Glue-Basting Hexagons- A Mini-Tutorial

I’ve recently gotten interested in English Paper Piecing, and have experimented with different ways of basting fabric hexagons to paper.  I tried sewing:  Sewing to the paper, or two stitches in each corner avoiding the paper.  Of these, I liked the latter best.  Then I tried gluing- both with a Sewline Glue Pen, and with plain old Elmer’s school glue stick.  The glue-basting is undeniably faster, although perhaps not as precise at stitch-basting.  In this situation, I’m willing to sacrifice a little precision for speed, as the nature of pieced hexagons all together means the irregularities are evened out.

The sewline glue pen works well- but the Elmers works just about as well, and is a whole lot cheaper.  Here’s how I’ve evolved doing the gluing:


You’ll notice this is only roughly cut fabric, not precisely trimmed.  Again, it doesn’t affect the precision of the final piecing, so speed wins over beauty!  GlueHexie2

It’s the plain garden variety Elmer’s school glue stick, with disappearing purple.  I find the smaller stick a bit easier to manage, but they both work OK. GlueHexie3

I slip a small piece of scrap paper under the hexie, because the glue will slop over, and I usually don’t want to get it on the table, tablecloth, etc.  GlueHexie4

You can see the purple glue along the bottom edge.  I make three swipes, one at each corner, paper and fabric, and one in the middle.GlueHexie5

This is the critical step.  I pick up the hexie and turn it over.  Very slowly, I use my fingers to define the edge of the paper hexie, and fold the fabric precisely over it.  I set the hexie down fabric side up, and use my fist to crease the glue into the fabric/paper.Gluehexie6

Proceeding counterclockwise, I repeat this step.


Here all but the final fold have been completed.  The final side to fold is on the left.  I dab glue onto the fabric at both corners, and fold.


Here is the final glue-basted hexie after fist-pressing.  This photo is angled to catch the best light, but the sides, when measured, are all actually just about 1 inch long. Gluehexie10

And here is how these glue-basted hexies are looking as I put this larger piece together.

I hope this mini-tutorial is helpful to you!!