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With Christmas just around the corner and pandemic shipping slowing everything down, I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to add a little ‘extra’ to gifts this year. Between stores being closed and my recipients being stuck inside and unable to use certain categories of my favorite gifts to give (ahem, restaurant gift cards and concert tickets), I was feeling ‘fine’ about the gifts I’ve assembled but… not great. They just weren’t able to be as personal as I normally like. So I came up with a few ideas to up the personality factor!
First, I turned a few of the quick, paper-pieced blocks from my Quick Christmas Banner into quilted Christmas card holders. I LOVE these. I’ll walk you through how to make them below.
Second (and even faster), I made a few simple paper pieced templates and used them to make quilted gift tags. This projects was perfect for scraps! I’ve got a how-to post on that HERE.
Let’s dive in!
The card holder I made is 4.5″ wide x 6.25″ tall. The patterns in the Quick Christmas Banner make 5.5″ x 7.5″ blocks. I trimmed mine down because I wanted it to fit in a standard A7 (5.25″ x 7.25″) envelope in case I decided to mail it. I still have about 50 of these left over from writing wedding thank you notes (which was…wow…half a decade ago, yikes). I think I’ll give this one with an in person gift but I like options. The card I put in the back pocket is 3.75″ x 5.75″, but something a bit larger would fit, especially if I didn’t mind it peaking out the side instead of being fully hidden in the pocket. I made the card myself by folding some watercolor paper I had on hand and trimming it down to this size with a paper cutter. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk supplies first!
Supplies for Quilted Card Holder
- Quick Christmas Banner pattern or other similarly sized blocks
- 5.5″ x 7.5″ piece of backing fabric
- 5.5″ x 7.5″ piece of fabric for your fabric pocket
- Pinking shears
- 5.5″ x 7.5″ batting scrap (or a few layers of flannel… anything you have around will work!)
- Small card for putting in the pocket
- Optional: Nice A7 (5.25″ x 7.25″) envelope for mailing
For this card, I went with a mix of Polar Magic Christmas prints and a V & Co Ombre Confetti Metallic in a bright red. I love both so I didn’t spend much time on that decision. And these are so fast that I knew that I could spend more time thinking about fabrics than just making one and seeing how it turned out.
Step 1: Piece Your Top Block
First, make a 5.5″ x 7.5″ little quilt block. Use that paper pieced block you’ve been wanting to try. Sew together some scraps. Fussy cut a larger image and add some border. Repurpose an orphan block. The options here are really limitless.
Remove your paper pieces from the back of your block and press your finished block well. If you have thick seams that you can press open instead of to the side, experiment with that. You want your seams as flat as possible for this project!
Yes, I’m aware that I accidentally beheaded my polar bear. It’s less obvious in person and I’m pretty sure my family will think it’s hilarious so I’m going with it!
Step 2: Make A Quilt Sandwich and Quilt It
Place your backing fabric on your table with the right side face down. Put your batting scrap on top of that. You could use anything you like as batting for this project–actual batting, some flannel scraps, a piece you cut out of an older sweater that’s going in the trash… really anything! Keep in mind that this won’t be washed so you don’t have to worry about things shrinking at different rates. Place your quilt top on your batting with the right side facing up. Congratulations, you now have a quilt sandwich.
If you like to baste, you can add a little basting spray between your layers. But we’re going to trim things after quilting them and this project is tiny so… live dangerously if you prefer and skip the basting.
Quilt your sandwich however you like!
Step 3: Prepare Your Back Pocket
Set aside your quilted sandwich. Cut a piece of pocket fabric to 5.5″ x 7.5″ We’re going to roll one of the long sides twice and sew along the roll to create a “finished” edge on that side.
First, mark a line 1 inch from the edge of the long side you’ve chosen to finish. Then fold the unfinished edge inward until it touches the line. Iron a nice, sharp crease into the edge of your fold. Now fold it one more time in the same direction and iron that down.
Use 1/4″ seam allowance to sew a line along your folded edge. You can use any stitch you want on this. A straight stitch in a matching thread color would be subtle. Or you could do a decorative stitch in a contrasting thread. I chose a wavy stitch in a matching thread. I wanted a little texture (and not to worry about any irregularities or slight imperfections in a straight line) and The goal here is to sew the folds together so that you have a finished edge. This will be the edge of your pocket that you slide your card under.
Step 4: Trim Your Quilt Sandwich & Back Pocket
Trim your quilt sandwich (without the back pocket) to the final size you want it to be PLUS 1/4″. To make a final product that was 4.5″ x 6.25″, I trimmed to 4.75″ x 6.5″ in this step.
Flip your quilt sandwich over so the back is facing up. Place your back pocket on top of it and position where you’d like it. Use a few pins to hold the pocket in place. We’re going to run a stitch all the way around the border of our project and we don’t want to hit any pins so keep them at least 3/4″ away from the edges. Also, you want your pocket to lay nice and flat so make sure your pins aren’t causing it to pull away from the quilt sandwich.
You’ll have extra pocket fabric hanging over the edges on three of your sides. Don’t worry about trimming that right now.
Step 5: Add Border Seam To Secure Back Pocket
Set your machine to roughly a 1/3″ seam allowance. I just use my normal 1/4″ setting and then bump my needle over a bit. It’s better to have this seam allowance a little wider than to have it too narrow.
With your project face up, sew a seam all the way around the quilted top.
This seam is going to lock our fabric edges so that when we trim them in the next step, any fraying from our unfinished edges will stop at this line.
It also attaches our back pocket to our project. I show you the back of my project in the photo below because it’s easier to see my security stitch on the back than on the front.
Step 6: Trim Edges With Pinking Shears
You could finish your project with a traditional binding or some ribbon or… anything you can dream of. Personally, I like to finish it off by trimming a zigzag around the edges with my pinking shears. It’s fast and festive. Did I mention fast?
Use your shears and cut off the edges of your projects. Make sure that you stay on the outside of the security seam you added in the prior step.
That’s it! You’re done.
Insert your card (or a gift card?!), tuck into an envelope, and add it to a gift or drop it in the mail to send some quilty love to a friend.
I’d love to see what you make! If you post on social media, be sure to tag me @sparklestash.