|The two blocks this tutorial describes|
Recently I was on the hunt for a heart block made with strip sets. I found one very nice one, but unfortunately there were huge inconsistencies in the measurements given in the blog. I am not going to criticize someone’s efforts, so I decided to redo the instructions to hopefully help people create consistently sized blocks that are fat quarter friendly.
1) For the strip set
· Select 9 fabrics – these can be values of one color, a mixture of colors, whatever.
· Arrange them in the order you want to sew them together.
· Cut strips 2 through 8: one inch wide and about 21 inches long.
· Cut strips 1 and 9: 1 1/8 inch, but also 21 inches long.
2) Sew the strips together using an accurate ¼ inch seam. Measure as you go to ensure that you are using a true ¼ inch seam. Press seams open as you do. When finished your strip set should measure 5.25 inches.
3) Trim the left end of your strip set perpendicular to the seams. Now cut your strip set into four 5 inch wide units. You should have a little bit of strip set left over, depending on how much you had to cut off of the left end.
4) Now square each unit to 5 inches: hopefully you will only be trimming a bit from the end strips.
5) Lay out the four squares into a larger square with the strip direction alternating.
6) From the background fabric cut two 5 inch squares and four 2 inch squares.
- Mark the diagonal on the wrong side of each background square.
- Place each background square right side down on the strip squares as shown in the picture. Notice that I have marked which side will be trimmed – this will make sure, especially on the lower quarter blocks that you don’t trim the wrong side. I did that!
- Sew along each drawn diagonal. Trim each outer triangle to a ¼ inch seam allowance. Press seams open.
7) Sew the top half of the heart together, making sure to line up the center diagonal seams to form a crisp notch where the heart lobes meet.
8) Sew the bottom half together, matching the diagonal seams to form a crisp tip.
9) Sew the 2 halves together. Matching the center seams.
10) Trim the block to 9.5 inches. Make sure you leave ¼ inch of background past the bottom heart tip.
11) From the background or border fabric
- Cut 2 strips that are 9.5 inches long and at least 2 inches wide. I cut mine 2 1/8 inches wide to have a little extra for squaring up my final block.
- Cut 2 strips that are at least 2 inches wide and 12.5+ inches long. (Since I had cut my border strips 2 1/8 inches wide, the longer strips were cut 12.75 inches long.)
12) Sew the short strips to the top and bottom of the heart, the long strips to the sides. Press seams to the border side. I recommend that the strip side be on top so allowances don’t flip over and you can clearly see where to sew to not chop off the lower tip.
13) Trim the block to 12.5 inches square.
Variations: these are just 2 of probably many ways to vary this.
1) If you don’t want to use strips or are in a hurry, consider using a striped fabric. I had some nice red fabric that I used.
- Cut the striped fabric into 5 inch squares and then proceed from Step 5 above to create the block.
2) If you don’t want all your hearts standing straight up and down, cut your borders 1 inch wider than directed. After sewing on the borders, tilt your 12.5 inch ruler (or create a 12.5 inch paper template) to cut the block. When sewn together, the hearts will be tilted but the blocks themselves are square. Vary the direction of the tilt. You could even combine an assortment of tilted and untilted blocks. The picture below shows an example of a quilt I am making with tilted Dresden plate flowers. These blocks are 17 inches, so I made a paper template to determine where to trim the blocks. The raw blocks were 19 inches before trimming.