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Reverse Applique

Heart / Valentine

reverse applique valentine
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Reverse Applique

Reverse applique is the art of layering fabric, and then cutting away each layer to reveal the layer underneath.

The heart was done by laying white over red (a third layer could be added as well). The edges of the cut away fabric are hand stitched under with tiny, "invisible" stitches. Top stitching can be applied around the entire outside edge of the cut away image if desired.

Please read Introduction To Reverse Applique.

Reverse Applique: Heart

Designer: Christina Sherrod

Wouldn't this reverse applique heart be beautiful as trim on a pillowcase? Or perhaps use it to make a stitched card. Or use as a quilt block or hot pad for Valentine's Day. You could even use this method to create a cut out heart glasses case with our free glasses case pattern.

reverse applique
Click on the valentine image for a larger view. The larger view shows hand stitching and machine stitching in more detail.

Purse Size

The finished purse is 8" high x 10" long x 3" deep (you can adjust the pattern if you wish)
The outside cell phone pocket measures 6.5" high x 4.5" wide. The inside pocket measures approximately 8" (zipper opening 7") wide x 6" high. Top zipper opening is approximately 9.5" long.



One 8" square piece EACH of white and red fabric (or size required for your project)
One 10" x 10" piece of cotton quilt batting or Hot Pad Insulation (if making hot pad)
One 8" x 8" piece of paper to draw hearts
   or click here for pattern: heart pattern

NOTE: Be sure the pattern measures 8" x 8" (or the size you require for your project). If it does not, enlarge or make smaller with a copier.

Draw cutting lines that are 1/4" INSIDE the outer edge of the small hearts (I have drawn the line for you on the large heart). Trace over your pattern with a heavy, black marker.


very sharp, small sewing scissors
quilting pins
large sewing ruler
fabric marking pencils
seam ripper
rotary cutter and mat (optional but nice)


1. Trace Pattern To Fabric

Lay your white fabric, right side up, over your drawing. Use a pencil to trace the INSIDE lines of the hearts onto the fabric. These lines will become your cutting lines (and the pencil will not show when the project is finished). Cut one large heart, or one large heart and four smaller hearts in corners if you are creating a quilt block or hot pad.

2. Layer The Fabrics

Place RIGHT SIDES UP your fabric pieces as follows: red on the bottom, then white on top. Hand or machine baste the layers together around the outer edge, close to the edge.

3. Cut Away First Layer (to reveal red heart)

applique stitch Cut the white fabric along your cutting lines (be careful to only cut through the white) for all four small hearts and large heart. Remove the pieces of white fabric that are in the shape of hearts. Carefully snip the corners and curves where necessary (pattern is marked). Turn under the edges and, using a tiny "invisible" stitch, hem under the edges. Machine stitch around the outer perimeter of each heart (on the white fabric).

Finish As Quilt Block

Add 1.5" strips of fabric as needed around the heart block to create the quilt block size you need. If you need information on quiting, go to: free quilt lessons

Finish As Hot Pad

A 10" x 10" fabric square will be your backing. Layer your hot pad as follows: Backing on bottom (wrong side up), cotton quilt batting, heart hot pad top face up. Hand baste all three layers together. Stitch in the ditch along the seams that run along the gold strips if you wish to add a "quilted" touch. Cut strips of binding from black fabric and attach it to the edges of your hot pad to make a nice edging. Go to the applique heart hot pad link below to learn how to put together the hot pad and add the hanger.

Related Topics

Applique Heart Hot Pad
Assemble and bind a quilt
Attach a hanging sleeve

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