Friday, January 3, 2014

Soupçon Hexagon Quilt Along - Part 1

Soupçon Quilt
Faeries and Fibres 2014 QAL
Part 1 of 6

Welcome to my Soupçon Hexagon Quilt Along (QAL)! Soupçon is a medallion style quilt that I designed at the request of one of my blog readers, Kathy at Hillside House Blog The finished size of the quilt  somewhere in the area of 33” square. At the end I will discuss options for adding to it so that it can become a larger wall hanging or even a quilt.

We'll be using a variety of techniques including patchwork piecing, foundation paper piecing, English paper piecing, applique and embroidery. Since this isn't a large quilt you won’t have to spend inordinate amounts of time on each pattern installment! Where possible I will try to provide you with alternatives so that if what I've designed isn't your cup of tea, you will have options.

This is a scrap quilt so there are no fabric requirements provided. Try to work with what you have in your stash. If you bought fabric because you love it I’ll bet that there are other fabrics in your stash that will work with it! If you feel the urge to buy new fabric for this project by all means do so! There are no quilt police here so have fun!

So let’s get started! In this installment you will start work on the center of the medallion which is based on a modified hexagon motif appliqued to a background fabric. If hexagons aren't your thing, please read my ALTERNATIVE DESIGN SUGGESTION below. For this installment you will need the following supplies:
  • a feature fabric for the centerpiece of the medallion,
  • a 10 1/2" square of fabric for the background,
  • spray starch (highly recommended),
  • one sheet of 1" hexagons available here and
  •  usual hand sewing necessaries.
I made two Soupçon quilts. My feature fabrics are this blue print for my first Soupçon Quilt and a red print for the second which is a simplified version.


You can make your hexagon using the paperless English paper piecing method I wrote about here or you can do traditional English paper piecing. For the traditional method you will need to print a sheet of 1” hexagons (there is a link to a hexagon template under the supply list above) . If your printer doesn't print the hexagons at exactly 1” don’t worry! It won’t be a problem because the pieces will still fit together. Create six modified hexagons by drawing lines in a hexagon in the center of the page of hexagons as indicated by the pink lines. 

Cut out six modified hexagons. The pink lines indicate the cutting lines.

The modified hexagon is in fact a pentagon because it has five sides but I'm calling it a modified hexagon because it helps me keep it clear in my mind!

DECISION #1: To fussy cut or not  This is a great way to try out fussy cutting since you only need six modified hexagons. Yesterday I wrote about fussy cutting options. If you need a little inspiration check it out!

If you need simple instructions on fussy cutting please refer to my post from December 13, 2013. There are also more detailed methods explained here. The easiest way is to select and cut out one modified hexagon from your fabric (remember to add seam allowances because the paper doesn't have any).

I like to use a little glue stick to tack my papers to my fabric. I lay out all six patches and glue the first paper to the wrong side of the fabric. I look for landmarks to line up the papers on the fabric so that they match the first one. You can see in this picture that I've used the upper left corner and the point at the bottom as my reference points.

If you are new to English paper piecing instructions are available under my tab English Paper Piecing & Hexagon Fun. Refer to my booklet EasierThan Pie - English Paper Piecing for Beginners. If you know what you are doing thread baste the fabric to the paper with large stitches.

DECISION #2: Sew your modified hexagons together to form a star or a flower  You can arrange the modified hexagons into a star or a flower. I chose the star arrangement on the right for my blue fabric. If you are a beginner I think you will find that the star is a little easier to make.


I chose to make a flower with the red fabric for the simplified version of the quilt.

Stitch you modified hexagons together using a thread that matches the fabric. If you choose to make the flower and the center is less than perfect don't worry because we'll deal with it in the next pattern installment! The flower has six points that meet in the center and you can get all of the points to match with a few simple step. With right sides together, sew to together from the outside edge to the center point.

Open up these two patches and place the third modified hexagon on the hexagon on the left (if you are left handed place it on the hexagon on the right).

Put your needle through the point of the third hexagon and then through the hexagon on the far right (if you are left handed it will be the far left) and draw the thread through.

Now put the needle through the point of the third hexagon and through the point of the second (middle) hexagon. Draw up the thread. Continue sewing to the outside edge.

Sew the remaining three modified hexagons in the same manner. 

When you sew them together you want the points in the center to match. To do this I sew the first two points on the right (if you are left handed they will be the first two points on the left).

