This post is part of the Hexy MF quilt along series. For all previous posts please visit here. You are welcome to jump in at any time, we’d love to have you! Share your progress pictures in our flickr group!

lilly belle quilt a long

Once you have fully assembled the hexagon top it’s time to think about your background fabric. You need 4 yards of background fabric.

First up, give the fabric a really good press and cut into 2 pieces of equal length (72″). Remove the selvedges from both lengths and sew together along the 72″ length to give you a large piece approximately 72″ x 84″. Press your seam to one side. This is your background. Take your hexagon top and give that a good press all over too. Particularly the edges.

Now you have a decision to make – you are going to applique the hexagon top onto this large background piece. You have to remove the papers around the edge of your hexagon top at some point and you have 3 options to do it;

1. remove all of the papers before applique
2. remove papers as you applique
3. wait until the very end and remove papers after the top is appliqued to the background (by cutting a slit in the back and pulling them out that way)

hexy MF from behind

Think about this step carefully. There are pros and cons to each option.

1. remove all the papers first – this is the most obvious option and as long as you make sure you have nicely crisp folded edges (by pressing, maybe using starch too) it works well. However, you are leaving the edges of each hexagon without their stabilising papers, so you can end up with mis-shapen hexes if you’re not careful.
2. remove papers as you applique – this is the trickiest option as you effectively are removing basting stitches and papers one step ahead of where you are sewing, the background fabric can shift and you can end up with puckers.
3. remove papers after – this is the method I used for my Hexy MF first time round. If you have appliqued with glue this is a slightly trickier option as you need to get right under the glue basted folds to get the papers out. With stitches, the papers just pop out nicely.

Once you have made your decision lay the background fabric right side UP on a clean floor and tape to the floor just as you would if you were basting a quilt sandwich. Make sure you keep the background fabric pulled nice and tight, but not stretched, and smooth out the wrinkles. The seam will run across the middle of the background – not vertically.

basting

NOTE – Remember that your seam will run HORIZONTALLY across the middle of the background and not vertically like mine (my quilt is smaller)

Lay the pieced top in the centre of the background fabric, with the columns running vertically, rather than rows. (refer to the picture at the top of this page for help)

Smooth out any wrinkles and then take a needle and strongly contrasting thread and using large running stitches, baste the top to the background fabric. If you have left the papers in, stitch right through them. Work all the way around the perimeter of the pieced top.

basting

And that’s your top basted.

I’ll be back with the applique step shortly!