by Joan Frantzen
Happy Mother’s Day! And thanks for the opportunity to be a Guest Designer again on this blog. To honor all the moms, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters out there, I offer another idea for using dies with fabric. This one features new heart dies used to cut various sized hearts that can serve as appliqués or patterns (another quilter’s trick!). Simply fill them with fiberfill as ornaments with a pop of spring color, or include lavender or potpourri inside for a scented sachet. They’re great “thinking of you” gifts for all the special women in your life!
Step 1 – Select the sizes of dies to use. (Samples used the largest die from the Fitted Hearts set and the third largest of the Scalloped Hearts set). Die cut the largest fitted heart from freezer paper and set aside. Cut two pieces of selected background fabric approximately 7” x 7” square, and another from the thin quilt batting. Place one fabric piece on top of the batting and press with a steam iron to lightly attach the pieces together. The second piece of fabric will be used for the ornament back.
Step 2 – Loosely trim a piece of the paper-backed iron-on adhesive slightly larger than the size of the scalloped heart die for the appliqué. Following manufacturer’s directions for the iron’s heat setting, fuse this piece of the adhesive onto the wrong side of appliqué fabric selected. Make sure the shiny side of the paper is placed against the fabric — this is the side with the glue that will melt onto the fabric.
Step 3 – Using the same cutting sandwich that is recommended for a single layer of cardstock (including the metal adaptor plate), die-cut the scalloped heart. Hint: When using the metal adaptor plate in the cutting sandwich, the fabric will be sitting on the metal plate FACE UP, and the die will be on top of the fabric with the CUTTING edge positioned FACE DOWN toward the metal plate.
Step 4 – Remove the backing paper from the die-cut shape and position it, glue side down, onto the center of the background fabric/batting piece. Fuse the appliqué onto the background. It only takes a few seconds to bond the two pieces together. Press in an up-and-down motion, rather than side-to-side, for the best adhesion with no shifting. (Use a press cloth or a thin piece of fabric between the iron and the appliqué, if desired.)
Step 5 – Stitch the appliqué/background as desired with selected thread. (Samples were free-motion stitched in a coordinating color thread with a stipple stitch throughout the piece.) If using Warm & Natural cotton batting, there’s no need to add a backing fabric to this piece before you stitch — the batting is needle-punched and stable. If using another batting, use your best judgment; you may need to place a layer of muslin or other thin fabric underneath the batting to keep the fibers from shifting.
Step 6 – Continue to fuse and stitch selected flower and leaf die-cut appliqués, changing thread as necessary.
Step 7 – Once the quilting and appliqués are complete, press the freezer paper heart onto the top, with the appliquéd heart centered underneath. The freezer paper will temporarily stick to the fabric, but can be peeled off and re-positioned if necessary (hold the piece up to the light to determine placement). This is now the pattern to cut out the heart shape with sharp scissors. Hint: The freezer paper shape can be re-positioned and pressed about 3-4 times before it loses its ability to stick. If that happens, simply die-cut another freezer paper shape and continue.
Peel off the freezer paper heart, press it onto the second piece of background fabric, and cut out; this heart will be the back of the ornament.
Step 8 – Pin the two hearts together all the way around, right sides together. Insert a short loop of ribbon at the center top for a hanger (push the loop into the heart between the two layers, leaving short cut ends extended outside of the shape as shown in the photo below). Stitch around the shape using a ¼” seam allowance, beginning about 1” up from the bottom point along one side and ending about 1-1/2” short of that starting point, leaving this gap open for turning. Carefully clip into the seam allowance to the stitching line, in short intervals all the way around the shape. Pay special attention at the top center and the bottom point of the heart to avoid puckering once turned inside out.
Step 9 – Turn the piece RIGHT SIDE OUT and stuff with polyester fiberfill, adding lavender buds or potpourri if desired. Using matching thread and a whip stitch, close the opening.
Step 10 – Add any hand-stitched embellishments or hot-fix crystals. The samples included a seed bead sewn within each “bump” of the scalloped heart all the way around. Tack a ribbon bow at the top center, if desired. Tip: Some people prefer to add embellishments like beads or embroidery prior to sewing, turning and stuffing the ornament, but the bow and hot-fix crystals should always be added after the ornament/sachet is completed.
Quick and Easy Gift Bag
For a pretty presentation, fuse iron-on adhesive to the back of color-coordinated fabrics, die-cut desired shapes, and use a dry iron set on medium heat to fuse the pieces to a purchased gift bag. Don’t use steam, as moisture will warp and stain the paper bag. Add “pen-stitch” details with fine-point permanent markers.
To make a heart-shaped cardstock gift tag:
From two colors of cardstock, cut a Scalloped Heart (third from largest in the set, including a stamped or printed sentiment) and one from the Stitched Hearts set (third from the largest size). Use clear double-sided adhesive to adhere the smaller heart on top of the larger heart. Using just the tip of a paper piercing tool with a piece of thick craft foam or a piercing pad, expand the tiny holes found at the center of each bump of the die-cut scalloped heart through the background cardstock (just enough for a needle to pass through).
Hand-stitch a seed bead at each poked hole: Tie a knot at the end of a doubled length of thread (about a yard of thread folded in half to 18”). Starting at one side of the center top, push the needle up from underneath in the first hole and pull up the thread until the knot catches underneath, thread a bead, return needle through the same hole to the back, and gently pull taut. Use a stabbing motion with the needle straight up and down, perpendicular to the cardstock (not a scooping motion like when sewing on fabric). Carry the thread over to the next hole and add the next bead. Continue all the way around the shape. Tie off the thread and cut off excess. (Optional: For extra security, dab a dot of glue onto the beginning and end of the stitching and let dry.) Punch a small hole at the top center of the heart and tie the heart to the bag handles with a length of ribbon. Add curled ribbons in desired colors to the handle above the heart.
Hint: Thin strips of copy paper will curl just like curling ribbon! Custom-make your own personalized “curling ribbon” as follows:
With your computer, create a full page of words or phrases in landscape mode, with margins at 0, single line spacing, and in a font and size so that each line is about ¼” tall (Font shown: “Flavors” in 14 point). Print or copy the page onto colored copy paper. Use a paper trimmer to cut the page into strips so that each strip includes a line of text (strips will be about ¼” x 11”).
Using a scissors blade held carefully against your thumb, curl the strips of text as you would curling ribbon. Don’t use too much force or the strips will tear. Gather a few strips together. Mix in some purchased metallic curling ribbon as shown, tie a ribbon at the middle of the pieces and attach the ribbon cluster to the handle of the gift bag.
Customize your “curling ribbons” for an endless array of possibilities: baby’s name/birth date, names of the bride/groom for a wedding gift, commemorate a special occasion, holiday greetings, party favors with pizzazz, anniversaries. The delighted recipient will ask, “How did you do that?”
Elizabeth Craft Designs:
Stitched Hearts (for the gift tag)
¼” Clear Double-Sided Adhesive (for gift tag)
100% cotton fabrics
Sharp fabric scissors
Heat n Bond Lite iron-on adhesive
Freezer paper (available at your local grocery store)
Thin quilt batting of choice (samples used Warm & Natural 100% cotton batting)
Polyester fiberfill of choice
Decorative threads of choice
Regular thread for construction and hand stitching
Sewing needle, bead needle
Miscellaneous embellishments: Seed beads, bugle beads, hot fix crystals, ribbons
Lavender buds or potpourri (optional)
For the gift bag and tag:
Purchased gift bag
Colored cardstock and copy paper in coordinated colors
Paper piercing tool
Thick craft foam or piercing pad