Make it with HEART…

literally! No time left to make a valentine quilt? It’s OK–you can add a little love to many items by simply machine-appliqueing a heart. It doesn’t even have to be red or pink or lacy, though it could be. Just use your imagination.

IDEA: Buy or make a baby bib and add an embroidered heart with his/her name like this one–so sweet! Or embroider “Sweetheart”–not just for Valentine’s Day!

Tip 1) Usually fuse the fusible paper-backed web first, then cut the shape.

Tip 2) If the applique fabric is light and might let the background show through, try first fusing a solid white to the back for a double layer.

Tip 3) STOP!! After fusing, go ahead and hoop to embroider. THEN you can cut the shape to include the embroidery.

Tip 4) It’s easy to remove the paper from paper-backed fusible web if you score it with a pin or needle! (Just let it cool/dry first.) After removing the back paper, you can iron it to the fabric–much easier than trying to pin something.

Tip 5) Satin-stitch around the edge using an edgestitch foot or open-toe foot (NOTE: You can get a generic one for ANY machine from , taking one stitch INSIDE the applique and the other on the OUTSIDE background fabric. Sew slowly but steadily for best result.

Tip 6) Try other dense stitches, too. Always test the stitch on some remnants to get it adjusted.

Tip 7) If using embroidery thread, use an embroidery needle (with longer eye) or at least a size 90; you might also need to loosen the upper tension just a bit. Whatever thread you use, be sure to insert embroidery stabilizer (such as Tear Easy) BEHIND the applique/embroidered area.

IDEA: Make a quick hot pad. Use this Christensen Creations pattern or make your own. The pattern also makes an 8 1/2″ quilt block or can easily be adapted to 10 1/2″ or 12 1/2″ by adding borders:

Tip 8) Search internet for simple shapes like a heart. Simple coloring books for toddlers also have basic shapes.

Tip 9) Instead of a satin stitch, attach with simple zigzag and cover it with lace or cord.

Tip 10) Try placing applique on a diagonal for a block “on point.”

IDEA: Add a heart to any totebag pattern. This is one in the works using‘s fat fifths (video to come this spring).

An old pieced orphan block cut into a heart for a tote.

Tip 11) For tote bags and many clothing items, it’s much easier to applique on the piece BEFORE all the pieces are sewn together

Tip 12) Make a heart or other shape from an orphan block or quickly make up a little block of small scraps (like this one or the one below). Just piece first before fusing the web and cutting the shape.

IDEA: Decorate a T-shirt or sweatshirt.

Pieced square cut into a heart on back of a T-shirt.

Tip 12) It can be hard to get to the area to sew, so just cut open the sides and restitch afterwards.

Of course, you could hand-applique any of these if you prefer. Just be sure to add 1/4″ to turn under and cut a lot of little notches in order to turn those curves on a heart. I have no objections to hand-applique; however, I’ll be using the machine because it’s quicker and I NEVER EVER have enough time!

If you DO have plenty of time this weekend, here are a few little quilts to consider, from simple to more complex, but it might be better to start the fussier ones for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or a birthday!!

“Hearts for the Sweet” #CC2323
125 pieces plus ruffle

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and spread the love,

xoxoxox, Libby at

PS Don’t forget that you can use these same techniques and tips to applique a flower for spring, a sailboat for summer, a leaf for autumn or a candy cane for Christmas….and hearts are for loving, not just for Valentine’s Day.

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