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Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

I made a whole bunch of these pins to take to Craftcation, and they were a surprisingly big hit, so I thought I'd share a how-to. They're super fun to make, and an excellent use for little scraps.

You'll need:

  • Stiffened felt in white or a light color (available at many big box craft stores, or online)
  • • Cardstock
  • • Fabric scraps
  • • Craft glue
  • • Sewing machine and coordinating thread
  • • Hand-sewing needle
  • • Felt
  • • 1" pin back

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

So, Sizzix was kind enough to sponsor not only Craftcation, but the EPP class I taught there. They sent me one of their Fabi cutters ahead of time to play around with. This machine was the inspiration for these pins – I realized that I could quickly cut multiples of perfect hexagons, so making pins by the dozen would be easy.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

I used the 1" and 3/4" hexagon dies for this project, but really you could use any size you like. For the two styles of pin I made, I did these diecuts:

  • • With the 1" die, I cut some stiffened felt, some regular felt (not pictured, sorry) and some card stock.
  • • With the 3/4" die, I just cut the stiffened felt.

(If you're unfamiliar with the Sizzix and want to see this in action, watch this video.)

With everything cut out, you can set the cardstock and regular felt hexies aside until later. The stiffened felt hexies, we need to cover with fabric.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

I used my go-to method of EPP fabric cutting and basting for this project. (It's the first method I share in this video.) You just need to end up with fabric smoothly covering the stiffened felt, and no basting stitches visible on the front.

  • • For the two-hexie style pin, you'll need to baste one 1" hexie and one 3/4" hexie.
  • • For the three-hexie style pin, you'll need to baste three 3/4" hexies.

In case you're wondering, of course you can cut your fabric hexies for this project with the Sizzix! I chose to cut mine by hand here because I'm a total fussbudget about using directional fabrics and lining the designs up on my hexies. But you could use these Sizzix dies for fabrics:

  • • A 1 1/2" hexie die would cut fabrics for your 3/4" stiffened felt.
  • • A 1 3/4" hexie die would cut fabrics for your 1" stiffened felt.

(I recommend having about 3/8" or more of fabric sticking out from all sides of your stiff felt hexies before you baste - that makes it much easier to baste without stitching through the stiffened felt. If that last sentence made no sense, just watch the video.)

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

So, for each two-hexie pin, you should have one large and one small fabric-covered hexie. For the three-hexie pin, you should have three small fabric-covered hexies.

These pins get their sturdiness partly from glue and partly from machine-stitching. The first step is to glue the hexies together. For the two-hexie pin, just glue the smaller hexie on top of the larger one, centering them to each other. You can see above that I'm not using a ton of glue here. You want to anchor the pieces together, but not create a thick layer of hardened glue that your sewing machine will have to struggle through later.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

For the three-hexie pin, arrange your hexies in a configuration you like and use a similarly small amount of glue to anchor them together. I like to keep some scraps of my stiffened felt on hand to help keep the hexies level as they dry. Just slide it under any section of the pin that's showing a tendency to sag while the glue's wet.

Let the glued hexies dry for several hours, or even overnight – you want them to be firmly in place before you sew on them.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

It's also important to glue an extra bit of stiff felt to the back of the three-hexie pin, so it has a consistent thickness throughout.

Here's what I usually do: I take a scrap of the stiffened felt, and trim a corner so it will nest reasonably well into the space at the back of the pin. Then I glue it down, letting the glue dry for 20 minutes or so. And then, I trim the rest of the felt flush with the edges of the pin. (As you can see, it doesn't need to be any particular shape as long as it fills in the gap on the back.) Leave this to dry another several hours.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

Now that the glue is dry, it's time to pop your pin on your sewing machine. Stitching through all the layers will really firm up your pins and make them very sturdy.

For a two-hexie pin, stitch about 1/8" from the edges of the topmost hexie. Choose a thread color that complements your fabrics, and put any old color on the bobbin - it won't show. I prefer to use a walking presser foot here for best results. Start stitching at the center of one side, and don't reverse stitch at the start or end of your seam. Instead, sew your way around until you reach your starting point, and then stitch a couple stitches over. Then cut the thread with some tails.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

Thread the tails on a hand-sewing needle one at a time, and pull them to the back. Tie the thread ends in a double knot and cut them close to the pin. This method creates a nice finish to the topstitching.

For a three-hexie pin, stitch about 1/8" from all three hexies, starting with the center one. Since you're stitching on three separate hexies here, you'll of course end up with more thread tails to pull to the back.

