I have written about this a couple of times. In googling my blog, I went back and read all about my first post on making your own quilt letters for patterns. We have all tried various methods. A small torn piece of paper or post it note with the letter written on it pinned to the fabric can work over and over.
I started saving bread wrapper plastic ties. And I made a set with those. Those were nice plastic, but kept finding those would not stick to anything and the children ended up playing with them, so I gave in and let them.
I talked my mom into making a set for my birthday one year. She obliged. She embroidered using her programs on her embroidery machine and stitched on felt, pinked the edges. These have been a life saver for me and have allowed me to grow as a quilter.
I noticed the other day that the majority of use with this alphabet is during the 365 quilt block challenge. As you all know I am going with a red theme. I noticed those reds have slowly left their mark on the first 8 letters of the alphabet. Make me wonder now if the quilt will bleed after completion???? I will continue to use the set my mother made me but decided that anyone could make a set using fabric. No fancy machine required. Here is a list of items needed
- Alphabet panel
- contrast or matching fabric (size will vary according to alphabet size.
- sewing machine
- If you are using a relatively new machine you will need a walking foot as well
- If you are using a vintage machine pre 1959 you should be ok without the walking foot
- The sewing machine is optional you can always baste these together by hand or hot glue them
- Left over scraps of batting
- scissors and/or pinking shears or rotary blade with pinker
- Contrasting or matching thread
The alphabet panel I chose is made by Moda in the line called “Its Elementary”
I also used Moda fabric for the backing of my quilt sandwich, this is basic grey and called “Maven”
Here is where there is a fork in the road. Because you will decide which direction you want to take this panel. At this point you could make your quilt sandwich and quilt the panel as desired. I thought when I started this project that I was unsure how well me and my pinking shears would get along cutting through so many layers. Make sure before you quilt everything together and you are using pinking shears they are sharp and can do the job. Also, make sure your hands are up for the job. Using pinking shears is hard work!
I chose to pink my letters from the panel first, which in hindsight, I could have just cut these with normal scissors or a rotary cutter.
This panel does have printed guidelines for cutting. These measure around 3 inches. I found that the letter J was the largest letter. This panel has many repeats of common letters, but I only counted two Zs so you can really only make two sets. One for you and one for a friend!
I trimmed and retrimmed until I got each letter the size I wanted. Remember this is homemade, don’t struggle with the perfection of squareness, these are NOT quilt blocks, they are quilt aides.
After vacuuming I decided to trim the rest of the trash can, this made the biggest mess. Work smarter not harder like me.
I took the largest or should I say tallest letter and cut a strip that was approx half an inch larger than my pinked trimmed letter. I found my scrap batting pile and layered my pieces. I actually placed my printed letter by itself on the batting and trimmed the batting, then placed it on the coordinating/contrasting fabric and trimmed around that about a 1/4 inch all the way around. I used less than 9 inches of fabric, probably closer to 6 inches WOF.
And here is my little ravioli letter J. When you sandwich your pieces they are quite small. This first one I pinned. The pins were just in the way. The batting really behaves well and keeps everything from shifting. When you quilt these pieces together you may or may not want to use a walking foot. I chose not to and stitched on my featherweight. You could get out the fancy stitches on the embroidery machine and doll these letters up with cute threads!
I recommend if you will be using these on a vertical surface you use flannel to back your letters or felt. This tip can help you mark your rows for your pieces from your design wall to your machine. So many uses!
These little quilt sandwiches do remind me of ravioli. I suppose ravioli is a lot like a quilt, it has a back, filler, and a front and is all handmade!
As an afterthought, you could also hot glue a magnet onto the back of these and store them on the fridge! Let everyone spell out clever stuff at the fridge.
What are your other options for lettering your pieces?
If you have the right flat head flower pins, they do make stickers you could affix to those. I suspect this may run you less than 20.
If you have the accuquilt cutting system there is the alphabet die, you could certainly cut out all your letters using that. If you don’t have the die, it is expensive. It can be used over and over. Binding clips work well with paper or fabric.
There are pin heads that have the alphabet on them. As I understand it, these are hard to use because just take a look at your pincushion, you see how many pins are there. Can you imagine if they all had a letter on top. It would take time to get used to that system. I know little hands in this house are always pushing my pins flat to the pin cushion. These would probably get lost too. Or worse, the bent pin. Yeah, you know the one. The one you pull out blindly every time you need a pin. Those pin sets run more than $20. Alphabet beads, alphabet buttons. These would be cute stitched to some felt and you could make those tiny.
You could also opt for just plain alphabities. They are probably the most affordable option. I am brainstorming on what to do with my left over pieces in the alphabet. This panel would be perfect for a scrabble quilt. I am liking the magnet thing. I could quietly leave a note for those who are still home sleeping and tell them how much I love them!
I presume since these are now quilted and have the potential of getting used and dirty, the edges are pinked so you should not have any unravel of fabrics. I will hold off on the washing bit as long as I can. Those of you who use the alphabet system while making a block, they are true lifesavers, aren’t they?
I hope you have found this tutorial helpful. If there is a tutorial you would like to see on this blog, leave a comment and I will see how I can fit that in!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!