How to Sew Hexagon Pleats

Published by Naseem Muaddi on August 12th, 2012

Last month there was a lot of talk within our Auto Upholstery Forum about unique pleat designs for insert panels on car seats. The one design that seemed to have everyone scratching their heads over how to sew was the hexagon tiling pattern (a.k.a. the hextille) found in the new Aston Martin Cygnet (pictured above).

The hextille pattern is unique and looks great, but difficult to replicate on a standard industrial sewing machine.

To pull off the pattern without sewing over the same line twice, you’d have to sew the left vertical sides of the hexagons all the way down, followed by the right sides, and then connect them with many small horizontal lines to create the tops and bottoms of each hexagon. Since backtacking on the face doesn’t look professional, you’d have to pass the thread through to the underside by hand with a needle and tie it off to the bobbin thread.

The process is certainly do-able, but very time consuming and – quite frankly – a pain in the neck. However, there is an alternative to the hextille pattern that looks very similar and is much easier to sew:

The above pattern looks almost identical to a hextille design. By removing a ¼” line straight through the centers of the hexagons and leaving a ¼” gap between each row, you can sew the pattern in horizontal lines. Because the lines are continuous, connection pieces and backtacking is unnecessary.

The following image distinguishes the path of each separate stitched pleat by color:

The hextille pattern is an advanced pleat design that takes lots of practice to master. While this alternative approach to hexagon tiling is significantly easier to sew, it’s still quite difficult to design. The challenge lies in drawing a perfectly true hextille pattern on your material. For that, you’ll need a carpenter’s square, a calculator and lots of patience.




11 Responses

  1. Jan D says:

    I don’t really care for the design, it reminds me of a soccer ball!

  2. what, no love for JPM Coachworks in this article? 😉

    There’s a much easier way to draw the pattern that requires less patience. I would share, but now my feelings are hurt. I’ll just go to the embroidery corner of my shop and pout. :-)

    • Of course we’ve got love for JPM. You’re one of the few shops in the country that do these pleats. If you have an easier way, please share it in the forum.

      • You just have to cut the profile out of the side of some chip board or whatever you use for pattern making (ends up looking like hexagon teeth). Once you have a decent length to trace against, you can keep the design going by flipping the pattern piece back and forth.

  3. tinabanana tinabanana says:

    good article but i wish there was a real life pic of your alternative

  4. STILL LOOKS TO ME LIKE YOUR SEWING SOME LINES TWICE , EVEN CLOSE COUNTS AS TWICE. AS FAR AS A PATTERN TAKE YOUR PATTERN BOARD , PUNCH HOLES IN THE LINES EVERY 1/2 INCH LAY ON FABRIC DUST WITH CHALK DUST . WORKED AT A FURNITURE FACTORY THAT DUSTED WITH CHALK DUST ON THERE PATTERNS. THIS PATTERN IS A WASTE OF GOOD THREAD.

  5. I can’t wait to do this in our car only thing I am going to change is I am going to make them a double Hexagon instead of a single, very cool

  6. ashraf says:

    You can also just get a pattern sewer like us or alea.The cost is expensive but similar to embroidery designs you create the design in dxf on corel draw or any design software export to machine and done.

    By employing different technology in our plant we emboss those designs into the insert as well as sew them.

    Its a great idea for custom work or one off projects but we also incorporate them into full on production line variants for manufacturers in Africa and Southern africa

  7. upholsterynoah upholsterynoah says:

    This is awesome!! I’m taking my first shot at Hexagon pleats/hexatiles on a cafe racer after a couple of trail runs. . Thanks for all the info. 30 years as a trimmer and just found THR last week.


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