(And incidentally, you could totally stitch around these edges by hand with a tiny running stitch, if that's your sort of thing.)

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

Finally, it's time to add a pin back and backing, and it's time for the hexies you diecut from cardstock and regular felt to see some action.

For a two-hexie pin, trim a little from the edges of the cardstock hexie - you want it to be a tiny bit smaller than the pin, so it won't show at the edges. Glue the cardstock to the back of the pin, centering it. Then, glue the regular felt hexie on top of that. Try to get the glue near the edges of the pin here, so the felt is well sealed.

Lastly, glue on a pin back, and if you like, a little scrap of felt to cover it.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

If you're making a three-hexie pin, then you'll need to trace your finished pin onto cardstock and regular felt. Cut the cardstock a little inside your traced lines so it comes out a bit smaller than the pin. Cut the felt out to match the pin. Then glue it all together as above.

Happy Hexie Pins Tutorial

And that's it! Happy pin-making!

Just wanted to post this newest video in my little series on making your own English paper piecing templates with Google Drive's drawing tool. Here, I talk about drawing diamond shapes that fit together into starbursts.

(A quick note for those of you who subscribe to my blog by email: I'm sorry these videos don't show up in your emails! I hope you won't mind clicking through to the post.)

Happy Week, Everyone!



"You and I both know it's Meal Time."

This month's, Link Love theme is 5 tutorials I want to try. These are projects on my Crafty Wish List that I will get to someday. That is, if I can ever stop taking on new projects. Ahem.

As always, Link Love is a community sport. You're invited to post your 5 someday tutorials on your blog, and share the post link in the linky below!


Image by Sonia Maria

Crochet on Plastic Canvas, by Sonia Maria

This talented Portuguese blogger has come up with a fascinating technique for crocheting right on plastic canvas, creating a ruffly surface that's also rigid. Follow the link to see two projects she designed. My mind explodes with possibilities!

Video by Sherri Lynn Wood

Scrap Doodling, by Sherri Lynn Wood

One thing's true about my crafting style: it's orderly. I know it would be good for me to embrace more unstructured projects, and Sherri Lynn's videos are always so beautiful and encouraging; I could watch these all day. I can't wait for her forthcoming book!

Thai String Dolls, by Heidi Boyd

Image by Heidi Boyd

I love these little guys! Heidi's tutorial is a take on a traditional Thai craft, which she's simplified a bit. These figures are wrapped on chenille, so they're bendable. And all that wrapped yarn can easily be embroidered, appliqued, or felted on!

Crochet Hexagon Blanket, by Lisa Clarke

Image by Lisa Clarke

Mark my words, someday I'm going to make a blanket like this! Lisa has a whole series of tutorials covering every little bit of the process, and they're so helpful – and helpfully arranged on this single page of her blog. You might also like her post on how to tackle a big blanket project.

Necktie Dresdens, from Just Give Me a Needle

Image from Just Give Me a Needle

Necktie crafting is still close to my heart (although I have finally trained myself to stop buying ties every time I hit the thrift stores). I'd love to make a quilt or smaller project using this kind of Dresden form, and I like the method at this linked blog.


If you're getting into EPP and wondering where to get those shaped paper templates, well, you can totally make your own! I just started up a little video series about using the free drawing tool in Google Drive to make your own paper templates for EPP.

...Now, this is by no means the only way to get EPP templates – nor is it always the best way! But for many basic projects, where you just need some simple hexies or triangles or whatnot, Google Drive is great and simple to use.

I'm still also a huge fan of buying premade templates. They'll always be more precise than anything we can cut with our fallible-yet-delightful human hands.

Anyway. These first two videos in the series talk about the basics of drawing in Google Drive, and how to take one shape and easily make a whole page of repeats. Print it, cut them out, and get to piecing!

I'll have more tricks coming in future videos – how to make diamond stars, how to get precise-ish measurements, how to build complete quilt block templates. Woo!


Plastic Canvas "Straw" Placemat

Plastic Canvas "Straw" Placemat

Yaaaay! 'Tis my turn at the PC Blog Hop! For this project, I wanted two specific things: I wanted to use this fancy leaf stitch (which I adore), and I wanted to do my stitching with synthetic raffia (which makes a wonderful, sturdy surface). I thought a simple placemat might be a good way to use the raffia's particular flatness and straw-y look. If you've never tried stitching with this stuff, do! It's really fun.

