If you’ve got cotton scraps with pretty little patterns on them, this is the project for you! Highlight those prints with some fussy cut hexagons for this scrap-busting DIY hexie placemat.
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When we moved into our new house about 6 months ago, I kind of had a burst of energy and productivity and had unpacked everything and decorated in about 2 weeks. But since then, I haven’t done much. And there’s much that needs to be done to get this place whipped into cozy shape!
So I’ve been tackling DIY projects one at a time in order to add some cute and cozy elements to our beautiful home. All while aiming for a minimalist aesthetic and trying to use materials I already have on hand. It’s a tall order. 😀
This hexie placemat was next on my list for adding a homemade touch to our guest room. I only made one because that’s all I needed, but this placemat would be awesome as a whole set for your dining room!
DIY Hexie Placemat
These cute little hexagons are made using the english paper piecing technique, or EPP. I used the same technique to do a hand towel upcycle in this post.
I made all my perfect paper hexagons using a hexagon die and my die cutting machine. Unfortunately the die I have is longer available. But this die set would work just as well and it has multiple sizes.
But if you don’t have a die cutter, you can easily cut out the hexagons by hand too. Just search online for a hexagon outline and find one that’s the right size for your project.
I’m not sure that this project is beginner friendly. But it’s simple enough if you have some experience sewing or quilting!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Front and back fabrics, 12″x18″ pieces
Batting, 12″x18″ piece
Length of binding, 2″ x about 65″
17 Paper hexagons with 1″ sides, 2″ across
Cute coordinating quilting cotton scraps with small patterns
Hera marker (optional)
English Paper Pieced Hexagons
English paper piecing basically means wrapping a piece of fabric around a paper shape and hand-basting or glueing it in place. The idea being that you can create more complex shapes than traditional piecing and can join those shapes to create an intricate overall design.
I just find it super relaxing to sit and baste the pieces to be honest. I have another hexie project that I’m working on that is going to be about 720 hexies. That’s how much I enjoy paper piecing! (It’s a labour of love that I’ve been working on for about a year already. It’ll probably take another year to finish. I’ll post a picture in 2021. lol)
The great thing about english paper piecing is that you can be really deliberate about what parts of the fabric’s pattern you cut out. It’s called fussy cutting. It is a little more wasteful but it means you can center a cute lion’s face or a picnic lunch in your hexie. Fussy cutting works well with small patterns that have gaps between design elements.
I got my cute fabrics from my favourite local fabric shop, Patch.
I prepared 17 hexagons for this DIY hexie placemat. But you may want to make more or less depending on how you want to lay them out. I tried about a million different configurations before I finally settled on this simple 6-5-6 column design.
I wrote up a great explanation of how to paper piece and join hexagons in this post. So go give that a quick read then come back here. 🙂
I’ve also got a great post here of 16 epp hexie projects to sew. 🙂
Once you’ve got all your hexie’s joined up, take the piece to the iron and give it a good press. Then you can carefully remove the basting stitches and take out the papers.
Make a sandwich of your top fabric, batting and backing fabric and pin it well. Pin the hexies in place.
I decided to do a criss-cross pattern with the quilting. So I used a quilting ruler and a hera marker to mark my stitch lines. A hera marker just leaves an indent, no ink or other marking. It’s not a real marker. Not sure why it’s called that. But anyway, it’s a handy little tool for quilting!
I used the hexies as a guide so that an ‘x’ was created in the middle of them with the quilting. Then I just carried the lines out past the hexie bundle to the edge of the placemat.
When I machine-stitched the quilting lines, I was careful to stitch in the ditch between the hexies and didn’t catch the sides of them when I sewed into the green space. I don’t know if that makes sense. The only stitch lines I wanted to be visible on the hexies was the x’s from corner to corner across them.
I decided only to quilt one side of the placemat. That’s personal preference. You could totally continue the diagonal lines all the way across the placemat.
After I quilted, I went and hand stitched the points of the hexies down that didn’t get caught in the quilting on the left and right edges. Just a couple of invisible stitches per hexie does the trick. This is mainly so that the placemat can be laundered without mishaping the hexies.
I’m using my placemat as a mat for a planter, so I doubt I will need to wash it often, if at all. But this way I can if I need to.
I make my binding 2″ wide, then I iron it in half, then iron one half in half again.
I like to do mitred corners when I bind, there’s a great tutorial here on My Sweet Prairie’s blog. Mitred corners are so clean and tidy, their my favourite way to bind corners.
If you have a preferred method for binding, then by all means do it your way! This is just to show how I like to do it.
To sew the binding, start about 2″ from the end of the binding and stitch with a 1/2″ seam.
Stop sewing about 1″-2″ from where you started, leaving a gap.
Unfold the binding, sew the ends together so that there’s just enough binding left to finish. Trim the excess, and finish sewing the binding down to the placemat.
To finish the binding, flip it over the backside and hand-stitch it in place using an invisible ladder stitch.
Oooh I love a good scrap-busting project! There are 22 more fabric scrap buster ideas in this post.
My DIY hexie placemat is now happily resting on the dresser in our guest room, with a wooden planter sitting on top. There’s an indestructible spider plant in the planter, that I’m somehow managing to kill anyway. Lol. When it dies I might replace it with some felt succulents.