This easy, scrappy, mini Happy Heart Quilt is the perfect touch for not only Valentine’s Day, but all year long! Measuring just 12” x 13”, the Happy Heart quilt is the perfect size to decorate a shelf or table! Or add a sleeve to the back, and hang this Happy Heart up!!
The Happy Heart quilt is a great project for a beginning quilter. There’s nothing complicated about the pattern. This quilt can easily be made in a day or over the weekend!! Using such small squares, you can either purchase small amounts of fabric or just use scraps to create this quilted beauty!
General Sewing Directions
The directions for this Happy Heart quilt are for rotary cutting, machine piecing, machine quilting, and the binding is hand stitched to the quilt back.
Accurate cutting and sewing enhances your final product. Pin your pieces together before sewing them to ensure proper seam alignment.
Use a ¼” seam allowance. I recommend using a special presser foot with a ¼” guide if you have one for your machine. This will help you get uniform seams, and matching corners!
You will also need a darning foot for free-motion quilting.
Follow the directions described below as you press open the seams. Each individual row is pressed in the opposite direction of the previous row to eliminate bulk and help seams to lay flat. Rows sewn together are then all pressed in one direction for a uniform look.
The pattern calls for machine quilting, but this quilt is so small you could easily hand quilt it!
The finished quilt measures 13” x 12”.
This scrappy mini Happy Heart quilt is so cute it’ll steal your heart! Using only 1 ½” squares, it doesn’t take much fabric at all to make. If you’re new to quilting, I have a Quilting 101: Following a Pattern post to learn more about following quilt patterns. Carefully read through all the information below on how to make this scrappy mini heart quilt.
Let’s get started…
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I used a variety of pink prints for this Happy Heart quilt. A fun twist might be to use a variety of colors, like the colors found in a box of candy hearts!!
This quilt doesn’t have to just be for Valentine’s Day! Use any color you love, or a variety of your favorite colors!!
For the background I used a variety of buttery cream-colored fabric to show off the pink heart. I debated using gray fabric for the background, but chose the creams this time. I think gray and pink is such a good color combination though, you might want to try this variation!
Heart: Cut 74 total 1 ½” pink squares. I suggest using at least 8-10 different prints. Either raid your stash, or purchase a few new fat quarters.
Background: Cut 82 total 1 ½” cream squares. Again, use a variety of at least 8-10 different prints from your stash or fun new fat quarters.
The back of this quilt uses 1 fat quarter.
For the back of my quilt, I used “Busy Bee in Karma” fabric designed by Sharon Holland, from the Kismet Collection by AGF.
Trim the fat quarter to a 17″ x 16″ rectangle. I always extend the size of the quilt backing 2″ beyond each side of the finished quilt top to allow for stretching of the quilt top that happens when machine quilting.
If you want to get fancy, you could piece together some of the fabrics used in the heart to create a unique quilt back. Use your imagination, there’s no rules!
You’ll need a total of 1/6 of a yard of fabric for the binding.
For the binding of my quilt, I used a Henry Glass burgundy-colored “Wall Flower” fabric, from the Best of Days collection designed by Janet Rae Nesbitt. Isn’t it pretty?!
Cut two 2 ½” x 44” strips, or cut four 2 ½” x 22” strips of coordinating fabric. I used a dark burgundy fabric with some pink in the pattern to compliment the pink heart. Sometimes, I’ll piece different fabrics together for the binding. With the scrappy heart in this quilt, a scrappy binding like that would be super cute too!!
You’ll need a piece of 17″ x 16″ thin cotton batting to make this quilt.
I always extend the batting 2″ beyond each side of the finished quilt top to allow for stretching of the quilt top that happens when machine quilting.
I like to use Warm & Natural needled cotton batting, but there are other similar types of cotton batting on the market. For my quilt, I had scraps of batting in my cupboard from a previous quilting project. What a great way to use up leftover batting!
Assemble the Quilt Top
Now that you have all your 1 ½” squares cut, you want to plan how they’ll be arranged to make up the quilt top. I like to lay all my cut squares on a card table next to my sewing machine and play with arranging them until I get the look I want. The layout will be 13 squares across and 12 squares down.
