24 September 2014

How I English Paper Piece - Part 2: Joining Hexies

I'm moving right along with my paper piecing project. I thought I had all the hexagons basted, but turns out I think I need more than I initially calculated to make the panels bigger for the project I've got in mind. In the meantime, I thought I'd show how I attach the hexagons, and then how I attach the rows to make a panel. Plus I just painted my nails, so I figured I should take advantage of them before they get all chipped and I don't want to show them in the pictures!

When I connect the hexagons I use a ladder stitch. The thread moves back and forth between the fabrics, creating a ladder shape. Because the stitches are concealed by the fabric creases it makes the join nearly invisible.

 photo ladderstitch_zps3ffab75e.jpg
Look at the 'ladder' the thread makes between the two hexagons!

I think I just got ahead of myself. First I take two of my basted hexagons.

 photo startingpoint_zpsd8c69a92.jpg
2 basted hexagons. 
Next, I place them right sides together, aligning the edge I want to connect them along. I insert a needle with a knotted thread between the fabric and the basting paper, exiting at my starting point, which, for me, is the right corner (I sew from right to left and I'm right handed. I have no idea if this is normal, this is just what feels most comfortable to me, and you should find what is comfortable to you).

 photo insert_thread_zps95cb8af9.jpg
My blurry starting point. I swiveled them a bit so you can see they are right sides together.
When sewing you'll see they are lined up right next to each other. 

For the first stitch I insert the needle into the other hexagon, through the right corner and run it along the fold about 1/4 or 1/8th of an inch. These are 1/2 inch hexagons, so I'm using smaller stitches. For a larger hexagon you could use a larger stitch.

 photo ladder1_zpsee39c26d.jpg
Insert needle and run it along the folded fabric a little ways
before coming out of the same fabric. 

For the next stitch, you want to do the same thing back on that first hexagon. Enter at a parallel point in the new hexagon from where you left the old one. I've highlighted this in the picture below. You can see the exit point illustrated with the finger in the image, and the entering point illustrated with the pink and blue arrow.

 photo ladder21_zpscfb7b3a7.jpg
finger = exiting old stitch; triangles = entering new stitch

You will continue in this fashion until you reach the end of the side. For the final stitch I just do a back stitch in whichever hexagon I DID NOT put the last ladder stitch. Then I knot and cut the thread and start the process over again adding the next hexagon.

 photo ladderstitchcollage_zps9e8402fe.jpg
Sewing the hexagons together. 

I'm sewing my hexagons into rows, and then sewing the rows together. I'll show how I do that in my next tutorial post.

 photo coupled_hexies_zpsb34306e8.jpg
Conjoined hexagons!

 photo 2rows_zps8519eeba.jpg
Rows of hexagons. I like how graphic Arizona looks using this method. 


  1. Nice photography and description. I think the Arizona prints look so much different in your hexies, but in a great way. :)

  2. pinned this so I can come back to it when I start joining my hexies!

  3. I sew hexies like this too! I love that the stitches are so neat (& nearly invisible)!

  4. Really love your method, so much neater than y usual whipstitch way of doing it!

  5. I use this same method is so much clearer than using a whipstitch :) What are you making??

  6. Looking good! If I ever do EPP I'm using same method like you :) Looks really nice and neat!


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