Padded fabric hearts you can use for *almost* anything: a tutorial

I had to add the ‘almost’ in the title  because I don’t think these hearts would be much chop as, say, life jackets in an emergency. So even though you would probably leave them out of your “Just Go” kits, they’re still pretty versatile.

Before we go on: “much chop”. Anyone not following? It’s Australian slang for “poor” as in not good, not as in impoverished. I’ll use it in a sentence for you. “My mother took one look at the limp salad the waiter had placed before her, inhaled air sharply through flared nostrils and said “well, I don’t think that’s much chop.”

Aaaaanyway, on to the heart of matter. Boom tish, I’ll be here all week folks.

Along with polka dots, miniature anything and Christmas and Rome I also have a thing for hearts. So although I don’t like the crass commercialism that is part and parcel of Valentine’s Day (do not come within ten feet of me with a red rose) , I do loves me some lovely love hearts.

These hearts are like a cross between a slightly smaller version of Julia Child’s oversized valentine’s hearts (find a tutorial for Megan from Penny Carnival’s GORGEOUS oversized version in felt here) and one half of a fabric heart-shaped macaron. In other words, they’re on the large side and kind of puffy. So they’re much like the bags under my eyes after a late night, only prettier.

To make them you will need:

  • Very thick, stiff cardboard (2.5 mm/0.1 inch). You could get away with thinner card but I went for the very thick stuff as I really wanted these to have some bulk.
  • A large heart shape to trace. I used a biscuit cutter that was about 7 cm (just under 3 inches) across at the widest point. The finished hearts are about 7.5cm.
  • Quilt batting ie, that fluffy stuff you pop in the middle of a quilt to give it bulk, otherwise known as padding or wadding
  • Fabric
  • Super Glue or some kind of tacky glue that grips immediately. I used super glue because I’m super impatient. But be warned, there’s a very fine line between impatience and your fabric heart being glued to your fingertips for the next 3 weeks. A hot glue gun would work too.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Trace and cut your heart pattern from the cardboard.

2. Cut a piece of batting just bigger than your heart shape and glue it on. Once dry, trim edges.

What do you think of the cool spell I cast over my sewing scissors so they now cut whatever shape I point at, entirely on their own. Fuh-reeky.

3. Holding your puffy heart bit on fabric, roughly cut around it leaving about 1cm to 1.5 cm/ 1 inch.

4. Flip heart and place puffy-side down on fabric.

5. Pull the fabric at the bottom of your heart-shaped fabric onto the board. Nice and firmly but not too tight, mind, or you’ll distort the pattern. And goodness knows the last thing we need here after weeks of terrible floods and general climactic insanity is a distorted pattern. So go firmly but gently.

6. Glue the fabric on the top arcs of the heart shape

I find by doing the bottom point and tops of the arcs first you get anchorage for your fabric and it’s held in the right place while you work on the next bits.

7. Now begin to fold and glue the fabric from the centre of the arcs, down towards the outside arcs of the heart.

To achieve a nice, rounded arc, you need to kind of pull the fabric out to the side a bit before you glue ie, not straight downwards, to achieve a uniform arc. It’s easier to understand visually.

If you pull the fabric at a right angle to the arc like this

You’ll end up with an angular arc like this

Instead, try to kind of ease it around , like this.

Yep, that’s my thumb. I’m not embarrassed to be seen at such close quarters by you now we’ve known each other for a bit. In this intimate position, you can clearly see the pink line in the middle of my thumb which is a scar under the nail from where I got it slammed in a car door when I was about 15. To add to the ignominy of the moment, while I was still trapped by the door and screaming like a stuck pig, the automatic lawn sprinklers came on basically right where I was standing and drenched me. Hilarious now. Not so much at the time.

Now where was I? Oh yes, about to show you this beautiful rounded arc: this quintessential curve, this arc’s arc; this ambassador for its kind, a KING among arcs.

8. Keep easing your fabric around and glueing down towards the tip of the heart on both sides finishing with a nice, pointy tip. You might need to snip some excess fabric off around the tip to get a true point.

9. Cut a small slit at the top of the fabric going down towards the “v” of the heart – where the black arrow is pointing in the next photo. Don’t cut all the way into the “v”. Just enough to allow you to pull and glue the fabric down toward the “v”.

If you find, at the top “v” that your fabric is pulled apart and a bit of the batting and cardboard is exposed, just use some tweezers to slip in another little bit scrap of fabric between the fabric and padding and glue it down to the back of the cardboard to cover up the exposed bit.

You’ll end up with this.

