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Paper Piecing: Basting Your Hexies

The weather has turned cool again and I'm wishing I'd already finished my wrap but I can't stop paper piecing! Last week I talked about putting together a paper piecing kit and I'm back today to talk about my preferred method of basting those little guys.


I say it's my method because as with most things in the craft world, there are about 50 different ways to do any given thing. I didn't invent this method, it's just the way I've found works best for me.

Before we get started though, we should talk about the book I've been lugging around in my bag for a week.

quilt encylo

Not only does it have info on my current obsession, paper piecing, it has info on everything.

I'll be honest. Though I do consider myself quite the Jill of all trades, I am definitely not a master of quilt making. I'm relatively self-taught which means I generally don't know what I don't know, if that makes any sense. So that's why I'm carrying this book everywhere. In addition to all the patterns and blocks, it also gives a pretty thorough history and a very thorough description of techniques. If you want to know more about quilting, buy a copy of "Encyclopedia of Quilting."

Now then. Back to basting.

Do yourself a favor and go ahead and thread your need with your contrasting thread before you get started. I usually make mine extra long so I can baste 2 or 3 hexies without having to reload. Keep it nearby so it's waiting when you're ready.

Center your paper on your piece of fabric and pin it through the middle. Do not obsess about getting it perfect. There will be plenty of time to obsess later when you're sewing them all together. You just want to make sure you have a roughly 1/4" allowance on two opposite sides.

center and pin

I like to trim the corners off at this point. I think it looks a little neater and makes it less bulky later on. Lots of folks just leave them, though. Again, this is not where I focus my OCD. I'm just getting the excess out of the way.

trim the corners

Now pick a side. Not the one with the pin head though, it'll just get in the way. Fold your material tightly over the edge of the paper. I sort of iron/smoosh it with my fingers to get a decent crease. Hold it down with your left thumb (opposite if you're a lefty) and use your right thumb to fold over the next side.


Hold that little corner firmly and grab the threaded needle you should have on standby. You won't be making any knots. Just poke the needle through each side, starting on the far side and heading towards you.


Leave about a half inch thread and go through the same path again. This is your fake knot.


This next part can be a little awkward at first but I promise, it does get easier. You're doing basically the same maneuver you did with the first corner. Hold down the fabric already folded over with your left thumb, and use your right thumb to tightly fold over the next section. (The sharper your corners the happier you'll be when your sewing your hexies together.) Make your stitch, back to front again, through both layers. This time you only have to go through once. Keep working your way through all the corners.

all the corners

You'll want to go through your original corner one last time to finish. Trim to a half inch tail and you're done! Now do 300 or so more, and check back next week for my tutorial on sewing them all together. Feel free to comment with any questions and I'd love to hear about any quilt projects you're working on.

Happy hexing!


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