Scrap Bag Sampler – Week 6 Improv Heart

Improv Heart Block

Wow week 6 already and it’s a good one! The lovely block below is from Pippa.

It’s my turn to post a block in our super scrappy scrap bag sampler. I’ve chosen an improvised/crazy heart. It is Valentine’s day after all, what else could it have been.


I’m not an improv quilter and I really like following a pattern but when my scraps build up I make scrappy improv shapes and I’ve been known to make them into Valentine’s cards or quilt blocks. Stars/Trees/Easter Egg’s the principle would be exactly the same.



Gather scraps together and cut the background square.I like to cut my block down at the end so for the 6” block cut a 7” background.

Put two fabrics right sides together, you can make them wonky or straight depending on  your mood. Sew a 1/4” seam allowance ideally in matching thread.Trim any extra fabric in line with the seam, open then press. 


Choose another piece of scrap to add. Here I’ve cut  the main piece at a slant so that the third fabric will be at an angle.  Once again put the scrap your adding right side together and sew 1/4” seam.

Unfold and press.

For some added fun, you can join small scraps together in the same manner and join it to the main fabric.

Continue in this way until you have a fabric piece the size of the heart you want.  For the 6” block I think a 5” heart works well.


I like to use fusible webbing/interfacing for my applique. You can either freehand draw a heart or use a template, if you have a sizzix or a die cutter they make great templates just cut them in cardstock.Draw the shape onto the non shiny side (the non glue side) of the interfacing.


Use a light box or hold the heart up to a light source, lamp or window and just check that the scrappy fabric has a 1/4” allowance around the drawn heart.



Sew directly on the drawn line, I use a 2mm stitch and I start on a straighter side and always backstitch at the beginning and the end. Cut around the heart leaving a 1/4” seam allowance, clip into the corners and the V do not cut through the stitching. Carefully lift up the interfacing and slit a cut into it so that you can turn the heart right side out. Turn and carefully push corners and curves out. DO NOT IRON


Grab your background square, fold it in half and align your heart on the right side of the fabric. I also like to be a bit wonky when I’m doing these and the quilt police won’t get us if they aren’t straight.  

Now is the time to get busy with the iron, gently press and the fusible interfacing will stick the heart to the background.


To finish the block you could leave it as it is, especially if the item isn’t going to be washed much, you could blanket stitch it by hand, try some hand embroidery which is what is generally done here in France, lots of elaborate stitches in multiple colours, perhaps use some ribbons or lace or just get busy with those fancy stitches on your machine. Then trim block to desired size, in my case 6 1/2″

On the little block I used some 12wt Aurifil and stitched a rough 1/8” topstitch inside the heart. This one is a longer “country style” heart and was freehand drawn. The large heart I used a blanket stitch and then lots of different embroidery stitches on my machine using Aurifil 50wt.



As you can see this method is really versatile and great for using up your scraps of any colour and any size.  There’s no limit to the number of colours on each block, the number of scraps, threads or stitches.

Visit our designers on Instagram to see their versions of this block : @cotefleurie @getahashtagkim @JustSewSue @lisasew @metroquilter @picosailors @pippaspatch @quirkyhannah  @surfseasew @therunninghare



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