Paper-piecing hexes can kind of hit you like a fever, leaving you all hot and bothered and a little crazy. It's a little like gardening. Or Springtime. I'm telling you, it's catchy. In lieu of really getting to business in my yard (still a little early for the big stuff), here's a project that's getting me through the last of winter. Maybe you could start with a coaster or two? You know... before the sickness really takes you over.
You will need:
hexagon template (make your own with a protractor, cutting your perfect circle by 60 degrees all the way around. Or find one in your design software, in a book, or on-line.)
short, sharp needle and thread
(I started out using freezer paper--running it through my printer-- and was all convinced that was the way to go and then the genius that is the Angry clued me in on the glue stick. I like it better. All of a sudden you become portable, biodegradable, and low-tech.)
1. Get your hex the right size and copy or trace a whole bunch of them onto paper. That becomes your master and you can copy off as many sheets as you like. Start cutting them out. I do them one at a time, but you could clip the pile together and do it in layers (an old rotary blade and cutter that you only use for paper would be good here).
2. Iron your fabric. Take a paper hex and glue it on the wrong side of your fabric. Cut out the fabric leaving a small seam allowance (approx. 1/4 inch, but you don't have to be too picky). You'll need 7. And then 7 for the back, too.
3. Finger press the edges down around the paper.
4. Sew your rows. With right sides together and edges pressed down thread your needle back and forth over the seam using a sort of ladder stitch. It will be tiny, and you'll only be picking up the littlest bit of fabric each time you pierce the hex.
5. With rows intact, and right sides together repeat the same stitch down the folded edges. If your hexes are good and you're lining things up properly, they should always meet at the corners. You'll be twisting the hexes around to sew the rows properly... I always double and triple check this step. Your tiny stitches are going to be sad to rip out.
6. I'm a big dork and I like to reuse the paper hexes as I go along. So at this point I finger press the outer edges, rip out the paper, and press it with an iron. That should hold it. You could also do a quick baste around the "flower". Of course, if you're leaving the paper in you can go ahead and skip this step.
(With one side.)
Repeat for second side. With wrong sides together blind stitch around the outside of the flower with the teeniest stitches you can muster. For the coasters I slip in a piece of quilt batting before I do this last step.
Now, I'm only a beginner. There are amazing English Paper-Piecing people all over the web (even a group on flickr!) with infinite wisdom on this particular subject. This particular patch is destined for this little little pile. I'm just doing my job and passing on this little bug. Or, uh... planting the seed. Oh man, I need some coffee this morning...