This post is part of the Hexy MF quilt along series. You can find all previous posts by clicking here! Join in with us!
Last time we basted our main hexagon piece to the background fabric. Now we are going to stitch that down permanently. Ok?
I like to use clover black gold needles and aurifil thread in 50 weight. I’ve spoken about these a few times before, mainly in this previous post if you want a reminder. I like to use a thread that will co-ordinate as well as possible with both my background and my patchwork. In this case I’ve used a mid grey, with the original Hexy MF I used a dark grey. You want your stitches to be as invisible as possible, they won’t be completely invisible but try to make them blend in as good as you can. After quilting and a wash you’ll not notice them at all, so if you can see the occasional stitch, don’t sweat too much. Just take this step slowly and carefully.
This step isn’t hard, you are simply using small stitches all the way around, a little like hand stitching binding to the back of a quilt. Take very small stitches every 1/8th or so and follow the entire perimeter of the pieced top, making sure you stitch through to the background and try to avoid stitching through the papers (if you have left them in). A tip – gather up as much of the background as you can in your free hand, so you don’t stitch through the background where you don’t want to. Or use a quilting hoop, or large embroidery hoop and rock your needle through the layers.
If you are going to remove the papers as you go (this is my least preferred method), take the hexagon paper of the next hex you are going to applique out before you applique it down. You will need to remove the basting stitches of that hexagon as you go. This method is my least preferred method because it does make it a little trickier to keep your background and your pieced top properly aligned. You can get puckers, so be sure to periodically lay the full piece back out on the floor and check you’re still ok and there are no puckers. A little admission for you – I had to unpick a whole side of applique because I wanted to show you this method and my edge puckered up really badly because I wasn’t checking often enough. Yep, I was completely bummed by this. I still am and Hexy MF and I have fallen out a little, I had to put it aside for a few nights because we fell out so badly. I’ve resorted back to my preferred method of appliqueing the whole top and then removing the papers afterwards, by cutting a slit in the reverse of the background fabric (I’ll show you that next time). Maybe you might want to do that too if you are thinking about removing papers as you go. Just a heads up. Just in case you get puckers too.
Next weekend I am away at the festival of quilts in Birmingham, UK, so there won’t be a blog post at the weekend – I’ll set you homework instead. If you are at this stage and you manage to get your top fully appliqued onto the background and are waiting for the next blog post you can make some flowers for your borders using the smaller 1″ hexy papers. Make a couple of full flowers from the 1″ hexagons, and also make a few spare petals from 1.5″ papers – there are 10 in the quilt diagram below (shown as circles). You also need 6 flowers from the 1.5″ hexies, if you haven’t made those already, you could do those now too.
You can also make a start thinking about your stems. Do you want to buy pre-made double fold bias tape or do you want to make your own bias tape? (I will be giving instructions on making it) Clover do a tape that has a fusible web attached to the back that you can iron on before you stitch it into place. It’s really quite nice, although applique purists might shoot me down for saying that! I used it to make this pouch. If you want to buy your bias tape instead of making it, then you will need 1/4″ double fold tape x 4 yds. If you are going to make it yourself then a half yard of fabric for stems is ample (you will have leftovers, but a half yard cut gives you a better width for fewer seams).