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Just your average hexagon. This one is 3″ on all sides.

I seem to have lost my quilting mojo for a bit, so instead of showing you the admittedly tragic results of my attempts to work on Big Wheels, I’m going to give you a short “lesson” in cutting hexagons.

Hexagons, as you know (maybe!) are 6 sided shapes. In quilting, we generally use hexagons that have 6 equal sides.

The most common use of hexagons is in a “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” type of quilt. You sew one hexagon to each side of all the hexagons until you end up with a quilt the size you want.

Grandma Anna's Flower Garden uses the Grandmother's Flower Garden motif, but with folded hexagon flowers.

Grandma Anna’s Flower Garden uses the Grandmother’s Flower Garden motif, but with folded hexagon flowers.

I “got into” hexagons because I became intrigued with Bethany Reynold’s Stack ‘n’ Whack technique which I saw on the much missed TV series “Simply Quilts” with Alex Anderson. You can see one of the quilts I made up above, under the title of this blog.

Then I fell in love with a folding technique in Rebecca Wat’s Fantastic Fabric Folding.

It turns out you can use any size hexagons for the hexagon flowers, so rather than tediously draft a template for each size of hexagon I wanted to try, I experimented with cutting out hexagons from a square.


Start with a square

Figure 1. Start with a square.

1.
Most people specify their hexagon size by the edge dimension, so you will need to cut a square that is twice that size.

For instance, if you want a hexagon that is 3″ on each side, you will need to start with a 6″ square. (See figure 1.)

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Figure 2: Fold your square in half.

2.
Fold your square in half and position it so that the fold is closest to you (and the open edges are farthest away.) (See figure 2.)

Figure 3: Trim the right corner with a 60 degree angle.

Figure 3: Trim the right corner with a 60 degree angle.

3.
Trim your folded square of either edge using a 60 degree angle.  

*Be sure that you are leaving the folded edge as the widest part of your folded square! The center of the hexagon has to be twice the length of its sides. (See figures 3 and 4.)

Figure 4: Cut the left corner off of your folded square to form a hexagon.

Figure 4: Cut the left corner off of your folded square to form a hexagon.

Figure 5: Open your hexagon up and you will see that four of the sides are long and two are shorter.

Figure 5: Open your hexagon up and you will see that four of the sides are long and two are shorter.

4.
When you open up your shape, you will see you now have a hexagon in which not all sides are the same. The four sides you cut with your 60 degree angle will be longer and the two sides that are parallel to your fold will be shorter. (See Figure 5.)

To make the sides of your hexagon all equal, you need to fold your fabric again.

Figure 6: Fold your hexagon in half with two of the longer sides even at the top.

Figure 6: Fold your hexagon in half with two of the longer sides even at the top.

5.
Fold one of the long edges parallel to the “opposite long edge.  Some fabric will stick out both on the right and the left. (Your fold should cross the original fold in the exact center of your hexagon.)

You will see the single layer of fabric on one side, but the other you can only see if you flip your hexagon over. (See Figure 6.)

7.
Trim the hexagon so that the edges are even.

Figure 7: Flip your hexagon over and trim the other edge.

Figure 7: Flip your hexagon over and trim the other edge.

8.
Flip  the folded hexagon and trim the other side so it is even as well (See figure 7.)

Now you should have a hexagon with all sides the same measurement!

So, I hope this quick tutorial made some sense.  If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll modify it to make it clearer.

And, maybe I’ll have something worth showing next week!

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