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Mended Hearts

(Original Block Design by

Jennifer Hutchings and Susan Tuttle)

Fabric Requirements:
  • 2-3/4 yards of background fabric
  • 3/4 yard each of 6 different heart fabrics
  • 2-3/4 yards of Warm & Natural Batting (45" width)


Heart Fabrics:

  • 2  9" Strips – Cut into 9” squares  (These are backing squares.)
  • 1  5" Strip – Cut into 5" squares  (These will become the hearts.)

Background Fabric and Batting:

  • 10  9" Strips – Cut into 9" Squares

Other Preparation:  Wind one bobbin of each thread color.  You'll be doing a lot of stitching, so wind the bobbin full.

Cutting Hearts:

Cut hearts from the 5" squares.  Fold each square in half and cut out a heart just the way you learned in elementary school.  If you like, cut some freehand without folding.  If you prefer, you can make templates later for more accurate hearts, but the charm of this quilt lies in its free-hand construction.

Block Construction:

First, stack a backing square (wrong-side up), a batting square, a background square (right-side up), and add a heart appliqué.  Place one pin in the middle of this stack.  To control how much the background square twists or torques while you're sewing, add pins at each of the corners. This last step isn't essential, but will help control how much you must trim in order to square up your blocks.

Continue stacking until all the squares and appliqués are pinned together.

Using a zigzag stitch and contrasting thread, appliqué the hearts in place.  Start sewing at the bottom point of the heart, just off the edge of the appliqué.  Don't cover the raw edge, but sew just inside it.  (If using a straight stitch, shorten the stitch length and stitch about ¼" inside the raw edge.  Run two rows of stitching to keep things secure.)  Smooth the edges down just ahead of the presser foot, but don't worry about puckers and pleats.  By the time this quilt is washed, the whole thing will be puckered and the pleats won't show.  At end of the stitching, sew over beginning stitches.  Gently tug on top threads until bobbin threads "pop" through to the top, then clip bobbin loops along with top threads.

Quilting Blocks:

After all the blocks are appliquéd, change back to a straight stitch.  Next, quilt each block using a second thread color.  Just run straight lines back and forth all over the square until it seems properly quilted.  Try not to run obvious lines from corner to corner or from the middle of one side to the middle of the other.  Everything should be just a bit wonky.

Mending the Hearts

Now comes the fun part!  Take two heart blocks and stack them one on top the other.  Using your rotary cutter, slice through both blocks.  Slices may be straight or gently curving.

Swap the pieces so that each block has one half of the other one.

Butt the edges of each half up against each other and "mend" them back together using a wide, close zigzag.  (DON'T use a satin stitch, it creates too much bulk and doesn't allow for the raggedy look that gives this quilt is charm.)

Now, go back and square up each block to 8".  (Backing, batting and background were all cut over-sized to allow for this process.)  When squaring up, it doesn't matter if the edges are on-grain.  Everything is quilted, and the zigzag joining will cover a multitude of sins.

Setting the Quilt Together and Finishing:

Butt block edges up against each other, and stitch with a wide, close zigzag stitch.  Once the rows are finished, butt them against each other and zigzag them together.

Run two or even three rows of stitching, one right over the other, using different colors of thread.  Change colors often, or just use up whatever's left on each bobbin before changing.  Once the whole quilt top is set together, finish the edges by trimming any thread tails and running two or three rows of zigzag stitching all around the perimeter of the quilt.  (To round the corners of the quilt top, use a saucer and rotary cutter.)  Keep those rows close to, even overlapping, each other.

Once all the stitching is complete, throw the quilt in the washer on warm water.  Dry in the dryer.  (Be sure to use your favorite fabric softener.)   The batting will shrink, giving the quilt that wonderful, cuddly, I'm-an-old-quilt feel.  Call up all your friends and invite them over for a Mended Hearts Party.  Make stacks of these for Christmas presents.  Do a block swap with all your quilty friends.  Most importantly, have fun!


  • Use decorative stitches for the heart appliqué.
  • Cut strips of heart and background fabrics, and raw-edge appliqué these over the seams. (1.5" wide for back and 1" wide for top)
  • Use strips of heart and background fabrics to make a binding.  Fold in half and raw-edge appliqué around the edges of the quilt.
  • Try other shapes for the appliqué – leaves, stars, or Christmas ornaments.
  • Use the blocks for machine quilting practice —make loops, stars, hearts, or write "I love you".
  • Add simple, sturdy trims to the blocks — rickrack, tatting, sturdy lace and buttons work well.

For some wonderful pictures of finished quilts and a different set of directions, check out Betty Reynolds' page.

Betty Reynolds' Mended Hearts

HeatherLynn also has some lovely pics of her Mended Hearts blocks in spring colors.

HeatherLynn's Hearts