How I Use Quilt Patis

(and where to buy them)

by Sylvia Steiger

I sell this wonderful product at a discount on Mama.Sylvia's Stuff, and I suspect most people who buy them did so because they saw Pati Shambaugh demonstrating them on Simply Quilts.  Naturally, she couldn't cover all the details in a 21-minute show, so for those who (like me) aren't blessed enough to be able to take her class, following is my trial-and-error experience with them:  Click on any photo to see a larger version.

The first step is to select fabrics.  I find this pattern perfect for using up fairly large scraps.  I start by sorting the scraps by value: light, medium-light, medium, medium-dark, and dark.  For 3-ring flowers, I make the outside ring either light, medium, or dark (for strong contrast when sewn together) then vary by one shade as I move in.  
For example, if the outer ring is dark, the inner ring will be medium-dark, and the center piece will be medium (or possibly medium-light, depending on what I have the most of).  If the outer ring is medium, I can go either way; sometimes I'll use a medium-light inner ring and a light center piece, sometimes I select a medium-dark inner ring and a dark center piece.  As with all quilting, a variety of textures and pattern types will produce a more interesting flower!
I suppose you can start piecing anywhere in the flower, but I start with the center piece.  Cut a 2-1/2" square of your selected fabric.  (How precisely and closely you trim is a matter of taste.  I machine quilt and hate wasting time trimming, so as long as the piece is at least 2-1/2" diameter, I don't worry about excess fabric.  If you hate excess, I suggest trimming AFTER you have pinned the pati in place, and leave 1/2" extra for the first few hexagons you baste.  After you've sewn some hexagons together, you'll see whether you can comfortably trim more.)  Center the pati on the fabric so there is ample extra fabric on all sides, and pin by pushing a straight pin through the center hole at one edge and bringing the point up and through the fabric just before the other edge of the hole.
basting 1
To baste the hexagon, bring a threaded needle from the wrong side through the pinned fabric near one of the points.  
basting 2
Fold the excess fabric to the RIGHT of this point down.
basting 3
Then fold the excess fabric to the LEFT of this point down, creating a small fold at the point.  
basting 4
Bring the needle up through this fold,
basting 5
Then stitch through all three layers to hold the fold in place.  
basting 6
Bring the needle to the next point of the hexagon, moving counterclockwise, and repeat.  (Left-handed stitchers may prefer to reverse my directions and move clockwise.)
basting 7
Continue until all six points have been basted down.  At that point, I tie a small knot and bury it while bringing the needle out through the point of the hexagon.  

Place the just-basted hexagon right side down on the right side of another hexagon it is to be stitched to and bring the needle through the point of the second hexagon.  (I find sewing the first two hexagons together to be the most challenging; subsequent hexagons will nestle into the corners formed by already-sewn-together hexagons.)
knot before corner
I bury another knot in the second or third stitch and whipstitch the remainder of the seam.  
knot after corner
I bury another knot a few stitches before and a few stitches after each hexagon point.  
stitching corner
Be careful to put a firm stitch at the very end of the first side and the very beginning of the second side, to keep sharp points.  Repeat at each subsequent point.

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Copyright © 2003-2008 by Peter and Sylvia Steiger
Last revised: 3/25/2008
For more information, contact Sylvia.