Quilting with Jenni Smith
Learn to sew a simple patchwork heart with Jenni Smith, author of Quilting with Liberty Fabrics
Our community of creatives share how they are staying inspired at home, offering up their best arty tips and tricks along the way. For this instalment, quilting expert Jenni Smith shows us how to create a simple quilted patchwork heart block from her garden studio on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire, using Lasenby cotton from Liberty’s Deco Dance quilting collection. This project can be sewn by hand with a simple running stitch, or else with a machine – as Smith explains, “The hardest part of any new hobby is taking that first leap to get started, and a small project can be a great introduction!”
This small heart block is the perfect embodiment of how much we all love Liberty Fabrics.
You will need:
Cut out the following:
From the Heart Fabric:
(2) 2½” x 4½” rectangles – if the fabric is directional make sure it’s the right way up
From the Background fabric:
(2) 2½” squares
(4) 1½” squares
From the Backing fabric:
(1) 4½” square
From the wadding:
(1) 4½” square
• Needle and thread
• Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
• Pencil and ruler
Mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of the four small and two large squares. Place a 2½” square at the bottom of a rectangle, with right sides together.
Sew along the drawn line. If you’re sewing by hand, it’s a small running stitch – or else use a stitch length of 2.4 on your machine.
Trim away the outer corner ¼” away from the sewn line – either draw the line and cut with scissors, or use a rotary cutter and ruler. Press towards the square fabric.
Repeat with a 1½” square on the top right corner of the unit already created, cut away and press, and do the same with another 1½” square in the top left corner, then cut away and press.
Repeat this process with other rectangle, making sure the line goes in the opposite direction – so that when you create each side of the heart, they are a mirror image.
Join the two halves of the heart, matching seams, pin and sew a ¼” seam down the middle, then press. If you are not happy with the seam-matching alignment, you can just unpick the seam and sew it again.
In patchwork every stage is important, you can spend as much time cutting and pressing as you will stitching. But the repetition of each process with your hands can be calming, allowing you to switch off and be mindful.
Make a quilt sandwich (that is a proper term!) with wadding and backing, in the following order: wadding, backing fabric right side up (check direction of fabric), heart right side down.
Sew around the quilt sandwich ¼” away from the edge, leaving a 1½” turning gap on one side. Snip the corners away at a 45-degree angle to reduce the bulk, being careful not to snip into the stitches. Then turn through the gap, poke out the corners and give it a good press.
Finally, slip stitch the gap closed by hand – quilting is optional at this point, and can be done on a sewing machine or by hand.
This little patchwork heart block can be used to create a sweet coaster, bunting for someone you love – or you can even use multiple blocks to create a cushion. If you can manage a patchwork square like this, you’ll be ready for the beginners’ projects in my book Quilting with Liberty Fabrics. Quilting is a beautiful way to tell your own Liberty stories – I hope I have inspired you to give it a go!