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I believe that the paper templates referred to in the copy were not used to stiffen the fabric. Hexagons were typically sewn with a paper piecing technique popular in England. This technique was (and still is) used in the States only for sewing hexagons together. Fabric is thread basted to the paper templates and the hexagons are held right sides together and are whip stitched together. You can see traces of the whip stitching in the seams on the close-up. The paper can be removed after the stitching is complete.