Here's what you'll need:

  • • One sheet of 9 x 12 plastic canvas, 7-count size (per placemat)
  • • 3 spools of synthetic raffia (see below)
  • • Needlepoint needle (big eye, dull point)
  • • Scissors

I used three colors of synthetic raffia (also called "raffia ribbon") in this project: Coral Matte, Red Matte, and Oatmeal Matte. (Lots of other colors are available from that linked seller, and many party stores carry it, too.) It comes in 100-yard rolls, which should yield you several placemats at least.

PC Placemat Raffia Strands

PC Placemat Raffia Spreading

You can thread this stuff on a needle and stitch with it just like yarn. When you cut a strand, just take a quick look at it and make sure the raffia is flat and mostly the same width all over. Sometimes there'll be a section that's been twisted into more of a string than a flat strand. If that's happened to some of your raffia, just gently pull it apart with your fingers, as shown above, and it'll flatten back out.

PC Placemat Leaf Part 1 PC Placemat Leaf Part 2

I'm using a stitch here called Leaf Stitch. There are lots of variations on this stitch, and this is one I particularly like.

It's easiest to think of the Leaf Stitch in two sections: the tip of the leaf, and the body of the leaf. I used two different shades of grey in this diagram to help differentiate them, but you'll stitch them all in the same color.

I usually start stitching with the body section. Begin in the upper right corner of your plastic canvas sheet, and count down three squares. Bring your needle up in this third square, and then follow two squares diagonally down from there as shown. Then put two identical stitches below that one. And then, repeat this configuration on the other side as the diagram shows.

The angle of the tip is a little tricky - it doesn't follow the squares in the canvas diagonally. Instead, the angle moves upward a little from the body. Just compare your canvas to the diagram and give it a try. You'll get it! And then there's a little straight stitch to finish off the tip.

PC Placemat Leaf Rows

I find it easiest to work these leaves in long vertical rows, using the same hole in the canvas for the base of one leaf and the tip of the next, as shown. They work up pretty fast in this configuration.

(Incidentally, if you're wondering how to start or end a strand of yarn/raffia for PC, I covered that in this video.)

PC Placemat Stripes

Now, you could certainly stitch all your leaves in the same color, but I decided to change colors every so often, creating random-width stripes. And I love the idea of each placemat in the set having a slightly different configuration of stripes.

PC Placemat Starting Veins

PC Placemat Stitching Veins

…To stitch the veins in these leaves, I'm using a back stitch. To start this strand, I just run my needle under a few stitches at the back of the work, to catch the end of the raffia. Then I back-stitch my way all the way up the row of leaves.

PC Placemat Bottom Edge

Let's talk about the whole idea of fitting this stitch pattern on your 9 x 12 sheet of PC. I've never been one for mathy things, so I didn't worry too much about counting the holes in my canvas to see if the stitch pattern would fit perfectly. (I mean, you can do that, but you don't have to.)

Instead, I knew that since the repeat of this stitch pattern is pretty small, it would end up fitting without too many adjustments. As you can see above, along the bottom edge, I had to stitch one partial row with just the tips of the leaves. That didn't bother me too much.

PC Placemat Left Edge

…And along the left edge, I ended up with one extra row of canvas. Instead of trying to stitch that little section of the pattern, I just cut away the extra row. Easy Peasy.

PC Placemat Filler 1 Plastic Canvas "Straw" Placemat

With all the leaves in place, I filled in the spaces between with this easy little stitch pattern. First I worked the vertical stitches, then the horizontal. And I worked these bits across the placemat in horizontal rows.

PC Placemat Edging

Lastly, I added a whip stitch edging. You can learn to do this in this video here.

PC Placemat Back

I did a lot of hemming and hawing over whether to put a backing on these placemats. On the one hand, who doesn't want to cover up the back of their work? On the other hand, even when it's fully covered in stitching, PC has little holes all over. Ultimately it seemed like adding a cork or felt backing would mostly create little crumb-catchers all over the surface of the placemat. So I decided against a backing.

Caring for your placemats

I did a colorfastness test by soaking strands of the raffia in water for five days. As you can see, there was no color bleed at all! So you're safe to wipe your placemats down with a damp sponge. I'd steer clear of soaps and sprays, though.

Plastic Canvas "Straw" Placemat

If your placemat gets a little wavy during the stitching process, a half hour under some heavy books will straighten that out. And that's that! If you make some of these babies, I'd love to see pictures!

Check out what my fellow PC Blog Hoppers are making!

