Hexagons and keeping notes

A request for ‘a bag like the one made 18 months ago’ has left me scrabbling around for clues!  A quilted tote bag with hexagons…  My memory awakes but oh! dear! I’m struggling for details!  This has become a lesson in the discipline of keeping design notes, even for a part-time creator like me! Thankfully a search through a ‘useful things drawer’ reunited me with the paper hexagons used in the making of the original bag.  Then a look on the computer brought to light some photos of the bag (note to self: re-name photo folders with more easily identifiable titles) and a real treasure in my Folksy ‘library’  – a description of the bag giving dimensions.

The lucky find - photos of the original bag alongside the completed hexagon 'flowers' ready for the new bag.
The lucky find – photos of the original bag alongside the completed hexagon ‘flowers’ ready for the new bag.

I do have a little note book with designs, workings out, notes on construction and reminders.  This is so useful especially as I have a tendency to flit from one project to another and then have trouble remembering the specific plans and ideas I had in mind for each of them.  The experience of trying to recreate the bag with hexagons is a lesson in keeping better records.  It’s annoying having to spend time working out a fresh pattern for cutting fabric when I could just be following a pattern pulled from my notebook!

It's stretching things a bit to call this a 'design book' but it's a whole lot better than nothing!
It’s stretching things a bit to call this a ‘design book’ but it’s a whole lot better than nothing!

Nevermind, I have enjoyed getting back to ‘English paper piecing’!  I’ve found using Freezer Paper for the papers is very helpful.  Freezer Paper is translucent enough to be able to trace shapes and designs so reproducing accurate shapes is quite straightforward.  The paper also has the brilliant property of sticking temporarily to fabric when it’s ironed – shiny side to the fabric.

Freezer Paper - available in the UK from most patchwork and quilting suppliers (very expensive in Hobbycraft!).
Freezer Paper – available in the UK from most patchwork and quilting suppliers (NB. Very expensive in Hobbycraft!).

I iron the paper shapes to the back of the fabric I’ve chosen and then cut out the shape leaving an approximate quarter inch seam all around.  Using Freezer Paper rather than pinning avoids pins distorting the shape (a problem particularly if the shapes are small) which can lead to difficulties matching pieces together for sewing.

Hexagon on the left showing paper ironed in position and on the right a hexagon tacked and ready to sew.
Hexagon on the left showing paper ironed in position and on the right a hexagon tacked and ready to sew.

As I don’t have many hexagons to make I’ve tacked the seams down but there are now plenty of products available that eliminate the need for tacking including glue sticks such as Sewline’s fabric glue pen or Clover’s Wonder Clips (available from www.quiltdirectco.uk among others).  For much more information on English paper piecing read www.flossieteacakes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/english-paper-piecing-where-to-begin.html

Well!  I’m now going to continue my ‘recreation project’ AND this time I will record each stage of the process in my little book!

Allison

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