Sew the Rows
The quilt top has 12 rows. Begin stitching squares together (right sides facing) to complete each row. As you complete a row, lay it back down on the table in the right placement to make sure you don’t mess up your arrangement of blocks.
Because this quilt uses all uniform size blocks, it’s easy to sew them together using the strip piecing method. This makes sewing the rows together a little faster, as you’re not starting and stopping to cut the thread each time you sew two blocks together.
Pressing the Blocks and Rows
I wait to press the 13-block rows until I have each of the 12 rows sewn together. Be careful to just “press” and NOT “iron” the seams in a back and forth motion, or your quilt will stretch out of shape.
Begin by pressing the seams of the first row all in one direction. Press the seams of the second row in the opposite direction. Continue to rotate the pressing direction of each row until you have the seams of all rows pressed. Think…odd rows 1, 3, 5, etc. press the seams to the right. Even rows 2, 4, 6, etc. press the seams to the left.
By using this rotating direction of pressed seams, you will have less bulk when you sew the rows to each other. This method of pressing distributes the bulk, which will make you happy when you machine quilt your project! Bulky seams can lead to bumpy quilting patterns, broken thread, and overall unevenness of your machine-quilted quilt top.
Now that you have the pieced rows pressed, sew them together! Pin rows 1 and 2 together, right sides together. Make sure to line up the seams, and pin to hold them in place. Remove the pins as you come to them when you’re stitching the ¼” seam.
I like to press each set of rows as I sew them together. The rows all get pressed in one direction, either towards the top or towards the bottom. By pressing them all in one direction it will make for a more uniform and smooth quilt top. Repeat until you have all 12 rows pieced together and pressed.
Nicely pressed quilt blocks and tops are a work of art, and a skill to develop! I love how pretty they look from the back too!!
Finishing the Quilt
Now that you have your quilt top sewn together, it’s time to finish it! Some people call the completed quilt top a flimsy, and I really like this term. It’s a flimsy because you haven’t yet added the 3 B’s to your quilt – batting, backing, and binding!
Layering the Top, Batting, and Back
I refer to layering the quilt as “sandwiching”. You need to sandwich the top and back with the batting in the middle. For a larger quilt, this process takes a bit more time and steps. But for this mini quilt, it’s a breeze to sandwich the layers together!
On a table or countertop, use masking or painter’s tape to tape down the backing fabric. As you tape the back to the table, you’ll want to make sure the fabric is smooth, without wrinkles. Also, make sure the right side of the fabric is facing down!
One time I sandwiched a full-size quilt only to realize I’d forgotten to put the right side of the quilt back fabric facing down and I had to remove all the basting pins and start over! Ugh!!
Lay the batting on top of the taped-down quilt back, and move your hands across it to smooth it all over. This will get rid of any wrinkles in the batting, and help to adhere it to the backing fabric. This quilt is so small, you don’t need to use basting spray to adhere the layers together. Just a few pins will do the trick!
Once you have the batting placed on top of the quilt back, center the top of the quilt (the flimsy!) over the two bottom layers. Right side facing up, of course! The two bottom layers of the quilt (the back and the batting) should extend about 2” all around the outside edges of the quilt top.
Move your hands across the quilt top to smooth it all over, and help remove any wrinkles. This will also help adhere the quilt top to the batting a little bit. Once you have the top of the quilt all smoothed out, use large safety pins to baste all three layers together. I like to use 1 ½” stainless pins, and I keep them all in a cute old canning jar that was my grandma’s.
Put a pin in each corner of the quilt sandwich, in the middle, and around the quilt so the three layers don’t move around when you’re machine quilting this project. I used about 12-14 pins to hold the sandwich together. You really don’t want to use more than this or you’ll be needing to stop a lot when you’re quilting to remove pins, which upsets the mojo of your quilting rhythm, lol!
“Quilting” the Quilt
I chose a free-motion machine quilting design to permanently join all three layers of the Happy Heart together. You’ll need a darning foot to free-motion quilt, and you’ll need to either be able to lower the feed dogs on the machine or place a special cover over them.
