This is an improv-style quilt block that ends up looking much more complicated to make than it really is. There are no y seams and in fact, there is no measuring before you sew at all!
I call it a Hexagon Log Cabin Quilt Block but some other folk have told me it looks like a pineapple quilt block a bit…what do you think?
If you are looking for a fun bit of play with your scrap fabrics making these blocks can be super relaxing and what I call ‘mindless sewing’ because the only time we are going to measure anything is at the end when we square the block up.
Hexie quilts can be intimidating but this tutorial isn’t and I hope you can have fun with it!
Table of Contents
Materials Needed – Improv Hexagon Log Cabin Block
- Any kind of template or hexagon ruler to help you cut a hexagon shape to start your block – this can be any size you like. I used an Accuquilt Hexagon Die but any acrylic template will work too.
- Strips of scrap fabric in 2 – 4 colors. I used whites and teals for one block and orange, purple grey and green for another. See steps below for more on color choices.
- A squaring ruler or template to trim your final block size.
- Rotary cutter & Cutting Mat
How to Make an Improv Hexagon Log Cabin Block
Hexie Quilt Block Video Instructions
You will find written instructions below or you can watch the video here if you prefer.
Step-by-Step Written Tutorial
Here is how to make the Scrappy Hexagon Log Cabin Block
- Cut a Hexagon shape (any size) as your starting point
So to start this block you just need to cut a hexagon of any size from any piece of fabric.
It’s a great way to use smaller scraps if you are starting with a little hexagon like I did.
The ones I started with this time were 1.5″ across and I cut them on my
Accuquilt Go Cutter, but if you have an acrylic template of a different size or even a hexagon template from a magazine or english paper piecing project just go with that.
Have fun with this bit – my hexies were relatively plain but you could fussy cut this bit and make your block a kind of ‘I Spy Quilt’ too.
- Pick your Colors
This is when it gets fun and mindless.
A traditional log cabin block has 4 sides of fabric strips and usually, two sides will be in a dark color or print and two will be white or a contrasting fabric.
We are going to do the same thing here but we are going to do 3 sides of color and 3 sides of white (or contrast fabric) as a hexagon has 6 sides.
For my larger block, I had one pile of whites and one of teal blue strips.
For the smaller one, I used the white/orange print strips as the ‘white’ sides and I used 3 stronger colors for the other sides of my block – all colors pulled from the center hexagon’s print.
When you have decided what colors you want to use just set some scrap fabric scrips out in piles of those colors. It doesn’t matter how wide they are and you don’t have to trim them first.
Ideally your strips would be longer than the sides of your hexagon (and also remember the sides of your hexagon will get longer as you go) but if they aren’t you can piece them together to make them longer so don’t stress about that.
- Sew your first Strip
Now what we are going to do is sew one strip right sides together to one side of your starting hexagon using a standard 1/4″ seam allowance.
I started with my white fabric.
- Trim as you Go
Press open the strip you just sewed and use a ruler to trim the outside of edge of that strip so that it is parallel with the side of the hexagon you just joined it to.
Check out my video demonstration above if this isn’t making sense!
Trim up the ends of the strip on your first seam to prepare for your next seam. Use your ruler to line up with the next side of the hexagon you will join a strip to.
NOTE: I am not measuring anything when I use the ruler for trimming – I am just using it to cut straight and to keep the sides of my quit block parallel with the sides of the starting hexagon.
- Continuing Sewing Strips
Repeat the process of sewing strips of any width to the next side of the hexagon – going clockwise.
The pattern I used was white, white, white, color, color, color – then back to white and go around again.
If your strips are different widths your block will start to go ‘wonky’ but that is fine – it will just add to how cool and different it looks once you trim it all up.
- Trim your Block to Size
If you keep going with your strips you will end up with a slightly wonky large hexagon shape. You don’t have to trim it down but this block looks extra cool when you trim it to a square.
If you have a square quilting ruler the size of the final block you want to make, rest it on top of your block from time to time to check if your block is big enough to trim up yet.
Remember you can always rotate the corners to make it fit and get a different look for your block that way too.
I used a rotating cutting mat while holding my template firmly down on my block and trimmed away the excess on each side….those scraps can go in your crumb box for crumb quilt blocks.
Finished Hexagon Log Cabin Quilt Blocks
A Larger Hexagon Block
I used this method with more uniform strip sizes – 2.5″ jelly roll strips – to make a large 18.5″ square block as part of my Scrap Blocks Quilt Along. You can see the tutorial for the 2.5″ strips Hexagon Log Cabin Quilt Block here.
More ways to use these Hexagon Blocks
- Make one super big block and turn into one big baby quilt.
- Make it a small project by making just one block and layering with Insul Bright to turn it into a hot plate.
- Play with the color placement to make a flower block – use pinks or reds in the middle and greens as you get to the end.
- Use an odd number of blocks in a row to make a table runner.
- Make mini blocks and turn them into coasters.
- Frame a block and turn it into wall art.
- Use large hexagons and fussy cut the center using kid’s fabric to make an I Spy Quilt for a child.
- Use pre-cut strips to get a more symmetrical version of this quilt block.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you can have fun playing with the technique and making it your own!
Some other posts you might enjoy:
- Framed Scraps Quilt Block – for Precious Fabric Scraps!
- Scrap Fabric Quilt Block Tutorial for Floral Scraps!
- Fun Denim Quilt Blocks (Use your binding scraps for these QAYG Blocks!)
- Scrappy Improv Quilt Squares
- Improv Braided Quilt Block – Use your Scraps!
- Free Heart Pattern – Beginner Friendly Foundation Paper Piecing
- Crumb Quilting Tutorial: No Scrap is too Small!
- How to Make a Modern Scrap Quilt – Improv Style!
- The Easiest Quilt-as-You-Go Method Ever!