Thursday, October 08, 2015

Tips for Cutting Fabrics for a Hexie Quilt

I'm making 3/4" hexies, which means each of the six sides measures 3/4 of an inch. For these I need to cut 2" squares. (At the end of this post there is a table showing the size of fabric squares that corresponds to each of the standard sizes of hexie paper pieces.) To make each hexie flower, I need 6 squares for the petals and 1 square for the center. This is how I cut them.

hexie tutorial: for 3/4" hexies, cut rows of 2" strips into 2" squares
The first thing I do, is sort my scraps into piles by size. The easiest to work with are strips. These I iron, sort by approximate width, and stack 6 strips high, aligning the top and right side edges. Then I cut each stack of 6 strips to exactly 2" wide by slightly more than 14" long. From each one of the strips, I will get one set of petals and one center. After cutting 5 stacks of strips (a total of 30 different fabrics), line them up next to each other as shown above, and cross-cut 2" squares through all of the strip piles at once.

hexie cutting tutorial: pile stacks of 2" squares, alternating orientation of each stack

Now, pick up the piles of 2" squares, and place them in stacks, alternating the orientation as shown above.

hexie tutorial: trim corners off squares, cutting 6 at a time

Next, use dressmaker's shears to trim the corners off of each of the piles. Each pile has 6 fabrics, so you are trimming 6 at a time. Re-stack them as shown above. Note that there are only 6 piles in each row. The 7th pile in each stack, I have set aside to use for centers. These I keep separate from the petal sets, selecting a center for each petal set later in the flower-making process.

hexie tutorial: the yield from cutting the strip is 36  petal sets

The final step is to separate each of the piles into 6 separate piles, one for each of the fabrics. You will end up with 30 singles piles, or petal sets, each with 6 of the same cut and corner-trimmed fabric, enough to make 30 hexie flowers.

Certainly there are other, and even possibly more efficient ways to cut fabrics for hexies, but this way works well for me. Some quilters recommend using the squares without trimming the corners. I tried it that way, but went back to corner-trimming because I like not having the extra bulk toward the centers of each hexie. I'm especially glad I trimmed the corners on my Grandmother's Flower Garden hexie quilt, because it was that much less to stitch through in the hand-quilting process.

Sometimes, the fabric scraps are not strips, or would more effectively be cut as a chunk rather than strip. Basically it's the same process. I stack 6 different fabrics, aligning the top and right hand edges. From this stack, I cut a 4 x 6 inch block, and then cut that in half to make two 2 x 6 inch strips. I align the strips the same way as the 14" strips above, cross-cutting several at one time, and finish the same way as described above.

Fabric Cutting Guide for Different Sizes of Hexies

1/4" hexie  --- cut 1" squares
1/2" hexie  --- cut 1-1/2" squares
3/4" hexie  --- cut 2" squares
1" hexie ------ cut 2-1/2" squares
1-1/4" hexie - cut 3" squares
1-1/2" hexie - cut 3-1/2" squares
2" hexie ------ cut 4-1/2" squares
3" hexie ------ cut 6-1/2" squares
4" hexie ------ cut 8-1/2" squares
6" hexie ------ cut 12-1/2" squares

A very handy, and more complete cutting guide is available from Paper Pieces, which is where I get my pieces. Nope, I don't cut my own; too boring, and I really like the precision of die-cut paper pieces!

For a lot more helpful tips on making a hexie quilt, please see these posts:

Grandma's Flower Garden - 3/4 Inch Hexie Quilt - Time Study

Hand Quilting a Hexie Quilt

Hexie Quilt - Embroidery Quilting in Flower Centers

Hexie Quilt - Paper Pieces are GONE + Tips

Hexie Quilt - To Fix or Not to Fix

Hexie Quilt Top - Almost Finished

Hexies Galore - Grandma's Flower Garden

Grandma's Flower Garden Quilt - I'm Doin' It!

Quilters, Beaders, and Embroiders are the World's Most Generous People!

gifted fabrics for my hexie quilt, flower petal sets
The quilting community is awesomely generous!!!  Thanks to all who have sent me scraps for making hexie flowers:

Lunnette Higdon Hertel
Judy Lynn
Nancy Anders
Kris Phillips
Carol Holland
Bobbi Pohl
Debbie Schnabel
Sue Shufel
Phyllis Petersen
Thom Atkins
Sabine Keichel
Yvonne Morrill
Sylvia Griffin
Christmas Cowell

I really understand and appreciate that it takes time to sort through your scraps, selecting some that you feel might work for me, packing them to send, getting them to the post office. In some cases, you even took time to cut them into 2" squares for me... WOW! Bless your hearts!

The most interesting thing is that all the fabrics I've received so far are ones I might have picked myself, yet so far there are no duplicates. As of Oct. 19th, I have cut petal sets for about 650 flowers (from my own scraps and fat quarter stash, as well as scraps I've received from other quilters), all of them unique! That's about 90% of what I need to make the quilt, and certainly enough to keep me busy for a looooooong time. It will probably take me a year or so to baste and stitch all of the flowers, although I admit to going at it with a lot of gusto.