Technique Tuesday: Fun with 10" Layer Cakes

Are you looking for a creative way to use a stack of 10" squares? Often referred to Layer Cakes (yum, yum), we often wish there was some icing to go along with them, right? (I'm just kidding)

Benartex sent me this beautiful Essence of Pearl Layer Cake in the Purple colorway.
I asked for a companion fabric to go with these, one yard of the light lavender Tossed Sprigs.

Essence of Pearl 10" Squares
I was aiming for hexagons (surprise, huh?)  Hexagons are wider than they are high, so I cut 2-1/2" strips from each of the 10" squares. This gives me 7-1/2" x 10" rectangles to work with for my next steps.
2-1/2" strips cut off each square
There were 42 squares in the pack, so I ended up with 42 strips 2-1/2" x 10". Trust me: I will use these later on. Nothing is EVER wasted in my quilting (even if I have no clue where I'm going!) You can see the Purple Tossed Sprigs fabric that I'm going to use to tie all this together.
Beautiful strips cut from the Essence of Pearl Purple pack
I'm going to cut hexagons from each of the squares. I used my Creative Grids 60 degree ruler to do this (this will NOT work with rulers that have a pointy tip; only those that simplify the cutting and have a blunted tip).

My 7-1/2" hexagon will finish to 7". Half of 7" is 3-1/2". I fold my 7-1/2" x 10" strip with the fold at the BOTTOM, align the 3-1/2" line on the ruler with the top cut edges as shown, and then slice on both sides of the ruler. GASP! Really?

Cutting my hexagons
I can tell you don't believe me. Sigh! Take a look, ok?

Perfect hexagon with remaining (and usable) triangles

I didn't use the 6 lightest fabrics, so I ended up with 36 hexagons (not all shown here):

Hexagons cut from the 10" squares
Now, what was my plan? First, I need triangles to set with the hexagons. These will enable me to sew straight seams (ie, no y-seams). Take a look:

I cut 4" strips. Why? These will finish to 3-1/2" (which is half the finished height of the hexagons). Flip flop the ruler up and down to get the needed triangles. The end patch I will use on the quilt rows. It is called a 30 degree triangle.

4" strips cut into triangles
 Triangles are joined in this manner:
Joining triangles to the hexagons
 Join the triangles to the hexagons as shown.
Join triangles to opposing ends of the hexagons
An end hexagon uses one of the 30 degree triangles at the far left. Notice that my seams will be diagonal, yet straight, when I join the hexagons into a horizontal row!

Partial horizontal row
 More triangles and hexagons. Notice the right hexagon, which will be the right end of my row. It also will have a 30 degree "straightening" triangle.
Another row
 Let's see the rows. It's always a good idea to lay out your hexagons to see where you want them to appear in the quilt. Then, identify the rows and then join the triangles (as in the pic above).

I decided to have rows of 5 hexagons alternate with rows of 4. Those large 30 degree triangles are cut from 11" strips (7" plus 3-1/2" plus 1/2" seams = 11")

11" strip is folded, wrong sides together. You are cutting mirror image triangles (one for each side of a row). Many of us don't have a larger ruler, but you can still cut this. Use the 30 degree side angle and extend it along the height of the 11" strip. Practice with construction paper first if you're nervous!

Side setting triangles
 Mirror image triangles.
Large 30 degree triangles
And here are my first 3 rows.

Three horizontal rows
Row 1 is sewn as follows:
Row 1 sewing
Row 2 is sewn as follows. It is then sewn to another Row 1 with the large 30 degree triangle.

Rows 2 & 3
Then they get repeated again, twice more.

Now, let's see the whole quilt center. It measures 40" wide and 50" high:
Essence of Pearl quilt center: 40" x 50"
Remember those large triangle pieces leftover from cutting the hexagons? I had a plan. I put them together with some of that light background fabric and created a traditional Whirling Hexagon.

These are the 30 degree triangles leftover from the hexagon cutting:

Each set has a left and right side angle
And here's my first Whirling Hexagon block (also called Spinning Star). I have so many more stars to create. What fun! (This is the only room in my house that celebrates leftovers!)

Spinning Star/Whirling Hexagon
And just for a variation, I can straighten up the sides using another pair of the triangles:

Spinning Star with side triangles
Oh, and those 2-1/2" x 10" strips? They will work perfectly as a pieced inner border. Clever, huh?

Hope you enjoyed seeing how easy it is to cut whole hexagons from a stack of 10" squares. I think I will use a single piece of border fabric in order to cut down on all that stitching!


  1. Wow, thanks for the charming ideas. I have a stack of layer cakes on my sewing room shelf and i'm always looking for great ideas. Looks like I came to the right place. You are so sweet for sharing:)
    Happy Quilting!
    Connie :)
    P.S. I am celebrating 6 years of blogging with a Give-A-Way, please come put your name in the hat:)

  2. Love what you did with these squares!

  3. Hello Debby; I was at Sew in Love Blog first and just loved the fabrics you chose to use for the quilt tutorial! Purple is my favorite color and these fabrics made this quilt absolutely gorgeous! I am going into my fabric storage room and decide upon some fabrics and get started on making this quilt. I just hope the ruler I have will work. If not I will have to make a run to the fabric store! LOL. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful ideas and tutorials that you did today! They are going to be of great help to me! Have a great day!

  4. Just read your tutorial over at Sew In Love With Fabric and want to thank your yet another wonderful project. I always learn something when I read these tutorials. Thank you.


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