Back to Hexies: Modas Honeycombs

We’ve been talking about hexagons recently, because the May/June issue of Quiltmaker is full of them. Three great projects featuring different looks and techniques will keep you sewing for a long time.

But I wondered what other hexagon products were out there and I spent some time scouting around for them. Today I’d like to introduce you to Moda’s newest precut, the Honeycomb.

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I started out with two Honeycombs from an upcoming line by Bonnie and Camille called Happy-Go-Lucky. Each Honeycomb has 40 hexagons that measure 6″ from tip to tip.


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A Honeycomb hexagon measures 6″ from tip to tip, shown here on a 6.5″ ruler.

These little guys are spot on—exactly 6″ from tip to tip, shown on my 6.5″ ruler above.

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With each Honeycomb you also get a nice plastic hexagon template. There are tiny holes at each corner which can be used as starting and stopping points if you were sewing the hexagons together. (See Lissa from Moda demonstrate.)

I did something a little different. I used the template to cut more hexagons because I wanted to add more fabrics to this project. At first glance I thought I could measure the template from side to side and cut strips that width. But because it’s 6″ from tip to tip, the side to side measurement is something funky.


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Here is how I dealt with it. I laid the fabric on the cutting mat and squared up the right-hand end. I laid the ruler on top of the fabric and placed the template on top of the ruler, sliding the ruler and template until they were exactly at the edge of the fabric. Now when I cut along the left side of the ruler, I’ll get a strip exactly the correct width from which to cut more hexagons.

The measurement came out to be a skosh less than five-and-a-fourth, but more than five-and-an-eighth. Mathematically it’s 5.19″ (see this post on hexagon math) but I thought my method was simpler than trying to cut that.


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Next I placed the template on the strip I just cut.


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I used a small ruler to make one of the angled cuts at a time. I was very careful not to cut into the template because I didn’t want to alter its perfect size.



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The first cut is made, and then the second.


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Here I learned something useful. After making the first two cuts (shown to the right of the hexagon), you’ll want to make a straight cut just outside the left-hand tip of the template.


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Then go ahead and make the last two cuts. By making that straight cut first, you’ll be sure not to cut into the rest of the strip on your final two cuts, so you won’t waste any portion of that fabric. Your remaining strip (to the left) will be longer than my test strip was, so you can cut more hexagons from it.

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Taking the tips off is critical.

I decided I wanted to add 60º triangles and join the Honeycomb hexagons in rows. So the next task was to figure out the size of the triangles. Here I could say I’m a math whiz and I calculated it with a fancy formula.

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But what I really did was cut some 60º triangles from a strip with the Hex N More ruler, taking the tips off all three points. I kept cutting the strip down (narrower) and cutting more 60º triangles, until I got some that fit perfectly.


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These fit perfectly.

When I put them on a ruler, again it was a funky measurement: more than 2 3/4″, less than 2 7/8″. I decided I wasn’t going to worry about it as long as they fit.

I found that I liked the Happy-Go-Lucky fabrics best if I sorted them into “mostly darks” and “mostly lights.” From there I chose fabrics for the small triangles. I used a great text print from Kate Spain’s Sunnyside line for Moda, to be released in September.

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This is how my first option is coming along.

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And my second. The royal blue polka dots are from my stash. It’s amazing what you can see from a photo that you don’t see otherwise—I need to do some rearranging.

My third project may appear in Quiltmaker sometime down the road. You’ll have to wait to see that one, but I really like it.

I can’t tell you how much fun the Moda Honeycombs are! And I have just scratched the surface!




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