I used a simple meandering loopy stitch to machine quilt my layers together. Use whatever free-motion stitch you’d like, or use a straight stitch to quilt in the ditches or along the seams.
If you’re new to machine quilting, you might want to purchase a book on the topic like Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy by Eva A. Larkin or 60 Machine Quilting Patterns by Pat Holly and Sue Nickels. I found these books to be very helpful as I was learning how to machine and free-motion quilt.
As an alternative, you can hand-quilt these layers together too.
Binding the Quilt
When you’ve finished quilting the layers together, it’s time to bind the edges of your quilt! This could be a lesson in itself!! I’ll do my best to describe the binding process below, but if you’re confused by my directions there are lots of videos on the Internet that will demonstrate the process for you.
- Prepare Binding Strip
Take your 2 ½” binding strips that you previously cut and prepare to sew them together. To do this, fold the strip in half. Using your ruler, find the 45 degree line and lay it along the bottom of the folded strip. Now, you can cut a 45 degree angle through both layers. When you open up the strip each end will have the angle facing in the opposite direction.
Align two strips together perpendicularly along the 45 degree ends. Who ever thought you’d use those 4th grade geometry skills again, lol! Pin the ends and sew them together. Press the seams open. You’ll need a finished strip that is about 56” to 60” in total length.
Then, fold the binding strip in half (wrong sides together), and press.
- Sew the Binding Strip to the Quilt
Begin to sew the raw edge of the binding to the quilt by pinning it along one side. Be careful to sew the raw edge of the binding strip to the quilt, not the folded edge!
I usually start sewing the binding strip in the middle of the quilt side that I’m starting with. Start sewing about 5” in from the end of the binding strip, leaving a hanging “tail” on the binding. You’ll sew this to the end of the binding strip when you finish sewing all along the sides of the quilt.
Stop sewing on the first side ¼” from the corner, use a pin to mark this location and sew right up to it. Backstitch a bit, and cut your thread but DON’T cut the binding strip.
- Making the Mitered Corner
Now, remove the quilt and binding strip from your machine and fold the binding strip straight up so it’s perpendicular from the side you were just sewing on.
Fold the binding strip back down on itself and match it to the edge of the quilt you just sewed it to, and the next edge of the quilt edge you’re about to sew it to. Pin this fold in place, and pin the binding strip to this edge of the quilt and continue to sew it, again stopping ¼” from the next corner and repeating the folding process described above.
Continue in this manner until you are on the last side of the quilt, the side you started on.
- Connecting the Ends of the Binding
Stop stitching about 4” from where you started. Backstitch and cut the thread (but not the binding strip, not yet!), remove the quilt and binding strip from the machine.
You now have two “tails” of the binding strip, one from where you started stitching it to the quilt and one from where you just stopped. You’ll need to join these tails together so that you have a continuous binding strip to finish sewing down to the quilt. This can be tricky!
I don’t worry now about cutting 45 degree angles on each end of the binding strip to sew it together to make a continuous strip. If you can master this technique, my hat is off to you!! What I do is measure how much more binding strip I’ll need to finish sewing it to the edge of the quilt. I then cut a straight line along each end of the binding strip, adding ¼” to each end so I can sew the ends together with a ¼” seam (right sides together). Continue to sew the now continuous binding strip to the quilt.
- Trim the Batting and Back
Trim the batting and quilt back to ¼” from the edge of the quilt top. I use a ruler and a rotary cutter to accomplish this task. Work carefully, so you don’t cut into your quilted project!
- Hand-Stitch the Folded Binding Edge to the Quilt Back
Here is my FAVORITE part of the process, hand-sew the folded edge of the binding strip to the back of the quilt. When you get to the corner, carefully turn the corner right-side out to make a nice, mitered corner. I tack a few stitches up the corner to hold it in place, and then continue stitching along all sides and corners until…VOILA! Your binding is complete!
If you’d like, you can add a label to the back of the Happy Heart quilt.
I hope your finished quilt makes your heart happy too!!!