Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feathers and Hearts for Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a picture of one of my favorite heart quilts. One thing I loved about learning to machine appliqué was that I could make any design I wanted. Making Fat-Quarter Folk Dance gave me a chance to indulge my love for those beautiful, fussy feathered hearts found in many antique quilts.

These hearts still took some time, even with machine appliqué. I had to take care in cutting all those curves, first in freezer paper, then in fabric. Then there's gluing all the edges in place and stitching around each curve. But I think it was worth it!

This quilt offered some challenges in preparing and stitching all those inside curves. Here are a few of my tips:

To make working with inside curves a little easier, I usually change the sharp inside corners of the original designs to rounded inside curves. As you can see on these hearts, all the inside curves are rounded scoops rather than sharp points.

If the space inside the curve is small, I have to use smaller-than-usual seam allowances in tight spots.

The inside curves will be more stable if you make a “Y”-shaped clip at each inside corner. To do this, start at the center of the curve. Clip straight in, just a few threads deep. Then make two cuts, each angled toward a "corner" of the curve. This will relieve the strain on the inside curve with the least number of cuts in the fabric.

When you've turned the edge under, the back of the curve will have a vee-shaped piece of fabric covering the center curve and just a thread or two of seam allowance at the clipped points. Put plenty of glue in those spots and use the tip of your finger to firmly roll those threads over to the back of the freezer paper. Be sure to glue under even the smallest threads that may be turned to the back of the piece.

To further stabilize the curve, sew extra stitches at each inside point, especially where you have made the clips in the seam allowance.


  1. I just love it . Have that patern too but have yet to make it. Love the little birds :-)

  2. Karla,

    I would like to see a post with how you cut the inside curve BEFORE it is glued down. I can't picture it.


  3. Thanks so much for your question about how to cut the inside curve before it's glued down. See my Feb. 23 post for more details.