06 August 2015

Reverse Applique Liberty Heart {Tutorial}

When I have a spare moment in the sewing studio, I gravitate towards little projects which I can finish in one sitting. Lately, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with hearts. Reverse applique hearts in Liberty fabrics, to be specific.


Liberty Heart Cover

Liberty fabrics and denim are one of my favourite combinations. There’s something special about the course heavy denim fabric paired with the fine delicate Liberty Lawn which I just love. For quite a while, I saved all of the old jeans in the house. I probably saw it on Pinterest or Flickr at some stage and had grand plans of making a denim picnic quilt. I never got around to it… but perhaps one day?

Anyways, I cut up one of the old pairs of jeans and salvaged all of the “good bits”. In this case, the good bits were the upper and lower leg sections – they had the best straight pieces to recycle as they were less worn than around the knees, pockets or zips.

I’ve made a fair few little Liberty + Denim Needle Books so thought I’d share my method. It’s a great way to use a teeny amount of Liberty fabric for a fairly good outcome. If you’re in Australia and you love Liberty fabrics, you really must stop over at Ava & Neve for an excellent range of fabrics and fun clubs.

First step is to download and print the heart template.

Decide on the desired size of the needle book and cut this from your piece of denim as well as some co-ordinating fabric for the lining. I always like to fuse some stabiliser as well, so cut a piece of the same size too.

In general, my go-to size is 4.5” x 9” – ish

Liberty Heart 1

Cut out the heart shape. Fold the denim in half and pin the heart shape in the desired location. I trace around my heart shape with a Frixion pen as I find it easier to cut on the drawn line than around the paper.

Use a rotary cutter on straight line of the heart to start the cutting. This makes it easier to get nice smooth cut-out lines on the denim.

Once the heart is cut out, put it in place it under the denim and then press the stabiliser to the underside. This will hold the Liberty fabric in place.

Liberty Heart 2

Head on over to the sewing machine and change to a foot with an open toe. Sew around the heart, on the denim, close to the edge. Sew slowly, lifting the food and positioning the fabric as you go.

Liberty Heart 3

Once you’ve stitched around the heart twice, gather some perle 8 cotton or some embroidery floss and sew a running stitch around the heart.

Liberty Heart 4

Trim the needle book case if necessary and give it a press.

Fold the lining piece of fabric in half. Centre a piece of batting or felt in the centre and sew it down on this creased line.

Place the outer piece of the needle book  on a flat surace with the right side facing up and then place the lining piece face down over the top.

Liberty Heart 6

Use a 1/4” seam and sew all around the four sides, leaving a 3” gap for turning.

Clip the corners and then turn out the needle book. Use chop stick or the back of a paint brush to push out the corners as best you can.

Fold the open raw edges in and press. Top stitch all the way around the needle book and then admire your work.

Liberty Heart 8


This reverse applique heart is really quite easy to create and can be used in many projects…

Liberty Love Cushion

Liberty Love Cushion Pattern



Candle Mat

Liberty Heart Coaster

Reverse Applique Heart Coaster


Liberty Heart  9

Shot Cotton + Liberty NeedleBook


  1. Luv it! thank you......just need to find some time 😘

  2. Ok, you cut the heart out of the jean material, then you cut a heart out of the print fabric... Place the print fabric behind the heart shaped hole in the denim... then sew around, etc.
    It sounded like you didn't cut the denim... but the pictures looked like you did... just making sure I knew what you were doing.

  3. That looks just beautiful, such a sweet little gift idea. Still looks too tricky for me, but I can admire nonetheless :)


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