Friday, 17 April 2009

The trouble with Hexagons...

I did some more work on my hexagons table runner this week. It isn't quite finished, but almost (just the top-stitching round the edge still to do). So here it is:

I was working from this pattern from Sew Hip issue 4:

I adapted the pattern to produce a longer runner to extend along my whole dining table.
I would suggest not cutting any other pieces until the patchwork panel is complete, and then measure and check sizes first. I say this because my hexagon patchwork piece was not as big as it should have been when complete.

I used the English paper-piecing method as I was not sure machine-stitching would deal with the Y-seams neatly. As the instructions said to use 1/4 seam allowances when machine-stitching the hexagons, I made a paper template which I thought was 1/4 in less than the Sew Hip template all round. I now think my template paper pieces must have been slightly too small and so each seam allowance was very slightly larger than 1/4 in. Over the 13 columns this made quite a difference to the size of the patchwork piece.

There is an error in the Sew Hip instructions. The birthing method of finishing a quilt is not described correctly in terms of layering the fabrics. If you sandwich the batting between the other fabrics with right sides facing as instructed in the magazine, you'll end up with the batting on the outside when you turn the quilt inside out!

Instead you should lay the backing fabric face up first, then the top fabric face down (so that the two right sides are facing). Then lay the batting on top of that. Stitch with the batting on the outside. See this birthing quilts tutorial for further help, it has pictures.

But my table runner is not quilted (at the moment!). Although I bought the thinnest wadding in John Lewis, I found my runner much too bulky when I turned it right side out, and so I removed the wadding. The reason I haven't done the top-stitching yet is that I haven't yet finally decided whether to go with the unquilted version, or to go in search of special tablecloth-weight batting.

I'll post the main errata on the Sew Hip Flickr group for others who might be planning to tackle this project.


  1. The runner is looking good. Such a shame about the pattern error though, great idea toplace the errata on the flickr site.

  2. i made one of these (way before sew hip) and never used wadding. i imagine it would be too bulky as you said and a disaster if you put something down on it that tipped!

    the colours in yours look lovely and fresh...

  3. This is such a lovely table runner! Could you perhaps tell me how big the hexagons are. I know you made a while ago... Thanks :)