Hand-Sewn Hexagon Tutorial

Here’s my little tutorial for hand-sewing hexagons together without using paper templates inside the hexagon.

First, download the hexagon template you want to use. Cut out your shape – you really only need one or two. (I made the template sheets for people who need lots for English paper-piecing). You can pre-cut your fabric into squares a little larger than your template (at least a 1/2″ on all sides), or just keep your fabric whole. Trace your shape. A lot!

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Cut out your hexagons, leaving a good 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around.

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Place two trimmed hexagons right sides together and stick pins through two corners. Don’t worry about your outer edges lining up, just get your pencil lines to match. Two pins – one at each end of one side of the hexes – is the easiest way to get a good match.

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Stick your pins in along the lines away from where you’re going to sew so they’re out of your way. Thread your needle, and put a knot in one end. Use the knot to anchor one more corner together – this will be your starting point. I like to start and stop with a tiny back stitch at each corner when sewing these hexes together, just to make the intersections stronger.

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Pushing your needle up and down in a running stitch, sew right along your pencil lines.

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As you get to the end of your side, remove the pin to get it out of your way. Sew your running stitch all the way to the next corner. Once there, sew a small back stitch to secure the corner. Be careful not to pull your thread tight – it will gather your hexes. You’ll have to continually loosen the fabric back to a nice flat seam.

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Now you’re ready for a third hexagon. You can add it anywhere, but for this tutorial, I just kept moving to the right. Open your first two hexes and line your third hex up right sides together with your second hex. Use a pin in the corner to keep them lined up.

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After a quick back stitch through the second and third hex, to both join them and secure the intersection, continue your running stitch to the next corner.

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Now you’re at the far right side, and you need to get back to sew hexes one and three together. You can do a back stitch and tie a small knot and cut your thread, or you can do a back stitch and sew a few stitches to run the thread back to the center. I do the latter…it may be laziness, but I try to see how far I can get without ever cutting the thread.

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Use the same method of lining up hex one and three, right sides together, and securing the outside corners with a pin. Sew with a running stitch toward your pin.

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I’ve stopped at three here, but you can just keep adding more and more around, choosing where to place the next one based on where your thread left off. Here’s the back – I’ve finger pressed the seams.

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Here’s the front. Once I’ve got all the hexagons I want, I use spray starch to flatten out the seams. Eventually, I’ll also use spray starch to turn the outside edges under, and I applique my hexes down to a foundation. I guess you could just keep going and going until you make a whole quilt, but that is a little ambitious for me.

hand-sewn hexagon tutorial

So that’s it! I hope it helps someone. Sewing these goes super fast – it took ten times as long to write this tutorial as it did to sew those hexes together. I hope you’ll link back to me with pictures of your completed projects!

78 thoughts on “Hand-Sewn Hexagon Tutorial

  1. I was so pleased I found your tutorial before I spent weeks cutting paper templates and hand tacking the units. Thanks a lot for this tutorial, I might have a crack at it now.

  2. Thank you so much. I cannot punch my needle through that hard card stock for long without pain. This is brilliant! You are brilliant. I love handwork and you’ve made it possible again! Yippee!

  3. I have done EPP and I have done your method for a one block wonder type of quilt with tiny triangles. I figured that women used to sew blocks together by handsewing. And it worked.
    Turned out I really didn’t like the look of the one block wonder kaleidoscope type hexagons (I did scrappy in same colourways) so I just made it into a table runner. Glad I didn’t do a whole pile before putting together.

  4. My friend was showing me her method of hand sewing hexes with no templates that she learned from a German lady. I was looking everywhere on the blog world and found yours! Her stitches has no knots and she starts from the center of the hexi, then backstitch back to the one corner and back to the center.
    thanks for the instructions on your method!

  5. just like I do hexagons by hand – gee this method is the oldest method of all! glad to see you are promoting hand piecing!

  6. I wondered if there was a paperless method. Thank you. I’m not much for hand sewing, but love the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, so may have to try it for something small at least.

  7. Wouldn’t it be great if someone made a metal template for pressing these first, then you could stitch them without the papers!?!?!

  8. Great, simple tutorial for ‘hexies’, but I must have missed a step: if you sew the pieces, ‘right sides together’, at what point do you ‘turn’ them and isn’t that a lot of extra work?

    Thanks!

  9. I have never used paper pieces for flowergarden quilts. I have always chose my finished hexagon shape and traced around it and then traced again using a tracing wheel and this added the 1/4 inch seam allowance and cutting line. Then hand pieced as with any quilt pieces.

  10. You are so right about how much faster this is!
    Good for you! I could never understand the fuss about English Paper piecing when all you have to do is hand piece. And your stitches don’t show either. Bravo!

  11. I too was pleased to find this tutorial before I start this new project. But I wonder wouldn’t it be cool if you could find a stamp with the hexagon shape, using a fabric friendly ink, and stamp the fabric instead of tracing around a pattern? Now this really has me thinking!

  12. I did buy a half hexagon stamp once…I was not great at stamping in a way that didn’t waste a lot of fabric. But they’re out there!

  13. Inklingo is a wonderful program that prints your hexagons on your fabric using your own inkjet printer and it works really well. You can print with seam allowance or without and you can print layouts for rotary cutting or cutting with scissors. You can even use different sizes of pieces so that you don’t have to do a whole page (8 1/2 X 11) if you only want a few. That way you can handstitch without papers as well.

  14. Accuquilt will work for cutting fabric hexes and also cricket machines. Cricket requires a heavy duty blade to cut fabric,

  15. I sent an inquiry to Clover to see if they would consider doing a plastic piece. Never got a word back aye, yes or no.

  16. Did I miss something? I’ve read and re-read the instructions. If you sew the pieces, ‘right sides together’, and connect them one by one, at what point do you ‘turn’ them?

  17. Hand piecing has been the method of choice for years – quilters have been doing it like this all the time for any kind of quilt – just mark your seam line and you are set

  18. Thank you for the tutorial. Now I can trace my hexies while relaxing on the couch! I am ready for a new adventure!

  19. I have always avoided hexagons, because it would take too much time. I shall certainly try your method, it looks great.

  20. I have an 1″ side and an 1/2″ paper punch. I love the small one since I can use a lot of scraps. Small enough to carry tin three containers. One for needle threader, thread and scissors and wax. And second one for finished and unfinished hexies.

  21. Totally agree with your way of sewing hexes together. But I would recommend to do tiny running stitches with a back stitch after each 3 stitches….not a chance your seams will accidentally come apart.

  22. I didnt see any remark about batting. or am I missing something? Do you not use batting between layers?

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