Welcome to the Hexie Christmas Stocking Sew Along!
I’m so glad you are here. If you’re a quilter and this is your first venture into English Paper Piecing - yay!! You’re going to do great. I have lots of pictures and step by step instructions to give you the confidence boost you need to finish this beautiful project that you can look forward to taking out year after year.
First off, a little overview of the schedule. I’ve heard from several people that they are going to need more time, especially over the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, so I’m extending the SAL for an extra week. We start November 1st and work for 5 weeks to make an EPP hexie stocking!
This Hexagon Stocking SAL and free pattern will live on the blog so please work at your own pace and don’t worry about “falling behind”. This is a casual sewlong with no required checkpoints, just a chance for us all to sew together and be inspired by one another.
If you are sharing along the way I’d love to see so make sure you tag me @cambervillethreads and use #hexiestockingsal so we can all cheer you on!
Hexie Stocking SAL Schedule
Every Wednesday for the next 5 weeks I'll be posting that weeks prompt, if you want the info in your inbox, you can sign up below, or just check back on the blog weekly!
Week One: Gathering EPP Supplies & Basting Your Hexies
EPP is very scrap & stash friendly! You only need little bits of fabric so now is the time to pull out those scraps of treasured fabrics you couldn't bear to toss. Precuts are also great for EPP and an affordable way to get lots of prints - in my eyes more is more when it comes to hexies!
You won't need it this week, but you can download the FREE stocking template here. This is a big stocking finishing at about 18" tall, feel free to use a different template or trace around a stocking you already have. Keep in mind the fabric requirements will change. This is tiled over 4 US letter pages, print at 100% and tape together.
Hexagon Stocking Fabric Requirements
- Stocking Front: Approximately (75) 2.5” squares or equivalent. More fabric is needed for fussy cutting.
- Lining Fabric: ½ yard (5/8 yard for directional fabric)
- Backing Fabric: Fat Quarter (more for directional fabric)
Additional Materials & Tools List
- Hexie Stocking Template
- (75) 1” hexagon papers (thats a small pack of precut hexagons or print & cut your own)
- Sewline Glue Pen or School Glue Stick
- Quilt Batting 2 pieces at least 14x22
- 4x2” Scrap or 4” twill tape for hanging loop
- Fabric Scissors and/or Rotary cutter, mat & ruler
- Small Snips
- Hand Sewing Thread (I prefer to EPP with DecoBob thread)
- Milliners Needle (I prefer size 11)
- 1” Hexagon Acrylic Template (optional but very helpful for fussy cuts)
- Sewtites or clips (optional)
- Sewing Machine + Preferred thread for your machine
- Sashiko Thread, Pearl cotton or other decorative thread for optional hand quilting.
If you are new to EPP and in need of a starter kit, I have an EPP Essentials Kit with all my tried and true favorites available in my shop.
Making Fabric Selections
For my collection of hexies - I’ve fussy cut some favorite Christmas prints and then filled in the rest of my hexagons with blenders in the color palette that I want to work with. You’ll notice many of my prints are not exclusively “Christmas” fabrics - so take a look at your fabrics with a different eye. What prints can help you create your colorstory?
If you are struggling with fabric selection one tip is to pick the fabric you are most excited about and select colors to support it. And I'm sure it goes without saying when looking at my hexies, but I'm team non traditional Christmas colors - gimme all the pink, aqua and citron. You are going to be creating a stocking for years to come, so use prints that make you happy!
Cutting Hexagons from Fabric for EPP
To complete the stocking you’ll need (75) 1” hexagons. If you were cutting this from all one fabric, that's less than half a yard of fabric needed. Of course, where is the fun in that?! To me hexagons are all about fussy cutting, using up scraps and strips, and treasured fabrics.
One thing to note, hexagons are referenced by the length of one finished side. So a 1" hexagon has 6 sides that each measure 1" but is 2" from point to point. You’ll have to add a seam allowance to this finished size. So to baste a 1” hexagon, we need at least a 2.5” square.
If cutting with an acrylic template you'll want a 1” hexagon + ⅜” seam allowance which is perfect for fussy cutting or cutting from scraps.
If you are cutting multiple hexagons from one piece of fabric it's easiest to cut a 2.5” strip and use your template to cut hexagons or subcut them into 2.5” squares. Leftover jelly roll strips are a timesaver here!
For most of my hexagons I was working from odd sizes or fussy cutting so I used my template a lot to cut hexagons.
Fussy Cutting for English Paper Piecing
So, what is fussy cutting anyways? Fussy cutting is being intentional about the motif inside your shape rather than cutting to economize your fabric. Oftentimes it's centering the cute bear/heart/flower etc in my shape. Sometimes its making sure a stripe runs a certain direction or a motif is aligned in a certain way to create a secondary design. You don’t have to fussy cut, and it does take more time and use more fabric, but I’ve found it's worth it for those special fabrics.
I’ve made a “fussy cut finder” out of cardboard (the backing of charm packs is perfect for this!) by cutting a 1" hexagon out and using it as a window so I can more easily see what my final hexie will look like. Once I’m happy with the arrangement I use my acrylic template to trace with a fabric marking pen or pencil and cut with scissors.
Glue Basting Hexagons for EPP
There are two methods of basting for English Paper Piecing, glue or thread. I am a glue baster so that’s what I will be going over here but feel free to use whichever method you prefer.
- Center a paper shape on your cut fabric (right side down).
- Starting on one side, work in one direction around the shape, putting a small line of glue next to the edge of the paper and folding the fabric onto the paper over the glue. Repeat on each edge.
TIP: Avoid gluing directly onto the edge of the paper as it will make the next step of stitching in this area more difficult.
If its helpful to see a little video clip, check out the basting for EPP videos below- one with a fabric hexagon, one with a 2.5" square.
If you are using a 2.5" square the process is the same, with a little extra seam allowance. I most often cut my hexagons from a template because I'd rather save time later pressing the seam allowances after the papers are removed- but both methods work and you can even mix and match in your work. The 2.5" square saves a bit of fabric because the seam allowances are slightly less on the corners.
Don’t fret too much over the seam allowance as long as its at least ¼” of an inch. The paper holds your finished shape so the seam allowance not being exact on all sides or across all your hexagons isn’t a deal breaker. That isn't something you hear a lot in quilting ;) Keep cutting + basting until you have at least 75 hexies. This is for the front panel of your stocking - if you want to have a pieced back as well you'll need double.
I like to baste some extra hexagons so I have more wiggle room later when laying them out. Remember that some hexagons near the edge will eventually be trimmed so its best to have a mix of fussy cut & blenders that you won't mind cutting into.
Basting is as easy as that. I like to cut & baste my pieces in small batches, rather than cutting out the entire project at once. Do yourself a favor and break this work up over a few sessions :)
And that’s a wrap on week one! Next week I will post the layout diagram and we’ll begin stitching our hexies into columns.
If you have questions, please leave a comment below or send me a DM, if you are wondering something others will be too.
Remember to use the Instagram hashtag #hexiestockingsal so I can see what you are working on and come give you a virtual high five!