Happy B-day for a friend who likes Spelling Bee & Hexagonal Paper Piecing

A few years ago I followed Jude Hill's blog, which was very inspiring, full of interesting images and stitching, and it was there I first saw how she hand-sewed hexagons together, also known as English paper piecing. Recently, I watched a video and made two patterns in a drawing program: a small and a larger hexagon. The larger would be a template to cut the cloth, the smaller would be the paper pattern to both iron a seam allowance around and keep the cloth stiff enough to sew by hand. I put those away, fully intending to make something, but not knowing what project would need the hexagons.

Ultimately, it was time to make a small gift for a friend. She likes the New York Times Spelling Bee game, plus, her name begins with a B. I pulled out scraps of hand-dyed yellow cloth. Hexagon time.

I neglected to re-watch the video, so I had to redo a couple things, but ultimately, I figured it out. I used black thread to be more bee-like, and to make the hand stitching visible.

Two sizes of hexagons: one for the cloth pattern, the other for the paper pattern. I printed out the larger one on sticky-back paper and then attached it to a scrap of museum board before I cut it out.

Punching holes in the center of the hexagons helps you remove them later (another step I forgot, at first). I ironed the cloth around the paper, giving it a seam allowance. In the video, the sewist uses washable glue stick, a paper punch, and just tacks her corners without ironing.

To attach the hexagons, I whipstitched one side, then folded over to stitch another, matching the hexagons face to face as I went.

Front finished:

Back finished:

Deciding to make a sachet the actual shape of the honeycomb made me call upon my bookmaking skills so I would know where to make slits and triangle cuts on the tea-dyed velvet backing. I made sure to cut the velvet with a seam allowance so the velvet would fold over when I stitched it.
Slits at the valleys, triangles at the mountains.

I used a stitch that laced right sides together, and the same stitch when I turned it right side out (so I could stuff it). The needle crosses the opening, goes up through one folded edge then back across the opening and up the other folded edge, alternating sides. From the side it looks like a crisscross.

I left a few inches unstitched so I would be able to turn it right side out. I removed the paper pieces. Easiest part of the whole project, especially with the hole in the paper center.

After turning it right side out, I poked around to open up the corners and stuffed it with cotton fluff and lavender. Stenciled a B on it, and added a thread knot "bee."

Happy B-day!