12 August 2011

Hybrid-piecing Hexagons

Hand-piecing hexagons is - for me - the natural way to do it.
Occasionally (rarely, but it happens) I get impatient and feel that I 'need' to move forward faster, and that is when machine-piecing comes into the picture.

BUT, machine-piecing hexagons seems to me to be a cruel and unusual way of doing hexagon-blocks. My sewing-machine and I like each other well enough - most of the time - but we are not on what you might call intimate terms, and me doing inset seams of any kind on the machine is not a sight to be soon forgotten (no matter how fervently you might wish that it was, and that your ears would stop burning)

Hybrid-piecing to the rescue !

Machine-piece the straight, not-inset seams, and then hand-piece the 'troublesome' inset seams. And because that sounds complicated (but isn't) here is a small description, with pictures.

I would like, at this point, to apologize for the quality of the pictures. I am not a professional photographer, and getting clear pictures when doing closeups like this, is - frankly - a bear to do. Know that I did it as well as I could. If you have trouble seeing how a picture could possibly illustrate the point I'm trying to make, double-click on it, and it will open 'on its own' in a (much) larger size.

Lay out your block (in this case, a double GFG-flower). I prefer to lay it out with the back up.
(and yes, eagle-eyed reader, there is a number on one of the hexagons. That is because it is printed from the CD. These hexies have been around for a loooong time)

Machine-piece into what might be called hexagon-strips.

Piece edge to edge (!)

When cutting the pieces apart, trim the thread on both sides, so that no ends 'stick out'. On the picture (right), you can see that one side of the seam has been trimmed, the other hasn't.
Trim them all.

Doing this means, that you can 'open' the seam when hand-piecing the strips together, but it still leaves just (!) enough thread to ensure that the whole seam doesn't unravel on you. If you feel iffy about having only 0.25" of thread-end between you and an unraveling seam, clip the thread a little bit further out, and then, with your needle, unpick one stitch at each end. You can do that while piecing.

If you want to press as you go, this is the point where you press the strips.
It isn't necessary, because the rest of your stitching will be by hand, so you can just leave well alone and press it all when the flower is finished. If you really want to press, press all seams the same way. Yes. Same way. It will work out and will press up a treat in the end.

Once all the strips for the flower has been machine-pieced, the hand-piecing part comes.
Since your pieces have been prepared with Inklingo, use a plain running-stitch.

At corners, take a backstitch, so you get both of two pieces anchored to the same match-mark on the single-piece (click on the picture if you have trouble seeing the back-stitch ... I do). Do not break the thread, but 'pass' from one hexagon to the next until the whole strip has been pieced.
Then move on to the next one.

When all the hexagon-strips have been joined, press your double hexagon flower.

It will press flat a treat, and all the intersections will open beautifully.

Requirements :
One of the (many) Inklingo 60-degree hexagon-collections.
1 flower-centre hexagon
6 inner-flower hexagons
12 outer-flower hexagons

Repeat as desired :-)


svelder said...

Nicely done! You are a wizard at doing these!

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing! I had no idea what 'hybrid piecing' was. You're tutorial makes it look simple.

Kathy in Nashville said...

Great tutorial Tilde!!

Ela said...

Great tutorial,Tilde!!Thank you!

Shirley in Canada said...

Ok.... you have sold me on making this a take-along project now, even though I haven't tried Inklingo "yet". Hmmm Guess I have to purchase the hexagons first huh?? LOL

Pat D said...

Thanks for a great tutorial Tilde! It is a very detailed description of the process and the pictures make it even better!

Elly D said...

Dear Tilde, This is a very good tutorial and explains Hybrid piecing brilliantly. Thank you for doing this interesting and easy to read post.

A couple of suggestive ideas for you though ;-D I like to do a back stitch just before the cross hair when doing the machine piecing then continue to the end.... it just secures the seam so it doesn't unravel too much or become 'loose' when you get to the hand piecing bit.
The other suggestion is to photograph light fabrics against a darker background or coloured background as you did in the picture with yellow background.
Your pictures here, however, are perfectly clear (I'm just offering a idea for any other pictures you may take)
Oh and from one Leo to another ;) please do not feel you need to apologize for anything you put on your own blog. Especially when you are trying to help folk.

Lois said...

Hi. Thanks for tutorial. I love hand piecing hexagons but after awhile it does get to be a" put aside" project. This would help speed the process and still allow plenty of hand piecing. Thanks again. Love Lois

Becky Meyer said...

A picture is worth a thousand words - and those pictures really made sense for me! Thanks so much

Cyn ;-) said...

Well done, Tilde!

Carol J said...

Well done Tilde!! You have done put together a very tutorial for us all (I still don't know where you find the time for all of it!). I can't speak for anyone else, but your instructions are very helpful. Thank you Tilde!

Val said...

Great idea Tilde, and I think that I am going to use it right away with strips of hexagons. They will go together much faster for sure and I may even end up with something finished.
Thanks again for all you do.

Unknown said...

Thank you for these instructions.

I have a question about sewing order. I have only made single flowers, not double, so I sew in the round. When you HAND PIECE a double (as in your pictures), do you sew in the round, adding the last color around the first round, or do you stitch in rows like you machine piecing shows? Thank you for any information you can provide.