Well, it’s been a few weeks and I have decided to give you a lesson on how to do a Dear Jane© block. The pattern in the book for Hannah Lou’s Hearts is 4 hearts appliquéd down but if you examine the pictured block closely you can see it looks like 8 teardrop shapes, maybe appliquéd on her background.
The pattern I am using here, I drafted before the DJ CD came out but there are two similar patterns on the CD which could be used exactly as I am using my redraft. In my quilt, I used the block drawing in the book. I wasn’t good enough yet to figure this block out, but after I had taught DJ a couple years, I came up with this technique for doing it and it looks just like it and is very easy. I hope you will enjoy recreating a block that looks very similar to Jane’s. Please note that I made the hearts below from 2 focal fabrics instead of one, but will write cutting directions for 1 focal fabric as Jane’s is one red fabric.
Step 1: Cut 4- 3 1/2” focal squares, cut each in half once on the diagonal to yield 8 half square triangles. Sew back together to yield 4 focal squares and sew together again to yield one big square. PRESS ALL SEAMS OPEN! And I do mean all seams; it will help you when we do our first reverse appliqué.
It will look like this on the front and your center is not too big a deal but make sure it is not off more than a couple threads or you will have trouble lining up everything for all your reverse appliqué.
The back should look like this-all seams pressed open. This is for a reason that I will tell you when we start the first step of reverse appliqué, as that is all that is left to finish this block now.
Step 2: Trace (or print) the entire pattern onto freezer paper. You should be able to trace it once and use it twice. Notice my pattern is traced onto a 5” square of freezer paper. I need that extra 1/4” for basting since the curves are only about a 1/8” from the edge. Once it is traced, put your scissors into the center 4-pointed star and cut it out and discard. We want a window template, a star cut out in the middle of your paper. Now cut a 4 1/2” square of background. Layer and center it right side up beneath your pieced focal block of half square triangles, which should also be right side up. Iron the freezer paper template to the right side of the pieced focal block, matching the seam lines with the lines on the block, the inner points of the star in the diagonal corners and towards the center they should match with the lines on the block the horizontal and vertical seam lines. Baste together the 3 layers-freezer paper, focal pieced layer and background layer about 1/4” outside the 4-pointed star. Now reverse appliqué the 4-pointed star in the center, leaving about a 3/16” or smaller turn under. With the seams pressed open underneath, you turn under 2 layers in the inner corners and it very easy. Just take out your machine stitching as far as you need to-to the freezer paper, and re-secure in each corner. You will not have to worry about your fabric raveling or any stray threads. It stays nice and clean.
Step 3: Once the center is reverse appliquéd, remove the basting and freezer paper and press well. Trim out the background fabric from outside the star. Take the freezer paper template and trim out (still from the center) the outer lobed shape or the 8- petaled flower. We still want a window template. Cut a 5 1/2” square of background and iron your freezer template to it. Using a light box or pins, line up the narrow skinny parts on the seams lines until you are happy with placement. All pattern lines should line up on seam lines.
You can’t see it too well here but it has been basted and it ready for me to do my reverse appliqué. Start your appliqué; the little narrow points on the 4 compass points are pretty difficult so don’t obsess over them. Try to do one of the ‘off’ compass points first to boost your confidence. Don’t forget to clip those inside curves. Also remember the advantage of freezer paper is if it starts to let loose, you can hit it with the iron again. When I do my reverse appliqué I do that a lot, I want that point exact. I always tell my students your appliqué will be just as accurate as you cut out your line.
Step 4: Once the the appliqué is complete, remove the freezer paper, press and trim to 5”. You should also trim the focal fabric from underneath your background; trim out side the 4 hearts or 8 petals to your desired width. My width is about 1/8”-3/16”.
I will also post a picture of a block made with 30’s where every petal is a different fabric. It is one of 2 blocks I made. I kept this one and sent the other to a friend after I came up this way of doing Hannah Lou’s Hearts. I think it is just adorable done with each petal a different fabric; plus before I did the center star appliqué, I just laid the freezer paper template on one of the half square triangle blocks I had made, since I was making 2, I had one freezer paper template of the 4-pointed stars and 1 of the flower and it made the cutest Dresden Plate block. Can you imagine it from seeing my block?
Hopefully you have gotten my technique of making H-12 so it looks similar to Jane’s block. Maybe next time I will talk about my Dear Jane©, “In Changing Times”. But I think I said that for this post. Only time will tell.
Sew Having Fun,