I next sew the two points on the left (on the right if you are left handed).

I again sew the two points on the right (on the left if you are left handed). This will keep the points lined up snugly. From there I just continue sewing out to the edge.

This is what the center will look like. If yours isn't perfect please don't worry! I'll have some ideas for you in the next installment!

HELPFUL TIP: When I sew my hexagons together I never start sewing right at the corner. I start one stitch in from the edge and sew out to where I would have started at the edge. When I get there I start sewing my seam as usual. When I get to the end of the seam I sew back the way I came for one or two stitches and then knot off the thread. I do this so that there are no knots right at the corners.

If you decided to go with the star, there is one more DECISION and that is whether or not to fill the center with a 1” hexagon or leave it open. I chose to fill it with a hexagon. You can paper piece a 1" hexagon and stitch it in the star center as in the photograph below. You could also just leave the star center open so that the background fabric shows. There is another way to fill the center that is super easy! It a good method if you aren't sure what you want to do. Just leave the center open and do not stitch it to the background until we get to installment #2. If you don't like what I have planned you can still tuck a fabric in the opening and then stitch it in place.

So to do the easy method I mentioned select the fabric that will be used as the middle hexagon. I just place my star on a fabric and move it around until I like what I see. I might try several fabrics until I find the right one. One I have it I trace around the inside edge of the star on the fabric with a fabric safe marker. I cut out the motif adding a generous seam allowance of almost 1/2" all around.

I put a little glue on the seam allowances the hexagon opening.

I lightly place the star on the motif and when I like what I see I give it a gentle press with my fingers.

This is what it will look like from the wrong side.

The center will look like it has been reverse appliqued in place. I stitch the center after the entire star has been appliqued to the background fabric.

Once your modified hexagons are stitched together give them a good spritz with spray starch and press with a hot dry iron. At this point the basting threads and papers can be removed. The piece is now ready to be appliqued to your background fabric.

Take your 10 ½” square of background fabric and give it a liberal spraying with starch and press, not iron, with a hot dry iron. Fold the square in half and then in half once again so that it is divided into four equal squares. For my red quilt I chose an off-white and red print and for the blue quilt I chose a dark background.

Place your star or flower on the background square using the fold lines to center it. Pin it to the background and baste it in place with thread or basting glue. Make sure everything is nice an flat before you do your applique work!

DECISION #3: Which method of applique will you use? I chose to do hand applique with a blind stitch however you could applique with a decorative machine embroidery stitch, invisible machine applique or hand appliqué with a buttonhole stitch. Go with whatever tickles your fancy! Heck, you could even top stitch by hand or by machine with a pretty thread!

ALTERNATIVE DESIGN SUGGESTION: If hexagons aren't your thing, you can substitute a square of a large print such as this one.

Just make sure that the portion of the print that you will feature is no larger than 6 ½” square. From this feature fabric you will cut a 10 ½” square making sure that your motif is centered in the square. You may want to hold off making the decision about what fabric you will use until Installment #3.

OPTIONS FOR A QUILT: If you were to make a pile of appliqued hexagon blocks in this way they could be sewn together, with or without sashing, into a quilt! Twenty blocks stitched together with a nice border would make a lovely lap quilt! 

This is the end of the first installment! In two weeks I’ll publish the next installment; we will continue to work on our center medallion. We are going to kick it up a notch and turn it into something spectacular! This will be a chance to try out some embroidery but it it isn't your thing I've got other ideas for you! The floss in this picture is DMC's variegated floss # 4126. I love the lemony, golden, peachy tones!

I've set up a FLICKR group for the Soupçon Hexagon Quilt Along. I hope you will post pictures of you quilt as you go along because I want to see what you are doing! You can see what everyone is doing and post your own pictures at

I hope you've had fun. Take your time making this piece and make it something really special! And do save your scraps. You might want to use them in an upcoming installment!

Until I post again, happy sewing!

Karen H


  1. Wow! These are great! Wish I had time to sew along! You can bet I will be watching! Your fussy cut stars and hexies are beautiful!

    1. I'm just glad that you are reading along! I'll put everything together in one big happy pdf at the end so that you can save a copy if you like! Happy New Year Missie!

