Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mini-Tutorial: Concentric hexagons

When I finished my concentric hexagons quilt Bek asked me how I had pieced the top and if I could post a tutorial. I've been meaning to post a mini tutorial since then, and I've finally got a chance to put one together.

The pieces hexagons were all made using two sets of pre-cut strips - a jelly roll and honey bun. A jelly roll is a set of strips that are 2.5" wide and the length the width of the fabric (~44"). A honey bun is strips 1.5" wide and the same length.

I spent a little while working out how many strips to piece together to make best use of the two kinds of strips I had and to get the least wastage. I worked out that a finished width of 5.5" (5" finished) was ideal as it gave almost exactly 12 triangles with only a little bit of waste but enough leeway if the ends of your strips weren't quite exactly even. Thus, each set of strips makes two different hexagons (the order of the strips is reversed between the two).

So the first thing I did was sort my strips into sets. I did this rather than sew them together as I went as I wanted to split my strips into the different colours, so sorting them first allowed me to make sure that I had the combinations that I was after.

The strips were sorted into any combinations that added up to 5" finished (eg 2x2.5" + 1x1.5", or 1x2.5"+ 3x1.5", see diagram above) and stitched together with a 1/4" seam allowance. Then the sets of strips are cut into the 12 equilateral triangles (see diagram below). My ruler has a 60 degree line marked on it, so I used that line as a guide for cutting the triangles. You could also use an equilateral triangle ruler/template.

I then stitched the two sets of 6 matching equilateral triangles into sets of three "half hexagons". Once you have all your triangles stitched into half hexagons you're ready for planning the quilt layout.

To plan the layout I just found a space big enough to lay out the half hexagons (which is actually a bit bigger than the finished quilt as the seam allowances haven't come out yet). In my case I used a bed (plus a bit). I laid out the half hexagons, leaving space where I was planning on adding my "negative space" background fabric.

Once you've decided on your layout you'll need to cut out the background fabric for your negative space. That's nice and easy! For the small areas you need to measure your half hexagons and cut some half hexagons of your background fabric. For the larger areas I cut strips, with the end cut at a 60 degree angle and then cut them to the correct length.

To assemble the quilt top you first need to join the strips of half hexagons (which on my quilt above runs horizontally across the photo), and once you have the strips pieced, join all the strips together into one big piece. For my quilt I then added a border of the background fabric all the way around, wider at the sides than the top and bottom to make the quilt squarer.

Let me know if you have any questions, and if you make anything using this tutorial please do share piccys with me!

1 comment:

  1. I love this method of doing hexagons! your quilt is gorgeous!


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