Tip Monday: Hexiform templates
Last month I shared a post on Instagram about the Pfaff applique scissors I used for trimming batting close to the seam. I was blown away by the response and this gave me an idea to start a series of IG and blog posts called "Tip Monday" about my favorite tools and supplies. With so much offer in the market it is not always easy to find the right products or otherwise know what products are available for a given purpose. I am aiming at writing at least one post per month in this series. This is not a paid advertisement and I am sharing my knowledge with you solely for educational purposes, with the hope that you will find this information both helpful and useful. The first blog post in this series is about Hexiform, a material that can be used instead of paper templates for English paper piecing (EPP).
What is Hexiform?
It is a special material that functions as an alternative to paper or cardstock used in EPP. Its construction gives the fabric a padded effect. Since it is fully washable at 40C, there is no need to remove the Hexiform templates. They can be left in.
Hexiform is produced by Ashmead Design, a UK company based in Devon. You can either buy Pre-cuts or Hexiform sheets to cut your own templates. Pre-cuts come in variety of shapes and sizes.
Here are just just a few shapes I have collected. I bought mine both from Ashmead Design and my local quilt shop Tilkkunen.
How to use Hexiform?
A Hexiform template has a non-woven (fluffy) and woven side.
You need to place the non-woven side on the wrong side of fabric.
Since Hexiform is thicker than a paper or cardstock template, you need to cut the EPP shape with slightly larger seam allowances than usual - approx. 5/16" (0.8 cm). This will make it easier fold the fabric edges while basting. To ease this process, each pack of Hexiform pre-cuts comes with a card that shows seam allowances for that particular size and shape. If desired, you can cut the template with seam allowances and trace it into fabric if you would like to have exactly the same seam allowances for your shapes.
You can either glue or thread baste the shapes.
I have been using Hexiform templates for a few years and I always use glue basting, since it is in my opinion more accurate. First, I put a dab of glue on the non -woven fluffy side of Hexiform and stick the template to the wrong side of fabric. I eyeball the seam allowances and cut the fabric with scissors. Then I put a bit of glue along the edge of the Hexiform template (one side at a time) and fold the fabric around the template.
Since Hexiform is a material, you don´t have the feeling of a crisp edge as with paper or cardstock. I found it easier to achieve accuracy when glue basting on my hands rather than on a table. You can see how I glue baste here.
When it comes to sewing the shapes with Hexiform, it is more difficult to make your stitches invisible because you don´t necessarily feel the edge of the template. I recommend trying to take just a few threads of the fabric while stitching, using a fine needle and fine thread (for example, Aurifil 80 wt).
Also, if you are unfamiliar with this product, don´t start with tiny or curved shapes, as those are more tricky to handle. Start, for example, with 3/4" (1.9cm) hexagons or any other shape with straight edges.
What to use the Hexiform for?
You can use Hexiform templates to create pillows, bags, purses, small makes etc. The limit is ones imagination.
I have been using Hexiform for EPP embellishments mainly. Those templates are particularly handy for tiny EPP (1/4" hexagons) or curved shapes because there is no need to remove them.
Here are just a few examples of my makes using Hexiform templates:
- a fabric box with 1/4" embroidered hexagons,
- a Christmas stocking ornament (1/4" hexagons),
- a Tiny travel organizer (3/8" hexagons), you can find the pattern here,
- a basket with a flower (3/8" hexagon and 3/8" hexagon petals (basket pattern),
- a round basket with a heart (Jewels, side length 1/2" and 1"), pattern here
- a pouch with a 3/8" hexagon flower (pouch pattern here)
I love the padded look, texture and structure Hexiform provides. Personally, I don´t see myself making a whole quilt or a pillow with Hexiform templates, as it would be far too rigid. I would rather use batting and sew an EPP panel with paper templates. But each to their own.
I hope you give Hexiform a try, now that you know how to handle it😊
Let me know in the comments what tools or supplies you'd be interested in learning more about.