Friday, February 17, 2012

Quilted Valentines Banner Tutorial

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I know I should have posted this about a month ago so that some of you could make this before Valentines Day. I didn't do that for one simple reason. It wasn't complete. In fact, I hadn't even started a month ago.
But a couple of you have asked about the block patterns for the letters that I used to spell L-O-V-E.
So I thought I would post a tutorial for the banner that I posted on V Day in the event that any of you would like to make it for next year, you are pink heart enthusiasts and want to keep it up all the time, or would like a simple "how to" for making quilted letters.

So here it goes...

What you'll need:
quilting fabrics in an assortment of colors
(I don't normally have pinks in my arsenal of fabric, so I just bought some fat quarters)
batting (3'x3' would be more than enough)
muslin for borders and back (you could also use a contrasting quilting fabric)
usual sewing implements
a dowel and ribbon if you would like to make it banner like mine and not a mini quilt
(I picked up my dowel from Michaels for about a buck, and the ribbon I had. Use whatever you would like)

Planning and a Word on the Letters:

Before you begin, you'll want to plan out your blocks. Because I wanted my blocks to spell out a word, I chose a basic block pattern (log cabin) as my template and then tinkered with it to form the letters (the block patterns are below).
I chose the log cabin block as my base because it's all right angles which is easier to sew (yay!), and it had enough pieces that I could shape letters into it fairly easily.
To shape those letters, I shaded in select boxes.
When I began cutting and sewing, I used contrasting fabrics for those shaded parts to highlight the letter within the block.

I enjoyed this so much and it turned out so well (and quickly) that I've thought about making a similar one as a mini quilt for a doll and using letters that spell a name... we'll see if it happens... have to have a daughter (no small task, and no mom! not pregnant! ;) ) or make one for a neice.

For the "O" I used a heart (since it's for V Day and all).
This block was, by far, the most difficult, but it is all straight lines, and really the most time-consuming and brain-bending part is cutting the right pieces.

Once I had my letters planned out, I started creating...

Step One: Cut your fabric.

For the heart, you can follow the cutting list provided with the block pattern.
For the other letters, you just want to cut a lot of strips 1.5" in all the fabrics you're going to use.
No need to cut each piece as you can just trim the excess off as you sew (more on that later).
You'll be sewing these strips with 1/4" seam allowance to make, in the end, a 10" square.
Keep in mind that it's better to make your square bigger than smaller than 10" because you can always cheat (like I do) and trim it down to 10" after sewing. That way your blocks all meet up nicely.

Step Two: Sew

Sew your blocks using the patterns included on this post, or some that you've made.
Clearly, if you're making your own patterns, you have no need for this tutorial, but anyway...

When sewing a log cabin block, you want to start from the middle of the block and work your way out.
If you would like an easy tutorial for the method behind sewing a log cabin block, watch this video.
Sew your two center pieces together, trim excess, iron flat, rotate your block to attach the next piece, and repeat.

Trimming as you go will help keep your edges straight which will keep your blocks straighter in the end.

Use a highlighter to mark off the pieces that you've done. It will help you keep track.
Keep your diagram/pattern handy so you can double check your work, and be mindful of which fabric you're using so you can see your letter clearly once your finished.
Don't be afraid to whip out your seam ripper, and start a piece again. It happens. ;)

Step Three: Piecing your Blocks Together
Once you have all four blocks sewn, place them together however you would like them to appear.
Cut muslin or contrasting fabric for your border.
I cut 12 3" x 10" pieces of muslin and 9 3" x 3" squares of my left over pieces of red and pink fabrics.


First, sew muslin pieces to the top and bottom of square 1 (top left). Then, sew a muslin piece to the bottom of the square below it. Next, sew bottom square to the top.


Repeat for the blocks on the right side.
It should look like this.


Next, sew your vertical strips.
That is, a fabric square, a piece of your muslin, another fabric square, a piece of muslin, and another fabric square.
Repeat twice more.

Finally, sew your vertical strips to your square strips, trying your best to meet your corners.

You're top quilt is finished!

Step Four: Put your Quilt Together

Lay a piece of muslin (at least 3' x 3') on your work surface.
You can also use a piece of contrasting fabric. If it has a right side, then make sure it is right said down for this step.
Then place your batting on top.
And your quilted top (right side up) on top of that.
Pin it all together really well.
Step Five: Quilt

I machine quilted my banner. You could obviously hand quilt here, but I was in a major time pinch to get this done by the 14th!
I quilted "in the seams" of the top piece,
first sewing in the seams of the edges of each block,
and then I quilted the outline of each letter.
Super quick.

Remove your pins.
It's coming together, yes?
Step Six: Binding
I cut a long long long 2" strip of muslin. I think it would also be super cute to use another red fabric for the binding, but since I just had fat quarter, that wasn't possible.
Take one end of your binding fabric and fold it over. Iron that down. This will hide your raw edge when you sew it on your quilt.


Then pin your strip all the way around your quilt.
Make sure that your sewing it with right side facing if your binding fabric has a right side.
Start sewing all the way around,and  just keep sewing about an inch or so so the edges overlap.
Trim off any excess at the end.

You might want to iron your binding out, so it lays kind of flat.

Then flip your work over.

Fold your binding piece under about 1/2". You can iron it if it will help. I didn't.


You're now going to take out your old-fashioned needle and thread and sew your bind down on the back so the folded edge meats the back of your quilt.
Work all the way around.

If you're just making a mini quilt, stop here. You done!

If you want to make it a banner, continue...

Step Seven: Making Your Quilt into a Banner

Cut three lengths of ribbon.
They should be the same size.
Keep in mind that the length of the ribbon folded in half, will determine how low your banner hangs from the dowel.
Sew your ribon pieces on the back of your quilt.

Now for the dowel...
I drilled holes in each end and then fed my ribbons through. Then tie your ends together.
This is much like what I did for my Jesse Tree Advent Calendar.
If you want a more finished look, you can paint your dowel.
I'll probably end of painting mine white... at some point. :)
Done and done.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Block Patterns:


You could also use this for the O if you choose not to use the heart.
The Southern Institute

1 comment:

  1. What a cute wall hanging! I love the piecing that's designed to showcase the letters.


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