A couple of things to remember before starting to machine piece hexagons with this method:
*Cut your hexagons accurately. Perfectly cut hexagons will help you achieve the precision required for this method.
*Sew consistent 1/4" seam allowances. A 1/4" foot or patchwork foot is helpful. I'm able to place my needle 1/4" in by lining up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the presser foot.
*You may want to reduce your stitch length to 2.0. Smaller stitches will help you hit your stop points more accurately.
*Don't press until all hexagons are sewn. I know this seems counter intuitive, but I found that it's easier to sweep seams out of the way when they aren't pressed down.
*Be sure not to backstitch into the seam allowance. Even one stitch will make a difference! It's better to stop a tish in front of the stitching line rather than stitch too far.
*The KEY TO THIS METHOD is your stitching lines. Instead of marking those 1/4" points, the stitching lines will tell you where to start and where to stop sewing.
*This method works sewing individual hexagons onto a column or sewing two columns together. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll sew one column and then add one hexagon at a time.
*Relax...this really does work. It's going to feel odd at first, but you'll get the hang of it. Take a deep breath and grab some hexagons and let's get started. I used black thread for the purpose of this tutorial, but you'll want to use matching thread.
Step 1 Sew a column
Start by sewing the hexagons together to make a column.
Step 2 - Sew Seam #1
Place a hexagon in the second column as shown.
Step 3 - Sew the next adjacent seam (Seam #2)
Turn the hexagon right side up and the first seam is finished. Time for seam 2!
Place the hexagons right sides together along seam #2 again lining up edges and ends of the hexagons. Sweep any seams away from the hexagon so that the two hexagons lay flat and are aligned. Pin if desired. Notice again that there is stitching on one side and no stitching on the other side. This time I decided to stitch from non stitching line side toward the stitching.
Step 4 Add a hexagon to column two
Place the next hexagon in sewing position in the second column.
Sew this seam just like Step 1. Drop your needle on the stitching line, sew forward, backstitch, continue sewing to the end and backstitch. Remember, you can sew all the way to the end because there is no stitching line to stop you.
Step 5 Continue sewing adjacent seams.
Flip the hexagon right side up. The next step is to sew the next adjacent seam.
Drop your needle on the stitching line 1/4" in, sew a couple of stitches, backstitch, continue sewing and stop on or just before the stitching line. Backstitch.
These are the most difficult seams to sew. Make sure your hexagons are aligned and lay flat. I pin these seams to make sure everything stays aligned before I sew.
**Sweeping seams away from the hexagon you're sewing means sweep the seams and everything else too...in other words, any other hexagons need to be moved out of the way so that the two you are sewing lay flat and are aligned. You don't want to catch any other fabric in your seams.
**This tutorial demonstrates sewing one hexagon at a time. This method also works with two columns of hexagons. Sew as many columns as desired. You'll sew one seam at a time just like above except most of the seam will have a stitching line stop and start point and you'll have a floppy column of hexagons to keep out of the way.
I recommend you practice one at a time and when you feel comfortable with that, go for the column.
Many thanks to blogless Elaine for sharing this method with me! You're the best, my friend.
If you have questions, please ask in the comments or drop me an email. I'll do my best to help.