Hexagon Christmas stocking SAL, week 1. Getting started
Welcome to the Sew Along!
It is always very exciting to start a new project and I am sure we are all anxious to start sewing. But before we do that we shall talk what we need to make a quilted Christmas Stocking using English paper piecing method. In this blog post I will share some of my favorite Epp tools, tips and information that I hope helps you to get started and achieve great results!
What you will need
- Stocking template (you can use the pattern you already have to match your other Christmas stockings, create your own template or try any free pattern available on Pinterest)
- Assorted fabric pieces or scraps for the stocking exterior;
- 2 pieces of batting 1 1/2 - 2 inch larger on each side than stocking template;
- 2 Pieces of fabric for lining;
- 1 fabric scrap 1 3/4" x 10 1 /2" for the hanging loop;
- strip of fabric for binding 2 1 /2" wide;
- hexagon paper templates. I will use 1 inch hexagon paper pieces, but you can use any size;
- fabric glue (if you are planning to glue baste);
- needle and thread for thread basting;
- fine needle and thread for sewing;
- embroidery floss, Perle cotton or 12 wt thread for hand quilting.
I think a Hexagon Christmas stocking is a perfect scrap busting project as well as a great opportunity to cut into your treasured fabrics or finally use those mini charm packs (2.5") or 5" charm squares.
How to choose the colors and achieve harmonious look?
The easiest way is to use fabrics from the same collection or fabric range. For example, I have quite few different fabric collections by Fig tree & Co and the colors coordinate nicely with a great variety of hues. The same goes for Tilda and Liberty fabric.
If you are planning to include embroidery, then try to match the colors of the embroidery and your fabrics.
If you are making a scrappy version then try to use the fabrics that complement each other rather than compete.
No matter what fabrics you choose, if you like them then you will enjoy the process and love the final result.
This is my fabric pull for the Sew Along.
I will use a piece of up-cycled embroidery, 5" charm squares from Breeze by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic and some leftover 2.5" mini charms from BayBerry by
Kate & Birdie Paper Co. as well as some fabric from my stash.
And for lining I will up-cycle the pillow case, the one I cut the embroidery from😊
You can use pre-cut templates or cut your own.
If you are a beginner then it might be a good idea to use pre-cut templates because they are thicker than regular paper, cut precisely and can be used several times. The size of a hexagon is defined by the length of a side.
The choice of hexagon size for a stocking depends on your personal preferences as well as fabric choices.
1 inch is one of my favorite sizes to work with. It showcases fabric perfectly and works well with the embroidery piece. If you plan to fussy cut your fabric then you need to consider what size shows them best. If you would like to speed up the sewing process then you can choose larger size of hexagons.
I will briefly mention here how you can cut your own hexagon templates. There are many free printable hexagon templates on-line. Here is the one I have been using for years.
You can staple few copies together along the short sides and cut using a ruler and rotary cutter with a dull blade (save those when you replace a new blade).
If you do a lot of epp, then you can invest in a Fiskars Squeeze Punch - Hexagon Cutter so you can recycle the paper.
Cutting the fabric
If you are using yardage, cut a strip from your fabric. To determine the width of the strip, simply add 1/4 -3/8 seam allowance at the top and bottom of your shape, Apply a dab of glue to the middle of your paper piece and stick the shape to the wrong side of the fabric (if you are cutting from a strip, then glue as many hexagons as you can fit there remembering about the seam allowances). Cut the shape with seam allowance (either 1/4 or 3/8 inch, depending on the size of your papers) using your preferred method. I like cutting with scissors while others prefer rotary cutters.
Or alternatively you can pin your fabric template with a short pin to the fabric and cut.
Once you cut the fabric is it time to baste the hexagons (basically, wrap the fabric around the paper pieces). I recommend to baste some extra hexagons, so you will have better variety of prints for the layout. Unfortunately, I cannot estimate the exact number of hexagons you need to baste as it depends on the size of your stocking template and size of hexagons. My template measures 17" from top to bottom and 9 1/2" at the top, so I basted 72 1" hexagons even though I would need 60.
1. Glue basting
It is a quick method that allows you achieve great results and accuracy. I am sure once you try, you might not go back to thread basting (especially, with the curves and small shapes).
When I started epp I didn´t know what type of glue to use. So I bought regular fabric glue stick. Lessons learnt, never again. It was difficult to apply small amount of glue, I had sticky hands and it was very hard to remove the papers at the end.
I highly recommend using Sewline glue pen. It is designed for epp, so you will never have the problems I mentioned above. But of course, if you work on a large epp project it might get quite expensive to buy refills.
Glue basting is SUPER simple. Apply SMALL amount of glue along the paper template (one side a time) but not too close to the edge.
Then fold the seam allowance.
Repeat for other sides going counterclockwise.
It is always better to glue baste in batches - get all your fabrics cut and the templates glued on, then glue baste the hexagons one by one.
2. Thread basting
If you don´t have fabric glue or don´t want to use it then traditional thread basting comes to the rescue.
You can use any regular needle and regular thread (I usually use the cheapest thread for basting). If you are planning to remove basting stitches, then use contrast color so you can easily see them. If you are not going to do that then the color of the thread should be similar to the fabric color (don´t use dark thread for basting light colored or lightweight fabrics - your basting stitches will show from the front).
There are 2 options for thread basting - either running stitch through the paper between corners or tack stitch at the corners through the fabric only. Which one to choose depends on the size of your paper template. For 1 inch hexagons tack stitch at the corners would be enough but for 2 inch hexagons I would combine both.
To start the tack stitch, thread the needle with one strand of thread that is not too long and make a knot.
Fold one edge of the fabric over template and press the fold with your fingers, then fold the next edge over and press again. Put the needle though only the fabric (not the paper) at a very short distance before and after the meeting point of two edges.
Pull the thread through and repeat the stitch one more time.
Baste all the way around the shape going counterclockwise (I am right handed and it works for me). At the last corner after the last tack stitch you can hide the end of the thread by passing the threaded needle through the seam allowance to the back so the basting thread won´t be in your way when you start stitching shapes together.
Don´t cut the thread, we are going to chain baste our hexagons! Leave 3-4 inches long thread between pieces and start basting another hexagon by repeating the above steps. I usually have thread long enough to baste 3 shapes.
Once you finished basting cut the thread between the pieces.
I learnt this trick from the #iloveeppparty on IG. I feel that it speeds up the process.
It has been a long post but I hope you have learnt something new today! I am super excited to see your fabric choices this week and basted hexagons!