Quilt Along – Union Jack Quilt


My favorite new book is the Hexa Go-Go by Tacha Bruecher.  Of course, I do love the hexies, and  I  also love to English Paper Piece,  but I can’t see myself making the traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  When Tacha Bruecher came out with her new book,  I was so excited to see all the wonderful hexagon projects.   This  book is based around English Paper Piecing.   The book starts you off with an outline of what English Paper Piecing is all about.  She gives instructions on several methods of English Paper Pieceing,  how to choose fabrics, set blocks and print or stamp your own fabrics. 

Here at the shop, we have been talking now for several months about how much fun it would be to do a quilt-along.  We hadn’t decided what we wanted to do, but when I thumbed through the book and spied the Union Jack Quilt made from hexagons, I knew that would be the project I wanted to make.  After all, it is the year of the London Olympics and the Union Jack seems to be a very popular pattern this year for quilts and quilt blocks.  We all agreed, this would be a great challenge and I do like a good challenge now and then. 

Union Jack Quilt finishes at 93″ x 64″ from the book “Hexa go-go”.

I’m sure you are thinking this looks a bit scary and almost over whelming, but trust me, you can do it!   Suprisingly, I made almost 45 hexes in just a couple of hours.

We will help you get started and offer step-by-step photos and instructions for making the hexagons and putting them together and there will even be some prizes at the end of the road.  Come join in on the fun and try something new.   You can take hexes with you anywhere you go and in no time at all you will be done. 

 Here is how you get started

  • Select your colors for your quilt.  You will need 3 color families for this quilt; backgrounds, mediums and darks.   You don’t have to use reds, whites and blues.  Experiment.  Pick your favorite colors.  Just be sure you have lights for your background, mediums and darks.  Look at your stash, all you need is a 4 1/2″ square.  You do want a little bit of contrast between your mediums and darks. 

  • For your hexagons you will need aproximately 3½ yds of light fabrics, 14 fat quarters of mediums and approximately 24 fat quarters of darks.  The pattern offers a pieced border or a solid border.  You will need to look in the book to decide how you want to do your border and binding before purchasing your fabrics.   
  •  You will also need to purchase the book and 1 3/4″ paper templates.  Of course we have these in stock and if you join our quilt along, you will receive a 15{4c76eb18d79af857ad50431e036d68d339032b328c3fd93e488edbb45135e17f} discount on the book and templates.    

The first challenge will be to make 67 blue hexagons, 46 cream hexagons and 15 red hexagons during July.  Let’s see if we can complete these before the Olympics start on the 27th.  

Making hexagons:

Place your hexagon template in the middle of your square, against the wrong side of the fabric.   You may want to put a pin in the middle when you first begin.  Some tutoritals will tell you to cut your fabric 1/2″ larger than your template; but I have found using the square is much easier and  faster.

Fold the fabric over one edge.  I like to use an iron and press each side down around the template.  Watch your fingers, the fabric and template can get a little warm.  You can do a bunch of these in just a little bit.  A touch of spray starch also helps to keep them folded until you can sit and baste.

Thread a needle with thread and be sure to tie a knot.  Stitch through one corner of the fabric with a small stitch, going through both pieces of fabric.  I’m not stitching through the paper.


Continue turning and basting each corner, notice you will have a long running stitch between the corners.  

Secure by going back through the first corner where you started.  Leave a 1 to 2 inch tail on the thread and cut.   This is a great time to pull out all those old spools of thread found in your mother or grandmother’s sewing basket.   You certainly don’t want to use them for piecing.  Thread does get old.

Here is a little tip:  Since I don’t actually stitch through the paper template, this makes it really easy to pull out those paper templates when you finish stitching a section together and  because you don’t go through your paper templates, you can leave your basting threads in place, which helps to stabalize your hexagon.     This will also save you a lot of time. 

Have fun!  Send me your pictures and I will post on our blog and Flicker!

 Victory Garden

If you love the Union Jack here is another great pattern – Victory Garden, from Busy Bee Quilt Designs.  I love the colors Emily picked to make this quilt and you should see the quilting done by Leanne Dalke – Olympic Rings.


Elizabeth Hartman’s new book Modern Patch Work is a another great book offering some wonderful, challenging quilts.    I’m working on the Zylophone.  So many projects, just not enough time.


3 thoughts on “Quilt Along – Union Jack Quilt”

  1. fun to hear from you—but I am not very good at the things you all do and seem so effortless. I have a couple of things I am trying to work on now, but I miss Wed Sit n Sew, when I can stay in one place and get something done–I get distracted at home. I did not understand the 4 1/2″ square needed?? the other fabric I could figure out, but not what the little square was for?? My work is not as good as everyone else’s–you would never want to show it to anyone, so I probably won’t try. I am going to continue on with Barbara C.’s classes of Blocks of the Seasons–that is just about my speed right now. I just finished a baby quilt that was a flip and sew, so there was no quilting on it and I want to do another with a variation, so I am pondering that! If several do it from our Wed group, maybe I will try, but not sure right at this moment—and I know it would not be red, white and blue! Miss all of you. See you soon–drop me a note whenever, I love to get them–esp. new books!

  2. And I would love for you to join in. Let me know if you do…can’t wait to see the colors you pick.

  3. So neat! I have always admired my great grandmother’s hexagon quilt, but never really looked into the technique. Now my interest is piqued! This looks like a fairly mobile project as well – my favorite! Hexa Go-Go is go-going on my wish list!

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