back stitches and crossing over at a diagonal to the other line.

 

backstitch

The backstitch is one of the strongest, most adaptable stitches. This stitch mimics the straight stitch you would see on a sewing machine and is good to know for simple mending jobs and other small projects. Also good to know if you plan on sewing your own clothing by hand.

 

To keep your seam as straight and as tidy as possible, it’s helpful to mark the line of stitching with a thin pencil line. You can us a sharp pencil, chalk pen, or washable ink. On straight seams, use a ruler.

 

Push the needle into the fabric where you want to start the seam. Bring the needle back through both layers of fabric just in front of the previous stitch. Push the needle back into the fabric between where the needle came in and out of the fabric to create the first stitch. These stitches can touch each other, as you see here, or you can space them a little farther apart.

 

Continue this pattern until you are at the end of the seam. Push the needle to the back side and take your anchor stitch and knot in place.

 

I hope this makes sewing by hand a little less intimidating and helps you understand how to use these three basic stitches.

 

Play Video

The running stitch could come in real handy to make the NO SEW FACE MASKS stay in place longer. Real simple to do!

Have fun sewing!

 

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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