Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's time for some lovin'!

 It's the first day of February, so in honour of the upcoming St-Valentine's day, I decided to dive into my scraps bin in the sewing room, and stitch together a little something for the front door.
 Well, maybe I had a little help with the scraps.Tiny Hands enjoys all the pretty colours and imagines what beautiful costumes could be crafted together using all of them, all at once. 
 I, on the other hand, went for a more monochromatic look, pulling out lots of burgundys, reds and pinks. Each of these pieces has a story, coming from old projects, new costumes, altered clothing and such. Too small to create anything large, they get tossed into a large bin in the corner, often forgot until an idea like this comes along. I picked my favorites, and played around with the arrangement until I was happy with the look.
 I trimmed the rough edges and squared up the lop-sided pieces, to make the assembly easier.
 Then, I began sewing the pieces together, two by two, smaller squares first, working my way up to larger blocks made up of several smaller pieces.
I liken this piecing technique to machine quilting, but by no means do I call this quilting. I call this a complex puzzle of a craft, trying to figure out which order to sew the pieces in to obtain one large, colourful bit at the end.
Between seams, which I set at a uniform 1/4-inch, or to the edge of my machine's presser foot, I make sure to iron the fabric. This makes for a much cleaner finished product. I only recently learned the benefits of always pressing your seams when sewing. I once believed it was only a waste of precious sewing time. Believe me, once you do press your seams, and see how much nicer your finished projects look, you'll become a presser, too. Maybe even obsessively so. It's hard to stop.
One last, long seam to go and...
I find myself with a large mosaic of scrap fabric pieces. Now comes the assembly!
I cut a heart out of cardboard, which I made sure would fit within the confines of my quilted fabric. This cardboard with provide strength to the project. Without it, the heart would flop down into a folded mess on your front door!
Using the cardboard as a template, I marked and cut a heart from my quilted piece. I also cut a second heart from a large scrap of red cotton for the back, and a third from an old bedspread cover, to provide thickness to the heart, and to protect the cardboard which will be inserted inside the final hanging piece.
Right sides together, I sewed the quilted front piece to the plain red cotton back piece. I trimmed the excess fabric and clipped the curved edges. Note that I left the entire right side past the curved top open to insert the cardboard and bedspread piece later.
I turned the heart inside out and pressed the edges flat.
Then I carefully eased the cardboard and bedspread hearts inside the red heart.
Finally, I folded the unfinished edges over, pinned them together, and stitched the hole on the right side of the heart closed.
Now I just needed a way to hang the heart on the front door! I rummaged through the lace & ribbon box for ideas, and pulled out this piece of cord, already tied in a knot. It seemed perfect for the job!
I re-knotted the edges and trimmed some frayed pieces, then placed the cord at the top of heart.
Using a needle and thread, I stitch the knot securely in place by hand. Then I tried it out.
Tah dah! 

One big, beautiful, hand-crafted heart to let everyone know that yours is a house full of love! This design took all of 2 hours to stitch together, and you can easily customize it to include particular patterns, specialized stitches, or even more hearts of different sizes! It's really all up to you, your imagination and what you have on hand. Now go out and get sewing for Valentine's Day!

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