Category Archives: Tutorials

Traveling hexagons

If you have followed my last couple of blog posts, you know that I’ve been traveling. I brought the ultimate traveling sewing project with me – English paper pieced hexagons!

A group of hexagons sewn together.

Before I left home, I grabbed this great set of fat quarters that my dear niece had given me.

Fun group of fat quarters

I had already purchased a package of 100 one-inch hexagon precut paper shapes.

Package of precut paper hexagons

I found these at a quilt shop in Illinois but you can also buy them online here. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. A 1″  hexagon means that each side of the hexagon measures one inch. These are made out of light card stock which is perfect. I also cut a couple hexagons out of some card stock I had that were 1/4 inch larger all the way around.  I used these as a rough template to cut my fabric with. I simply cut the fabrics into strips, stacked about 4 strips, and then used a rotary cutter to cut around the hexagon template.  Some of the fabrics had patterns on them that I felt would look better if they were not randomly cut.  In order to “fussy cut” these fabrics, I cut the 1 ” shape out of the middle of my template, placed it where I wanted on the fabric and cut each one out individually.

Using template to see what final hexagon will look like.

Using template to “fussy cut” hexagon

This gave me a wonderful collection of fabric hexagons which are the right size to use with my 1″ papers.

Fabric hexagons and paper pieces.

There are a lot of different instructions for english paper piecing. Some have you actually baste the fabric to the paper which I do not like to do. I hold the paper against the wrong side of the fabric, fold over one side, then another and baste the fold where they intersect. Keep doing this around the shape until all sides are basted down.

Back of basted hexagon.

After basting many of these, they can be whip-stitched together by putting right sides together and sewing one side at a time. It is an extremely accurate way of piecing geometric shapes together and is all done by hand.  This is what makes English paper piecing so great to travel with!  Small pieces, needle and thread.  So little to carry with you!

Front side

Reverse side.

Here is the little case I carry this project in which I bought at the Container Store.

Hexagon tool box

Everything I need!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my hexagons.  I’m thinking of making a tote bag or pillow. I guess it will depend on how many I get put together.

6 Comments

Filed under Tutorials, Uncategorized

Zakka Style project #13 – Patchwork Pot Holder

Finished front

Finished Back

This week’s project from the Zakka Style sew along is a patchwork potholder. Kim from Retro Mama designed these potholders for the book. She has also updated the instructions for putting on the binding which can be found here. This was a pretty quick and easy project to put together. The great thing about these is that they are large and thick enough to make a nice trivet for the table as well as protecting your hands from a hot dish.

I started the project by making a strip set. I had some strips that were already sewn together. Adding a strip of linen to those gave the potholder the look I wanted. After all, linen is the fun element of the Zakka Style projects!

Strips sewn, layered with Insul-Brite, batting, and backing and then trimmed into an 8 ” circle.

I layered 10″ squares of the strip set, a piece of Insul-Brite, a piece of cotton batting and then a piece of linen for the backing. A walking foot made quilting these together very easy. Once they were together I cut an 8 inch circle.

Bound edge of partial circles

2 partial circles were cut out of linen and 2 out of a cotton print (which ended up unseen on the inside). The flat edge was bound and then these were placed onto the back of the round piece and basted around the edge. Now it was ready for the binding.  I have avoided binding in linen on other Zakka projects due to the fraying of the fabric. However, since this binding HAD to be cut on the bias, fraying would not be a problem so I went ahead and used it.

Binding turned to the back. Ready for hand stitching.

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the updated binding instructions and just overlapped and sewed the edge of the binding which did not give as clean a finish as doing it the other way would have. I look forward to trying it again and perfecting the binding.

I’m happy with how this turned out and will be making some more for gifts.  Any sort of quilted design could be put on the front and it would be fun to try some different things to make a useful and pretty gift.

2 Comments

Filed under Gifts, Tutorials, Zakka Style sew along

Zakka Style Project 5: Patchwork Pencil Case

Zakka Pencil Case finished

This was a fun and easy project.  Thankfully, many of you have already posted about it so I was forewarned about following the directions exactly. The best suggestion that I have to add is that the directions want you to “turn” the project through a 1 1/2 inch opening.  I thought it was easier to leave the whole 3 inch end open to turn through (see pictures below).  There were not many pictures or diagrams for this project so I tried to take pictures of each step.  I hope this helps!

Pieces all cut and patchwork sewn together.

Sew the small linen piece to the top of the patchwork strip and the longer linen piece to the bottom of it. Baste the closing band 1" from the top of the small linen piece.

After fusing interfacing onto the wrong side of the lining piece, sew lining to linen piece across top with right sides together. Fold lining back at top and topstitch along the fold.

With lining side up, fold the lining right sides together by folding 5 1/2" from the topstitched edge.

Turn the piece over and fold the linen exterior in the same way - aligning raw and folded edges.

Sew along raw edges on both long sides. I left the 3rd raw edge open to give more room for turning right side out. Folded edge is not sewn.

Turn right side out.

Fold raw edges in.

Topstitch opening closed and it's done!

As others have posted, this case is smaller than it looks in the book or online.    It’s only about 2 1/2″ by 6″.  Here is how it compares to a pencil and a pen:

It has been suggested that it could be used for a small pair of eye glasses or to keep crochet hooks in.  I might use mine to keep my small rotary cutter in when I take it to a class.

Happy sewing everyone!

4 Comments

Filed under Tutorials, Zakka Style sew along

Zakka Style Project 2: The House Pouch

This is week two of the Zakka Style Sew Along.  Project 2 was a lot quicker and easier to sew than the Project 1 tote.  It was very fun to make and I plan to use it to keep sewing tools in.

Here are all the pieces laid out.  The house and roof have fusible interfacing on the wrong side.  I used fusible web on the fabric for the door and windows.  Roof, door and windows were cut out using the templates from the book Zakka Style.

House pouch pieces. Roof ready to be cut using template from book.

Next step was to add all the “house” details including flower garden.

House pouch - flowers sewn on

The house and roof were sewn together and then the lace edging was sewn on.  Lining was cut (bright pink in my pictures) and the zipper is installed by placing it in between the lining and house tops.  I used this video tutorial which I found the link to among the Flickr group comments. This is a GREAT way to put a zipper into the top of a pouch!  I have done many and this looks the very best.

Sew zipper to top and lining on both sides.

House pieces and lining pieces right sides together

House pieces and lining pieces right sides together

Once zipper is attached, arrange pieces as above and sew around all edges except for the bottom of the lining.  You MUST leave a space free to turn the pouch right side out and you MUST leave the zipper part way open to do this as well.

Finished pouch

All done!

Project #2 complete.  22 more to go!  Next week:  Zakka Pincushion.  It won’t be as cute as my chickens!

2 Comments

Filed under Tutorials, Zakka Style sew along