I came up with this design by simply playing around with 12 paper hexagons, arranging and rearranging them like I was playing Tangrams. When I connected them to form a ring they looked to me like the mane of a lion and that was the spark that lead me to design this hexie lion pillow. This is my first original design using English Paper Piecing after having made two hexie doll quilts. I have to say I’ve definitely been bitten by the hexie bug!
To make a lion cushion you’ll need:
- 6 scraps of quilting cotton for the mane (each scrap should be large enough to make two 1.5″ hexies, plus one should be large enough to also cut out the nose)
- 10″ x 10″ piece of white quilting cotton for the face
- 2 fat quarters in a contrasting color for the front and back of the pillow
- a 2″ x 49.25″ strip of quilting cotton for the gusset strip that goes around the edges of the pillow
- black embroidery floss or Perle cotton
- polyfill stuffing
- double sided fusible web (like Steam-a-Seam)
- coordinating all-purpose thread (I used white)
You’ll also want to have on hand:
- a water-soluble fabric marker
- a glue stick (if you like to use one when you make hexies)
Download the pattern templates here and print them out. You’ll need to create the large hexagon pillow shape by printing the pillow template page three more times and then taping the pieces together.
Create 12 hexies, 2 from each fabric, and connect them in a ring. Give it a good press, then remove the papers. Not sure how to make hexies? Diane has several instructional videos to teach you how including the basics of basting, sewing, and removing the paper templates. Watch these and you’ll be ready to roll!
Cut the nose from one of your fabrics and cut another nose from the fusible web. Apply the web to the back of the nose and fuse to the white face fabric, about 3/4″ down from the center top (I layed my hexie ring down on the white fabric first and then positioned the nose underneath just to be sure it was perfect). Press the nose in place with a warm iron. Zigzag around the edges of the nose to secure.
Pin the ring to the white face fabric, then topstitch around the inner edges of the hexies to secure them to the face. Note how the nose aligns with the edges of the hexies around it. Now flip the project over and trim away the excess white fabric that is sticking out beyond the inner hexie ring. Don’t worry about being exact here. Just trim it down so it’s not sticking out.
Flip the project to the front and embroider the face. I used Perle cotton, but you could also use 3 strands from a length of 6-ply embroidery floss. The whiskers and mouth are chain stitch. The eyes are satin stitch. The stubble is made with French knots.
Place the face on the large hexie pillow front. Pin well, then topstitch along the outer edges of the hexies to secure.
Beginning the at the bottom center, stitch the gusset strip to the pillow front, right sides together, begin to carefully make sharp turns at each corner to preserve the hexagon shape. Pause when you get 2″ from the end. Stitch the ends of the strip together, then resume attaching it to the pillow.
Place the pillow back on top of the pillow front, right sides together. Be sure that the points of the pillow front are aligned with those of the pillow back. It helps to put a pin at each point first, then pin the rest. Stitch, the gusset strip to the pillow back, leaving a 3″ opening for turning and stuffing. Clip seam allowance at each point of the hexagon on the pillow front and back, then turn the pillow right side out. Stuff, being careful to smooth out any lumps and fill any hollow spots. Close the opening with ladder stitch.
This lion pillow would be a fun addition to a nursery or kid’s room, and it also looks pretty great on my grown-up couch!