When it came down to using them, though, I had no clue what to do! They came with little hexagonal pieces of paper. I did some research and found out that these hexies were meant for English paper piecing. In EPP, you are supposed to fold the fabric around the paper pieces, hand-stitching them into shape using large, loose stitches. Then, you attach the shapes to one another at the edges using tinier whipstitches, being careful not to sew through the paper. Once your hexies form a pleasing shape, you pull out the big stitches you started with and remove the paper pieces. Lots of pressing later and voila! You have a nice, hand-pieced grouping of fabric that's ready to be appliqued!
I started my paper piecing journey in 2013, but I wasn't that into it. It seemed like a lot of work, and my hand-sewing was pretty sloppy. I made a hexie flower out of the blue Liberty hexies I had on hand, then machine appliqued it with navy thread onto an off-white background. This was on my old sewing machine, though, and the applique came out really heavy. (It kind of needed to be, in order to cover all of my inconsistent stitches!) I'm still debating what to do with this, and it has sat among my sewing projects for a while now.
However, during a recent binge of The Walking Dead, I found myself needing some craftiness to keep my hands busy during all of the zombie attacks. I decided to paper-piece all of the remaining hexies (there were fifty total!).
|The front of a paper-pieced hexie, ready to be joined to other hexies.|
|The back of a hexie, with the paper still in it.|
|These hexies helped calm my nerves during season 4 of The Walking Dead. I only stabbed myself with a needle once or twice during suspenseful scenes.|
I made another hexie flower to match the blue one, this time out of purples and dark pinks. I tried to be more careful with my hand-sewing, and my new machine is much better at applique, so the final product came out better than I anticipated! I originally thought I might frame this or make a mini-quilt out of it to hang on the wall, but I had a small cushion on hand from IKEA, so I turned it into a pillowcase.
|Close-up of applique stitching. I used plum thread, with two layers of zig-zag stitching around the middle of the flower, and one layer around each of the petals.|
The backing fabric is from one of V & Co's fantastic lines of monochrome blenders, and I think the leaves complement Liberty's florals nicely.
Though I really, really didn't need another throw pillow for my bed, I love how it looks with my bedding set and Aviary quilt.
|Apologies for the poor lighting. My room is always dark, and I took this one on my phone, which didn't help!|
With this success, I think I will try more English paper-piecing. I'm still not sure what to do with the remaining 30-some hexies. Maybe make a memory board? It's hard to commit to anything knowing how precious (and expensive) Liberty fabrics are -- no room for mistakes! But I do have another trip to London planned for April, so I suppose my arm could be twisted to buy more...