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!

81 Replies to “Hand-Sewn Hexagon Tutorial”

  1. Well done, Abi! I think even I would like to do this, now that I’ve seen your method. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Jay, I bet you’d love it. It’s a super handy little project to keep in a bag and work on whenever you want something small to stitch.

  3. i, too, am pretty interested in trying this now. of course, i have no idea what a back stitch is … and what the heck is the secret to getting a knot tied close to fabric?!

  4. I might even try this. :) Great tutorial, thanks!

  5. I think I would drive myself nuts if I tried that project! And yeah, I thought about joining the stash busting, but then I bought a bunch of fabric I don’t need. So, maybe I’ll start next month…

    I seriously have a problem.

    Hey, I noticed that you have some bicycles fabric on your Etsy. Would you be interested in trading for some chairs fabric when I actually have it in my hot little hands?? TECHNICALLY THAT ISN’T BUYING. ;)

  6. Sure, I’d love to trade! I’ll send you an email.

  7. […] in the little papers was double the work – for me, anyway. Many people swear by it. So I made this handy tutorial for hand-piecing with no paper. I still think this method is the best for small hexagons. Then I […]

  8. this is great – thanks for an awesome tutorial. i’ll definitely have to try making them this way! :)

  9. Really great job…..easy to understand clear instructions. By the way the photo’s HELP a lot.

  10. Yay! Thanks, Barb!

  11. Great idea! It’s funny that I first learned to quilt by piecing a pinwheel square this way; but it never dawned on me 20 years later to try it again on the hexes! All that time spent sewing those darn things to the paper could be spent sewing the actual fabrics together! Brilliant! Thanks!

  12. thank you. I think it helps a log. hugs from Italy Alessndra

  13. Thank you sooo much for this tutorial. I do not do anything with paper piecing, way too fiddly, so up to now I have avoided hexies. Doing them this way is so easy and so fast and personally I think they look great! I freely admit I am now addicted. I use a charm square for each which is a cheap and definitely portable!

  14. Thanku so much for this. I remember being little and my grandad teaching me, but as im getting older now, id forgotten. Im wanting to make a memory quilt from my eldest sons shirts etc. He sadly passed away March this year. hoping it will keep me occupied. Many thanks again.
    Julia x

  15. I’m so sorry about your son, Julia. I hope you’ll share a picture or two of him and the memory quilt you make. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. getting ready for knee replacement and needed a project, this is a huge help! thanks

  17. Good luck with the surgery, I hope it’s a new lease on life for you! Happy sewing :)

  18. Hi!! just found your website…Love your tutorial. Since I’m working on something using hexagon, I will give a try on this technique. Thank you!

  19. Awesome, Carla, they’re looking great!

  20. really easy to follow this,not quite confident enough for the paperless bit but will give it a go,many thanks for the templates i have been tearing my hair out trying to find some templates that dont have to be shipped from australia or the usa.


  22. […] Hand-Sewn Hexagon Tutorial « *Snippets and Blabbery*Feb 2, 2010 … Hand-Sewn Hexagon Tutorial. Here’s my little tutorial for hand-sewing hexagons together without using paper templates inside the hexagon. […]

  23. thank for template hexagones merci beaucoup.

  24. This was so helpful! I can’t wait to get mine going.

  25. Returning to patchwork after 40 years I love your idea of not needing paper inserts. Thanks so much for the tutorial – I’m about to give it a go!

  26. Andrea Watchman says:

    Love this way, was looking for templates but no paper that sounds great off to start a baby quilt for my first not even conceived grand child.

  27. M ary Nash says:

    I am looking at your method of sewing haxagons without paper.

  28. thank you for the marvelous tute and the hexie sheets. shall enjoy this very much.

  29. I just printed a template – and am already making me a pretty pink “flower” – LOVE THIS! Thank you so much for posting this …. sooo easy to follow and looks sooo pretty when done.

  30. Anne Armstrong says:

    Thanks for the information and templates. Using scraps to make a quilt and this makes it very easy.

  31. Juliet Wood says:

    I’ve just printed my last sheet of templates which have been wonderful and thank you. Before I cut them up I draw an arrow across the middle horizontally as my pattern instructions told me to be sure and put them together on the same grain direction. I think this is because I am making an applique diamond shape and it might go wonky otherwise. However, I am using charm squares so for the fabric templates I did the following. Draw 4 hexagons on a piece of template plastic the same size as your charm square. Stick the plastic to fine sandpaper with spray mount (I also stick coloured paper to the sandpaper but this is just because it then looks nicer) and cut out the hexagon windows carefully with an exacto knife and a small quilt ruler. Then just put it sandpaper side down on the charm square and draw round the inside of the hexagons with a chalk pencil and you have 4 shapes to cut out and no paper to fiddle with. This of course is only useful if you HAVE to use the paper templates inside the fabric shape.
    If I ever make these again and I swore I never would even once, I will definitely use this Moxy Method again.

  32. Thanks for the pattern and the ‘paperless’ piecing tutorial!

  33. glad they’ve been handy for you!

  34. Thanks for the templete and turiol will let you know how it goes

  35. Julie Tapley says:

    Hi there, thank you for allowing free hexagon template download. I have, this morning found the half hex ruler which makes hexagon patchwork so much easier.
    I found it demonstrated on UTube and you can purchase the ruler at http://www.missouriquilt.com
    Happy sewing, Julie, Rotorua, New Zealand

  36. Hello There!
    I totally love your new thoughts on Hand-Sewn Hexagon Tutorial ? *Snippets and Blabbery* and I will be back again.

    . Thank you!

  37. Yes, with inklingo you can print multiple different shapes on your fabric with an ordinary ink jet printer.She has a multitude of differnt patterns and support is always right there. I am doing inklingo for other quilts and the EPP for my little charm hexagons. The inklingo is just as portable and very satisfying. LOVE her site – lots of ideas and differnt colorings, etc. http://www.Inklingo.com

  38. Auntie Monster says:

    I love this method of piecing hexagons. I’ve just used it to make a Kindle cover and even feel up to making a full-sized bed cover. Thank you so much.

  39. This is how I was taught to piece. Great tutorial!

  40. like this way very much

  41. Okay, I just read this after going to your other page for the templates, so figure I’ll try both. Thank you very much!

  42. I started paper piecing a hexie quilt top quite some time ago and basically put it away because I got tired of fiddling with all the paper bits. Now I think I may have to bring it back out again with your wonderful instructions! Thanks for being an inspiration to a frustrated crafter!

  43. Thank you for the new to me method of sewing hexies!

  44. Kathy Mills says:

    OMG! I can’t believe there actually is someone else who hand pieces hexies. I tried the EPP method – not for me! I began quilting about the same dirt was discovered, so I really enjoy hand piecing! I don’t hand piece everything, but like to have hand work for the evenings in front of the TV.

    Thank you for putting a stamp of approval on hand piecing hexies!

    I jumped on the hexie bandwagon recently, I’m always a day late & a dollar short, but, Oh, well…

  45. I have had to read this several times but it still is baffling.

  46. Am just starting to quilt and would like to try this. Thanks for the help.

  47. So I’m using your method (love it) to make some bee hive ornaments and wondering best way to turn under sections not sewn. Any suggestions? Thanks

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