The earliest hexagon pattern that quilt researchers have discovered was made in England in 1770.
Hexagon became one of the most popular patterns in England by 1830, and by 1835 Godey's women's magazine published a pattern for this block called the Hexagon pattern.
One of the most loved vintage quilts is the 'Grandmother's Flower Garden' quilt. These hexagon quilts of bright pastel prints are a very labor intensive quilt pattern, usually pieced and quilted by hand.
Although using hexagons and other mosaics in quilts today is not as common, some quilt artists are making mosaic quilts using traditional English paper piecing.
The result can be truly stunning.
We have some instructions for a more modern, sewing machine join for your hexagon blocks.
Using larger blocks and sewing these together with your machine.
How to Join Hexagon Blocks Together
“Y” shaped intersection seams are not as hard as they look. Follow the process below and find out just how easy they can be. Many people have different ideas on how this is achieved, but this is the method we have chosen to use.
This method is also used to join the half hexagon and side triangle blocks.
Trim your blocks back to ½” seams as accurately as possible as this will definitely assist with the construction of this quilt. Layout your blocks in rows and join them by making a strip of blocks. This could be lengthways, crossways or even on the diagonal, depending on the layout of the design.
Place your first two blocks right sides together.
Place a pin through the corner points (go through both blocks) and then cross pin the seam you are to sew. Pin the seam at the start and finish corner points and another in the centre.
Start by sinking (lowering) the machine needle into the corner point and sew a few stitches forward and then back-tack the same amount of stitches. Stitch inside the block perimeter stitching line which will be a generous ½” seam allowance. We don’t want to stitch past the corner point into the seam allowance as this will prevent a clean “turn out” of the intersection.
Check to see that your perimeter seams around the blocks meet at the beginning and end of the seam you have just stitched.
Continue to join the rest of the row with the same method as above.
Press open the seams at all intersections for the row. Ensure they are firmly pressed.
Continue joining the remaining rows using the same method above. Press the seams open and then interlock the blocks to start the “Y” intersection stitching.
Position the first seam by laying one hexagon row on top of the other, right sides together.
Find the first intersection and pin the first corner intersection using the block perimeter stitching as a guide.
Pin the other end corner on this seam and place a pin in the middle to hold the seam into place. Close the opened seam allowance on the back of the blocks and have it away from the intersection so it doesn’t get caught in the stitching. Stitch the seam with a generous ½” seam allowance just inside the block perimeter stitching.
Don’t press this seam open just yet. Arrange the next seam into position, pin the end points and stitch exactly how we did for the first seam, starting and stopping at the points. Again, make sure the seam on the back is closed and facing away from the blocks you are stitching together. Because the block is a hexagon, some seams will be more stretchy than others due to the grain being on the cross. This can be both a help and a hindrance as the top seam may seem too long to fit some of the joins. If this happens, turn the work over and work from the underside.
Continue with the remaining joins. Once there are a couple of joins left, the work will fall into place without much effort.
Continue pinning the section you are working on without trying to pin the entire row. Make sure the seam allowances are not being caught into the stitching at the start and end of the seam as it will cause too much bulk when pressing.
Check each intersection as you complete them. Check the front for any tiny pleats that may occur.
Press open the remaining seams. Work on one intersection at a time. Press the seam to the intersection and then press the corner points so they form a pinwheel type affect. Some people trim these corner pieces, but doing this can undermine the strength of the intersection.
Take your time when pressing, and by using the tip of the iron, it will help get the intersections sitting flat.
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