PC Ornament Tutorial

So first, at the bottom of this post is a linky that will show all the participants in the 2014 Plastic Canvas Blog Hop. I hope you'll click over and enjoy all the cool, creative things! I always love seeing the PC interpreted through a bunch of other eyes.

I've also been working on a couple PC Basics videos, so I'll share them here:
(If you're an email subscriber, just click over to the actual post.)

Enjoy the PC Blog Hop, my friends!

At Home With Modern June

Please Note: I am NOT doing a giveaway. Please visit other blogs on this tour (links below) for that.

At Home with Modern June: 27 Sewing Projects for Your Handmade Lifestyle has an interesting story behind it. On a stormy night in 2011, Kelly McCants was watching TV with her family when an old oak tree in her back yard blew down, causing a lot of damage to her home.

In the long process of repairs and renovation, Kelly found herself sewing all kinds of new things for the house. And by the end, she realized she had a whole book's worth of home-decorating projects!

Some of you may be familiar with Kelly from her oilcloth and laminated cottons business. Her style is instantly recognizable – so colorful and vintage-inspired. She talks a bit about her visual sensibility in the book, and I love her ideas: don't worry about matching or coordinating anything. Only buy and make things you truly love, and they'll all work together harmoniously.

At Home With Modern June

There are plenty of oilcloth and laminated cotton projects here (like these cool reversable floor mats), but there are also plenty of projects for regular quilting cottons. There's also a nice range of complexity, from simple (even no-sew) things like this to more complex projects like I'll share coming up.

The book starts with a Basics chapter that's written in Kelly's friendly, conversational style, and it covers lots of detail, including a glossary of terms, tools and materials, sewing tips and tricks, and very thorough coverage of using bias tape (it's in a lot of the projects). I see this as a very beginner-friendly book for anyone who can thread their machine and sew a straight seam.

At Home With Modern June

The projects are organized by room, which is an idea I really love. In the Kitchen and Dining Room chapter, you'll find place mats, pot holders, bar stool covers, and this adorable apron, which employs a gingham embroidery technique Kelly's grandmother used.

At Home With Modern June

This shot encompasses projects from the Living Room chapter: panel drapes, pillows, and those nesting upholstered benches. And it brings up another thing I like about this book: it involves skills other than sewing. Basic upholstery skills can lead you to all kinds of wonderful home projects.

At Home With Modern June

I'm in love with this oilcloth potting bench cover. (And, I have potting bench envy.) There's also a pretty outdoor tablecloth and the cute bunting you saw in the "Design Credo" photo above – perfect for your summertime "outdoor living room."

At Home With Modern June

In the Bed and Bath chapter, there's this beautiful laminated cotton shower curtain, plus guest towels and an ingenoius oilcloth makeup tray, along with bed covers and pillows and even a Roman shade.

At Home With Modern June

It's so nice to see such variety presented in such a cohesive way. To be honest, I do tend to see a lot of the same projects crop up in home-sewing books, so I was happy to find so many things in At Home with Modern June that I haven't seen elsewhere.

(Love this cheery little quilt!)

At Home With Modern June

I really applaud the styling here, too. It's beautiful and lifestyle-y, but without prioritizing that over instructional quality. Kelly's done a wonderful job documenting each of these projects…

At Home With Modern June

…And there are plenty of clear process diagrams alongside the text.

At Home With Modern June  At Home With Modern June

Okay – three last things from my favorite chapter, Creative Space. This sewing caddy also represents one of the more complex projects in the book. That's an awesome array of pockets! And at right is a Mood Board bedecked in ribbon. (Also, I have mood board envy.)

At Home With Modern June

…And this pressing table, which I need immediately. Needless to say, I have a world-class case of sewing room envy.

I think this book is a fabulous housewarming gift for a creative friend, or a great jumping-off point for anyone looking to spruce up their home. Every project is truly useful, and Kelly does a splendid job of encouraging you along the way. You can do a lot of space-transforming with this book!

If you'd like to check in on the rest of the At Home With Modern June blog tour, here are the participants:

Monday, April 7th: Stash Books
Wednesday, April 9th: Craft Gossip
Thursday, April 10th: Apronist and Pretty Prudent
Friday, April 11th: Whipstitch
Sunday, April 13th: Sew Mama Sew
Monday, April 14th: Grow. Make. Eat.
Tuesday, April 15th: The Painted Home
Wednesday, April 16th: Finding Home 
Thursday, April 17th: Modern June, the Oilcloth Addict

(The usual disclosures: C&T Publishing sent me a PDF review copy; the title links above are affiliate links.)