10. Inspect heart. Sigh with the sheer heartiness of it all.

11. Use Fray Stoppa or some such to deal with any recalcitrant little threads or sticky-up bits.

11. Cut a piece of felt, just slightly smaller than your heart so it is still big enough to cover your scrappy edges.

12. Depending on what you now want to do with your heart you can either leave it as it is, sew on a brooch back, attach a shoe clip or hair clip. I did all of those.

For the brooch you saw at the beginning of the post, I simply sewed on a brooch back then glued the felt heart to my puffy heart.

Then I made another pair of hearts and attached shoe clips (well, hair clips actually but they worked as shoe clips which is what I was aiming for).

And they rocked my world.

I wanted to wear them straight out but Andrew wasn’t home and I need him standing right next to me in wedges that high in case I start to topple over.

I made another one into the clip you saw Sophia wearing above.

I loved every permutation, but I think the next would have to be my favourite.

For this I sandwiched two hearts together, inserting a little wire hook between them before glueing. I just bent a jewellery head pin into a loop for mine. You could even use a paper clip.

I used two different fabrics so it’s a two for the price of one necklace. A Costco necklace, if you will.

Here you can see the lovely sandwiched-ness of the two pieces.

I can’t put my finger on why, but I just LOVE the way that looks.

It struck me as I was making these how they are just really tiny versions of my upholstered bed head on which I plan to post shortly. And, much like my bed head, I love the way these have some springy life in them from the batting. They’re very satisfying to feel.

What else could you use them for? Well, as I said above, anything really. Stick one to a card, line some up on your mantlepiece or windowsill, glue one to the front of a fabric journal cover, hang sandwiched ones from fishing wire from the roof at different heights in a cluster (cute for a Valentine’s or love heart themed party). Yep, millions of things to do with ’em. I’m going to see if I can successfully mount one on a ring base. Now that would a be a conversation piece of jewellery.

But what about you over there scowling in the corner. Yes I’m talking to you, you Valentine-hating anarchist. I  see you dry retching and I know you simply loathe anything lovey dovey. Fair enough. Each to their own. I respect your decision and I have not forgotten you. Here’s your project my lovelorn friend: the anti-Valentine.


23 thoughts on “Padded fabric hearts you can use for *almost* anything: a tutorial

  1. You’re awesome. I actually LOLed 😉

    C has requested one, “Just like Soph.” I like the idea of the cookie cutter template – you could make so many shapes!


  2. So neat, so cute, you are one clever lady.
    As for your saying “not much chop” here in England it is a cockney version of “not much cop” keep posting your tutorials they are sooo clear and all looks so easy. Marion

    • Thanks Marion. lovely to hear you like my hearts. Interesting to hear about ‘not much cop’. What is the origin of that phrase I wonder.

  3. Thanks for sharing the ‘much chop’ info. I thought I was reading it wrong. Your tutorial is great. I am really digging your giant heart necklace. I’m not sure I’m cool enough to pull it off, but Im willing to try.

    • Hi Nikki.You soooooo don’t need to be cool to pull off my heart necklace! If that were a prerequisite, there’s no way I’d be able to pull one off either! Love to see your version.

  4. I saw your tutorial over at One Pretty Thing. This is wonderful! So simple and versatile. Thanks so much for sharing! I think I’ll have to whip some of these up today. 🙂

  5. Oh my you crack me up!

    I want to sandwich you together between 2 fabric hearts and wear you round my neck.

    It was love at first read.


    • Well Sarah, I’m always amenable to a bit of metphorical sandwiching! Has to be meaphorical, mind. I’m married afterall. Your comment made my morning – thanks for the laugh and for taking the time to leave it. x

  6. Pingback: We are all heart over here. « twirling betty

  7. How much would you charge us if you made, oh, 80 of these? We’re doing a fundraising auction, with the theme, “There’s no place like home” – our agency helps seniors living at home with free volunteer-based services. I’d like to have everyone who participates in the paddle raise to get a heart. If I had a passel of volunteers, we could make them ourselves, but I don’t see that happening in time (the auction’s March 19) Please let me know if this is remotely possible.

  8. Pingback: Can you feel the love? « twirling betty

    • Thanks Dianah. Glad you like it. I’m reading a book about the Amazon at the moment so Brazil is on my mind! xx

      • Hi there!

        Good to know that you have Brazil on your mind now.
        If have interess, i sugest see about São Paulo too, it’s a big, lovely and messy city (some say it’s like New York).

        I’m following your blog to see more of you lovely work 🙂

  9. Pingback:   Almost As Good As Bettie  | HeadLine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s