Thursday, 1 November 2012

Adventures of a paper-piecing novice

My heartfelt thanks to everyone for your thoughtful and supportive messages on my last post. Olivia continues in pure, unbroken, glorious good health and happiness. I am touched that so many of you sensed and shared my palpable relief and wonder that she is again well. I am still breathing in the peace and relief ... in enormous, deep gulps!

And so, this week I picked up needle and thread again, to revisit my Little Hexagon Purse. This is my first serious attempt at paper piecing, and I thought I'd pass on some things I've learned.

The finished hexies have 1/2" sides - I know, what was I thinking?! For the majority of fabrics, I trace around an acrylic template with a pencil and cut out the hexagon with scissors.

For fabrics pleading to be fussy cut, I made a 'window' template from light cardboard, and use this for tracing the shape onto the fabric.

I am using Sue Daley's method to temporarily glue the fabric hexagons to purchased hexagon papers. When I'm feeling diligent, I use a Sewline glue pen specifically developed for fabric. When I can't find the Sewline, I just use an ordinary old glue stick. Both achieve the same end.

After experimenting with various threads, silk and cotton of different weights and colours, I have settled with using this Aurifil 50 weight in a neutral beige (#2314). The colour blends sufficiently across the fabrics I'm using, and the thread is fine enough to sink nicely into the seams.

After stitching the hexies together, the papers are supposed to 'pop' out quickly and easily from the back of the work. I have obviously been too heavy-handed with the glue as there's no way my papers are 'popping' anywhere! I solved this dilemma by moistening the seams (on the back of the panel) using a small, soft paintbrush dipped in water. This diluted/softened the glue enough that I could quickly remove the papers. 

This purse is for my eldest daughter. It was supposed to be finished for a School Ball a week ago. Knowing full well that I was not going to get all those teeny tiny hexies pieced in time, I offered to make up a quick, 'one fabric only' substitute. 

This offer was duly accepted by said 17-year-old on the proviso that the 'real' hexie purse be completed by Christmas :) Deal!


  1. What a clever wife I have !
    (and a beautiful daughter)

    1. Ha! That would be my Sweetness being oh-so-techno and leaving his first ever comment on my blog! Please don't encourage him! I suppose he at least called me 'clever'. Note to self - wear more lipstick to pull a 'beautiful' comment next time :)

  2. So glad to see your post this morning! What an awesome, uplifting, happy miracle to read! I started out with the hexies and congratulatiing you on so many little ones...but the miracle of Olivia's deliverance caught me by surprise and just made me smile!

    It is so hard to see our "babies" suffer. I know there are jewels in a crown for your service, patience, persistence, love, mercy and grace...and for all of the times you might have thought they weren't there in you...they were! God is good and He loves you all so much!


  3. Bless Olivia and her continued good health! I cried when I read your last post and I have tears in my eyes again now. Bless Olivia and your entire family.

    I've just started sewing hexies too. Though mine are twice the size at 1 inch.

    Your husband's comment made me smile. Isn't it fun when they surprize us with things like that.

  4. Your hexies are tiny but very beautiful, your fabric combinations look great. Must be rather therapeutic to pick up needle and thread again. A project which doesn't require too much thinking, there's a timeless beauty to hexies. I've not tried gluing, only stitching to cardboard, but I've not tried such small hexies either.

  5. Those Hexes are insanely small - they really will look fab when finished though so can't wait to see the purse when it is all done.

    Really so happy to hear about your little one's recovery - must be a huge relief for you all :-)

  6. The hexagons are looking beautiful. The substitute purse turned out so well. How gorgeous does your daughter look! Thanks for the update on Olivia - so pleased.

  7. Great to see the progress on your purse plus the extra one. I'm so glad to hear that Olivia is going well and you can sew again!
    Have a great day,
    Mandy Hawkins

  8. Glad to hear Olivia is still doing well, yay!
    Love your hexes. Am about to put together a small hand piecing project to take on hols with us but am dithering about which shape I want to make. Those teeny hexies really are sweet. And I so love making use of small scraps. Decisions, decisions.

  9. You're little hexies are just beautiful. I've just started using the glue method for some star blocks -- I'll probably need that little water tip, so thanks for sharing it. And Yay for healing, no matter how it happens -- I'm happy to hear your little Olivia is better!

  10. Loving all those little hexies

  11. Gorgeous little hexies, will be a beautiful Christmas gift. Loving the photos of your stunning garden, just spectacular.

  12. Good to see you back with needle and thread again....
    and even a comment from your Sweetness is a turn up for the books (lol!)
    Glad to hear all is going along well.

  13. I just bought a hexagon template and now have to work up the nerve to actually use it. I love hexagons and don't know why I have this mental block about them. I love how yours are turning out. Can't wait to see that finished bag. :)

  14. Wow. . this is totally amazing! I can't wait to see the final project.

  15. Very nice blog. I love all the bright colored materials.
    Thanks for posting.


  16. Glad to hear of Olivias continuing good health. Nice to see you back stitching again the hexie purse is going to be sooo cute

  17. Wow there is a perfection in this website nice keep on continuing will be back again to ur site

    thanking you

  18. very nice post.i like all materials.thanks for share with us..
    get ordained online

  19. nice design. I just like your design. tahnks for share with us!!!
    Coduri Postale Constanta


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