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Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to make an english-pieced grandmother's garden mug rug

Today, for a change, I will show you how to make a small project that is done manually. English piecing is a way of hand paper piecing that uses simple shapes (mostly hexagons, diamonds or triangles) to create beautiful effects achieved through the choice of fabric. Today we will make the pattern called "grandmother's garden" that is made entirely of hexagons.

As you can see what we will construct is a flower made of hexagons.

You will need:
two fabrics for the top
fabric for backing
thin batting with one fusible side or thicker fusible interfacing with one fusible side
basting thread
sewing thread
a paper clip

First you need to prepare your templates. You can either prepare and print them on the computer or use a stencil to trace them on paper. Cut 7 hexagons of exactly the same size.

 The stencil is an advantage if you have larger scale prints and want to fussy cut your pieces (for more information on fussy cutting, click here).

Now prepare the center piece with the fabric of your choice. Place your template onto the fabric and cut the shape with seam allowance on all sides.

Place the template in the center of the fabric piece, fold over the seam allowance on one side and pin in place with a paper clip.

Fold the seam allowance on the following side over and start basting the piece fixing the corner first.

Continue to baste all the way around the piece, folding all corners in the same direction. Start basting from the right side of the fabric, leaving a knot visible on the front and leave a longer thread without knot at the end, like this it will be easier to get the basting out later.

Continue by preparing another 6 pieces for the flower petals using the fabric of your choice.

Now it's time to join the hexagons. Take the center piece and one adjoining piece and place them right side on right side. With a coordinated thread sew the two pieces together using a whipstitch on one side only. Fix the thread at the beginning with a knot that you hide inside the fabric folds.

At the end fix the thread with one backstitch and one knot (make second backstitch and put the needle and thread through the loop of the stitch).

Then proceed to attach the following piece in the same way. You will now be able to sew two sides of the new hexagons at once, attaching it to the center piece as well as to the adjoining piece with one seam. The last piece will be attached to three pieces in order to finish the flower.

Attach all pieces until the flower is finished.

To finish the mug rug place the top on fusible interfacing (fusible side down and right side of top up) and trace the outline. Cut the interfacing along the traced line.

If, like me, your piece of interface isn't big enough, you can join two pieces. Just place them side by side and then sew them together (I use the sewing machine) with a special stitch, if your  machine has one, or a zigzag that goes once into one piece and then into the next.

Now iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the backing fabric.

Then cut the shape adding a 1/4 inch / 0,6cm seam allowance all the way around.

Now make small cuts on the backing from the edge to just before the interfacing so that you will be able to fold the seam allowance over onto the front of the fusible interfacing as shown below.

Then take the top and take all basting threads and paper templates out.

When done place backing and top right side on right side and pin together, opening the seam allowance so that you will be able to follow the fold as it shows you where the seam should go.

sew all the way around (you can do this by machine if you prefer) leaving an opening of about 5 cm. Fix the seam at beginning and end.

Now turn the rug inside out through the opening and close the gap with a simple blindstitch.

Quilt as desired, I quilted "in the ditch" following the seams between the hexagons.

And here's your finished mug rug.

If you want to make a bigger project, simply add more hexagons. You can either keep on going in circles around the center or join different flowers to each other, with or without a common background (simply add a background hexagons between all flowers),  to create all kinds of effects. Or you can abandon the flower and create other stunning effects, just use your imagination.

Have you made a project following this tutorial? Let me know what you think. Did you like it? Was it easy to understand and to follow? Do you have any suggestions?
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