  2. This is so exciting. As a newby to quilting,your blog is so informative. It has helped me enormously with my fussy cut hexagons. Now I will go one step further to do the modified hexagon. The pictures from yesterday were inspiring. Now to choose what fabric to use-the most difficult part for me. Your way of sewing the hexagons together and then auditioning the centre is brilliant- and I find easier to sew. Happy New Year from the UK.

    1. Hi Jacky! You are a no-reply blogger so I can't send you an email. I'm glad this is exciting for you. It is exciting for me too! I agree that choosing the fabric is the most challenging part but it is fun. And since you are only making one star or flower you can take your time! What I can tell you is that I usually don't know what the finished star or flower will look like. I just know that I like what I see in the window template so odds are I'll like it just as much when there are six hexagons sewn together! Feel free to email or comment if you need any help! I'm here for you!

    2. Hi Karen. A Happy New Year to you. I have made so many hexagon quilts
      for my friends and family members. but your star hexagon is so beautiful.
      Thank you for the star pattern, I am going to find the some exciting fabric,
      and try it out. Thanks once again. From Malega Kuni.

    3. Hi Malega - I wanted to send you an email to thank you for the lovely comment but you are a no reply blogger! In any event I'm glad you like part 1 of the pattern. The second part will be available on January 17 and every two week thereafter! I hope you'll like the quilt and that you'll join the FLICKR group so we can watch your quilt develop!

  3. Hi Karen! I'm so excited and will start the first installment today! Thank you for doing so much work for our enjoyment. I really appreciate it. I'm off to pick some fabric!

    1. Hi Chantal and you are welcome but I have to tell you I'm having just as much fun as you are!

  4. well I am honoured that my suggestion triggered a new quilt design! I'm in a glorious mess now, pulling out fabrics, here and there and there and there until I find just the right one :-D
    Would it help if I decided on say, 4 main colours for the whole quilt?

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Kath! If you do want to pull fabrics give yourself permission to makes changes! I often find that the way I start out is not the way I end up! There is only one part that will require a specific amount of fabric but even at that it isn't a lot (less than .25/m). It is probably best to wait until you get to that point to decide what you would like to use! But by all means pull fabrics to give you some direction at the start!

  5. This promises to be a wonderful project, and you know how much I like hexies! Off to pick fabric. I'll post about your QAL on Hexie Weekend.

    1. I know you are a addicted to hexagons just like the rest of us and it is such a fun addiction! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  6. WOW! This is going to be gorgeous! Can't wait to see it unfold.

    1. Thanks Marie! I'm having so much fun with this!

  7. Loving all your fussy cut jewels! The design ideas are endless when you make stars or hexies out of them. I really need to go buy some new fabrics as I plan to start a POTC quilt soon and there is lots of fussy cutting :)

    1. That's exactly how I think of little jewels! I agree about the design possibilities and I think it is that which keeps me coming back to them!

  8. Count me in. I saw the news about this sew along on A Nudges blog. Should be fun.

    1. Hi Carrie and welcome! I hope you'll post a picture on FLICKR so I can follow your progress!

  9. This sounds great, I shall take a look in my stash for some fabrics to use.

    1. I'm sure you will find something wonderful! And remember if you don't have enough of one fabric to cut six, then cut two sets of three! The first picture on the FLICKR group is fussy cut three and three from the same fabric and it is a gorgeous block!

  10. Really interesting to see your design methods, thanks for sharing that! Beautiful hexagon pieces, too.

  11. c'est une excellente idée merci pour le partage je vais faire et vous envoyer une photo
    amicalement votre

  12. Love the designs. After organizing my sewing room, I will have to try this. Beautiful

  13. Love your designs Karen. I don't have time at the moment to start this project, but would love to in the near future. I need a wall hanging around that size! I will watch with interest and would love to get the PDF when you do one at the end. :-)

  14. I'm late getting started with this, but would love to participate. I'm in!!
    carli the quilter at gmail dot com

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  16. Hello Karen, I would like to thank you for this post. I am new to quilting and EPP and came across your blog while searching for instructions on how to make jewel templates. EPP is now my new obsession :-). I have started to wrap some hexies in upcycled fabrics (the fabric is cut from shirts/dresses I bought in charity shops) and intend to make a quilt. I love handsewing and find it therapeutic and helps me pass the time in a creative and productive way.

    P.S. I love your blog and will definitely visit again

    Sandra H
    South Kilkenny