Here’s a project filled with heart, just in time for Valentine’s Day. This pretty pieced candle mat, featuring a heart shaped from a traditional “flying geese” quilt pattern, will brighten your home quickly, since it takes only a few hours to finish. But don’t keep your sewing skills and sentiments to yourself—make extras and hand out to your favorite friends and relatives on February 14. You can also expand on the color choices to put together year-round decorative pieces.
BEFORE YOU START
- Cut a 1-1/2″ strip of muslin, fold long edges under 1/4″ each and hand-stitch to the back to create a hanging sleeve, which will transform your mat into a wall hanging.
- You can use this design as the focal point of a table runner or a lap quilt. Simply sew multiple heart blocks, then add borders and quilt by stitching along seam lines (also known as “stitch in the ditch” quilting) or use your favorite pattern.
- If you don’t like the look of jumbo rickrack for outlining the heart, you can try ribbon or upholstery trims. Just be sure to choose something flat so your candle won’t wobble when you place it on top.
1/3 yd. of white print on red 100% cotton fabric for heart (Fabric A)
1/4 yd. of red print on white 100% cotton fabric for background (Fabric B)
1/2 yd. or fat quarter (18″ x 21″ piece) of 100% cotton red print or solid fabric for backing
1/8 yd. of white print 100% cotton in red and white print for binding
1/8 yd. of 100% cotton or cotton/poly blend fabric in contrasting accent color (print or solid)
1/2 yd. of cotton batting
White jumbo rickrack
Basic sewing supplies
- For cutting and piecing directions, the white print on red fabric will be referred to as Fabric A, and the red print on white fabric will be referred to as Fabric B. Fabrics will be pinned right sides together and sewn with 1/4″ seams unless otherwise directed.
- Using rotary cutter, ruler and rotary mat, cut following:
Fabric A :
-Three 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangles for heart flying geese units
-Two 2-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ rectangles for heart block and flying geese unit
-One 2-1/2″ x 42″ strip for binding
-Ten 2-1/2″ squares for (eight for flying geese units; two for heart block)
-Two 2-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ strips for side borders
-Two 2-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ strips for top and bottom borders
-One 14″ x 14″ square from backing fabric
- You will be making three small flying geese units and one large flying geese unit for the heart. To make the small flying geese units, begin by taking six of the 2-1/2″ Fabric B squares and drawing a diagonal line from corner to corner on each one, using a fabric marker and ruler. Pin one Fabric B square onto a Fabric A 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangle with diagonal line of Fabric B square running from the center to the bottom corner of the Fabric A rectangle, matching raw edges of the corner. Repeat on the other side of the Fabric A rectangle. Sew along each diagonal line. Use rotary cutter and ruler to trim 1/4″ from sewing line. Press Fabric B away from Fabric A. The finished small flying geese unit will have a large white print on red triangle (Fabric A) with an upside-down small red print on white triangle on either side.
- Repeat the directions for the small flying geese unit to make two more, using two 2-1/2″ Fabric B squares and one 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Fabric A rectangle for each one. Set one small flying geese unit aside.
- Sew two of the small flying geese units together to make Row 1 (top of the heart). Press seam open.
- To make Row 2, sew one Fabric B 2-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ strip to the bottom edge of Row 1. Press seam open.
- For Row 3, you will make one large flying geese unit. Take two Fabric A 2-1/2″ squares and draw diagonal lines from corner to corner on each one, just as you did in Step 3. Pin the Fabric A squares to the remaining Fabric B 2-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ strip so that the diagonal lines on the squares run from the upper corner on each end of the strip to the bottom edge of the strip. Sew on each diagonal line, then trim 1/4″ from the sewing line so that you have a Fabric 1 triangle on each end of the strip. Fold the Fabric A triangles open and press. Stitch this unit to the bottom of Row 2 to continue making the heart.
- For Row 4, sew a Fabric A 2-1/2″ square to each short edge of the remaining small flying geese unit. Open and press seams toward lighter fabric. Sew Row 4 to the bottom edge of Row 3, making sure the placement of Row 4 forms the point of the heart. Press seam open.
- For border, sew Fabric A 2-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ border strips to the sides of the heart block and press seam toward border. Sew remaining Fabric A border strips to the top and bottom of the heart block and press seam toward border.
- Place heart block face down on work surface, followed by batting and backing fabric, with right side up, to form a quilt sandwich. Baste in place to hold layers together by sewing basting stitches or by pinning through all layers. Trim edges so that batting and backing fabric match heart block.
- Fold Fabric B binding strip in half and press. Pin raw edges of binding strip onto front of heart block borders, aligning raw edges and mitering corners. Sew along the raw edges, then fold binding to the back of the block, encase the quilt sandwich and hand-stitch in place.
- Outline the heart on the front of the piece mat with rickrack, starting at the center top of the heart and folding as needed. Pin in place. Sew by hand or machine, using red floss or thread and making sure to stitch through all layers of the mat. Attach the large white button to the top center of the heart to cover rickrack ends. Press quilted mat.
Tips from the Experts
- Sometimes, fabric can stretch when you draw lines on it with a fabric marker. To prevent stretching, place your fabric piece on top of a piece of fine sandpaper (220 grit works well). The sandpaper will grip your fabric and stop it from pulling out of shape.
- Instead of making your own binding, you can speed things up using bias tape, which is available in a wide variety of solid colors and doesn’t cost too much.
- Speaking of binding, you can use small butterfly hair clips instead of pins to hold it in place after you sew it to the front edges of your quilt. Or try plain old white glue that you set with a hot-dry iron, before sewing your binding to the back.