Last year a friend gave me an old quilt, made by her grandmother. It was a workhorse of a quilt, machine stitched, with a wide variety of fabrics set in muslin. The poor quilt was worn out, torn, had been damp, and some critter had munched on it. My friend told me to toss it out if I wanted. I suspected she could not cope with the idea of throwing it in the trash herself.
Ruthlessly, I trimmed off the most stained and stinky parts, as well as the parts that had been chewed to tatters. Then I soaked the remnants in a tub with mild soap, and managed to rescue about one third of the original quilt. I wanted to find a way to preserve this last bit, and to return it to my friend as a remembrance of her grandmother.
The result was a set of lovely heart ornaments, suitable for a Christmas tree, or wall art, or just to hang on a dresser drawer knob. Enough for my friend, her siblings, and each of their children. Now I have my eye on some orphan blocks of my own. I just may revamp them into sachets or ornaments too.
Why not rummage through your collection, and make some hearts as well? Let me show you how I made these.
Gather Your Materials (Figure 1):
- Bits of an old quilt, or quilt up some orphan blocks. Color does not matter! For one heart you will need two pieces 6×6 inches.
- Muslin to size. OPTIONAL: use ONLY if the backing of the vintage quilt is torn. I used one piece of muslin in the example, as only one quilt section had a hole.
- Batting scraps or polyfil to stuff ornament.
- Two 6×6 inch pieces of sparkly tulle with fine mesh. I used silver as this quilt had a white background, but am thinking gold would be lovely on a darker one. The tulle stabilizes the old quilt, hides tears or exposed batting, and also adds a bit of sparkle.
- Cardboard, to cut a heart template from. I made a simple heart shape about 4 inches high and 4 inches wide. If birds or circles or some other shapes are more to your liking, go for it!
- 14 inches of braided trim, fancy ribbon, or rick rack in a color that complements your quilt.
- 6 inches of ribbon for hanger.
- 2 small vintage buttons.
- A one or two inch tassel that blends with the trim (optional, or use a few strung beads or a bell.)
Rough cut the quilt and the tulle into two squares, each six by six inches (see Figure 1). If the quilt back is not intact also cut a matching piece of muslin.Make a sandwich as follows, pinning the layers together in the center and at each side (Figure 2):
- Muslin, only if needed.
- Quilt, with pretty side facing up.
- Two pieces of tulle.
- Quilt piece, with pretty side facing down.
- Muslin, only if needed.
Stitch along the heart lines, being sure to leave the marked space open for turning. I stitched it twice for strength, back-stitching at the open ends.After stitching, trim the excess away, leaving a 1/4-1/2 inch allowance (Figure 5a). Snip the allowance to nearly the stitch line in 3 places along each curve (see Figure 5b for final trimming). Trim out a bit of seam allowance in the V at the top of the heart, as shown. Trim off the end near the point. Do not cut through the stitching (but if you do, just go run another row of stitching around inside!)
Carefully turn out the heart so the tulle layers are now on the outside, securing the quilt layer under them (Figure 6). Do not worry if it appears irregular or lumpy, it will fill out when you stuff it. Using the opening, gently stuff the heart to the firmness you like. Be sure to get the fill into the point and all nooks and crannies! Whip-stitch the opening closed, being sure to catch the tulle firmly (Figure 7).
Starting in the deep V at the top of the heart, hand-stitch the braid around the stitched edges of the heart, stitching into the quilt fabric, not just the tulle (Figure 8). When you get all the way around, trim off any excess braid. This will hide the seam, and add more stability. Hey, it is pretty too!
Fold the hanging ribbon in half, then knot the open end (Figure 9a). Hand-stitch the knotted end in place where the braid meets. Stitch into the heart, not just the braid (Figure 9b).
Sew the two buttons on just below where the hanger meets the fabric, one on each side. This will cover all the previous stitching, and add some flair. Stitch the tassel or strung beads on to the point of the heart, hiding your stitches in the braid (Figure 10).
And now you have a lovely heart ornament, a small heirloom to treasure and display. A Remembrance Heart!
©2010, The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com.