L.O.V.E. Mini Quilt Sampler

You gotta love leftovers in a bake shop, especially the kind that have no calories!

When I was testing out different types of reverse applique for a recent project I trotted out some slices of my Marmalade layer cake that hadn’t been used in Marmalade Circles.  They were perfect for this sweet Valentine sampler.

The sampler measures 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″  – a perfect Valentine for yourself or a quilty friend.

4, 10″ x 10″ squares of coordinating fabric
Pearl cotton
Fray Check
Sharpie Marker (for paper)
Fabric Marker
Short Pointy Sharp scissors
Applique pins

Cutting Instructions:

  • Choose fabrics for letters and backgrounds.  Cut 4, 5″x5″ squares of each
  • Choose fabric for binding.  Cut 5, 2″ x 10″ strips
  • Use remaining 10″ x 10″ square for backing.

Lettering Instructions:   The point of this project, at least for me, was to try out different types of applique, specifically reverse applique.  Reverse applique is a method by which layers of fabric are used to create designs as bits are secured and cut away.  Kind of like the ancient sculptors who “found” their masterpieces hidden in the stones that they chiseled…only this is fabric…and I’ve never found a handsome hunk hidden in the layers of fiber.

You  are more than welcome to use a different method of applique.  My templates would work for either fusible or traditional techniques.  Go for it.

The following instructions tell you how I did what I did.   I tried two methods, one done by hand, and one by machine.  There are two samples of each method in this tiny quilt.

Made using 4, slices of layer cake from Marmalade by Bonnie & Camille
By hand…
The letters O and V were drawn on to the striped fabric. I then layered that patch a top the floral. I snipped the top fabric about 1/4″ from the drawn line (starting with the center, else it would fall away.) flipped the edge under and hand sewed along the tracing line (now at the edge of the patch.) I continued that process until the whole letter had been revealed.
By machine….
The letters L and E  were drawn onto the floral fabric. I then layered the patch atop a striped charm and machine sewed a scant 1/4″ to the outside of my traced line. Once the L was completely traced with stitches I carefully trimmed away the top layer (leaving about 1/8″ raw edge) and applied Fray Check to the loose edges.
As a long arm quilter, I have found that loose edges can cause problems. To minimize the floppiness I went back and hand embellished the edges with pearl cotton.  (Another option would be to use your machine and do some decorative stitching to hold the edges down.)
As I mentioned earlier, it is perfectly acceptable, and probably a lot easier to fuse the letters. If you choose to do it this way, the templates can do double duty. Use the box around each letter to help center the letters on each charm.
Getting down to business
    • Print letter templates.
      • At the bottom of this post is a “Printer Friendly Version” button that looks like the picture above….only it will actually take you somewhere.
      • Clicking on it will take you to a place where you can print it all out.
      • There are 4 different letters.
      • You will need to make one of each.
Reverse Applique
      • Each template is drawn in 5″ square. When you print them, make sure that the square measures 5″.
      • You need to be able to see the outlines of the letters/shape through the fabric. I found the lines printer by my printer to be insufficient to this task.
      • To fix the problem I drew on them with a sharpie marker.
      • WARNING – be careful of your writing surface, you don’t want to ruin your cutting mat with Sharpie bleed through.
    • Using light box, or masking tape and a window, trace letters onto the right side of each 5″ x 5″ square that you intend to use as the background fabric.
Reverse Applique
  • Layer each charm square atop one letter fabric square.
Reverse Applique
    • Layer them so that both right sides are up….like pages in a note pad.
Reverse Applique
      • Using large basting stitches, sew 1/8″ from each edge.
        • This will hold your pieces together while you are working with the fabric in the middle to reveal the letters.
        • The smaller than normal “seam allowance” will ensure that the stitching doesn’t show when you put all of the blocks together.
    • Applique letters onto blocks.
      • For L and O
Reverse Applique
      • Snip the top fabric about 1/4″ from the drawn line (starting with the center if you are working on something with a floating piece like center of  O)   Make your cut only about an inch or two long so that you are only cutting what you are working on at the moment. Clip curves, and corners to make flipping under the edge easier.
      • Flip the edge under
      • Pin in place as needed.
      • Sew along the tracing line (now at the edge of the patch.) with a hidden stitch like you would use if you were binding your quilt or hemming something. Continued that process until the whole letter is revealed.
    • For V and E
      • Sew a scant 1/4″ to the outside of the tracing lines.
      • Trim the fabric on the tracing lines
      • Apply a thin coating of Fray Check to the exposed raw edges
      • Secure edges as desired.
  • Assemble the top.
    •  NOTE your blocks will be thicker than normal.  That is to be expected.  It is a result of the double layers used in reverse applique.  As you sew your top together iron the seam allowances OPEN.  This will spread out the bulk.  I know it makes aligning the corners more difficult, but you will thank me when you go to quilt it.
    • Sew the L block to the O block
    • Sew the V block to the E block
    • Sew two rows together to make top
  • Layer, quilt, and bind as desired.

It was once common practice for children to make samplers of their needle work.  It provided a record of stitches, helped them with their tecnique, and taught them various important lessons as they stitched out the words.  (Imagine stitching out “I will not talk in class!”  he, he, he.  That sampler didn’t make it down to us.  I wonder why.)  This recipe yields one sweet lesson in LOVE, and two in reverse applique.  It would be perfect to hang on a wall, in a quiet corner or your home or office.  If you have a little girl in your life it might also be used to cover Barbie’s bed.

I’d love to see your finished project.  Please add it to the Flickr group Tops to Treasures.

Cindy Sharp