Monday, January 25, 2016

Scrappy Heart Block Tutorial - I-Spy Heart Block

I made a couple of I-Spy quilts featuring hearts a couple years ago. I promised a tutorial, and it kept getting put off.  I figured making some Valentine's pillows would be the perfect opportunity to take pictures for a step-by-step tutorial.  And a big thank you to Fairfield World for providing me with the motivation and compensation for writing this post and providing me with free batting and fusible fleece on an ongoing basis to fuel my creativity and share projects like this with you.  All ideas and opinions are 100% my own.

These blocks are great for making throw pillow, mini quilts, or incorporating into a larger scrappy quilt.

I'm rather addicted to I-Spy squares, but you could use any scrappy squares.  Many quilt shop offer "charm packs" pre-cuts and those would work great too.

This tutorial will teach you how to make the quilt block.  You can go to this post to learn to finish this pillow with cuddle backing and a zipper.

Finished Block Size: Using 4" Charm Squares = 21.5 inches (or 27.5 inches if you use 5" charm squares)

Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

  • 30 - 4" background charm squares.  
  • 16 - 4" charm squares for heart
  • 2/3 yard of Smooth Fusible Fleece or your other favorite Fairfield batting if you plan to make a quilted pillow or mini-quilt.  Fusible fleece is my favorite for quilted pillows.  

Start by laying out your squares.  You want there to be high contrast between the squares in your heart and squares in the background.  If  some of your background squares have less contrast, you might think of placing those on the edges.  

You will need to choose 2 charm squares for each of the half-square-triangle (HST) blocks.

Once you're happy with your block placement, we need make our HSTs.  Put each pair together RIGHT SIDES together.  If your fabric has a definite direction to it like most of mine did, fold the square back to make sure the print will be facing the right way.  Guaranteed, if you don't check, you'll make a mistake with at least one of your squares.

Mark a line diagonally down the center of your block in the direction you need for that part of the heart.  You can use a fabric pencil, or a regular pencil will work great since this is on the back...or my recent favorite find are FriXion pens.  (In the office supply section at most stores or get FriXion pens on Amazon...affiliate link.  They completely disappear with one pass-over with the iron.)  I also liked to mark the side of the square that I wanted to KEEP by drawing a little heart on it.

Pin across your line.

Double check the direction again...just to be on the safe side.

Then stitch straight down that line.

Double-check which side of the block you want to keep and trim off the side you're discarding, leaving a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Press open...or to the side.  I like to press mine open.

Replace your HST back into it's place in the heart block.  Take one final look at your block.  Once I had all my HST squares made, the soccerball/baseball square in the heart just didn't quite work for me so I replaced it with a different pairing.  

Sew each of your squares together with a 1/4 inch seam....and you'll get something like this...

....or this.

If I'm making a mini-quilt or larger quilt, I prefer a 100% cotton batting like American Spirit Batting™ Classic Cotton or Nature-Fil™ Bamboo Blend Batting, but for simplicity sake when making pillows, I love using Smooth Fusible Fleece.  Since the "quilt back" for a pillow is inside the pillow and not seen, using Fusible Fleece saves me having to come up with another backing fabric and it quickly irons directly onto the back of my block, so there's not need to get out the basting spray.  The fusible fleece also gives a bit more structure to the fabric and pillow than if I skipped the quilting altogether.

Cut your piece of fusible fleece to be just barely larger than your block.  With the rougher side (that's the fusible stuff) TOWARD the back of your block, iron to fuse.  Check the manufacturer directions for the heat needed with your iron (but I usually do it on #3, which is the polyester setting for my iron.)  I ironed from the top to make sure that I ironed ONLY on the fabric and didn't stray onto the fusible don't want your iron to get sticky.

Quilt to your taste.  I stitched in red thread a generous 1/4 inch to each side of all my seam, but some free motion quilting would look great too.

Once you've quilted it, you're ready to bind your quilt if you're making a mini...or add a zipper and backing if you're making a pillow cover...or you can simply sew on a back and use some Poly-Fil® Premium Fiber Fill to stuff it.

You can go to my tutorial here to learn to finish your pillow by adding cuddle backing and a zipper. 

(And on a side note, this is the sweet girl who has loved I-Spy of any sort since she was a toddler and has inspired most of our I-Spy projects.)

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