Chenille Heart Table Toppers

Spring? We’re still looking at snow on the ground here in the midwest, so I can’t exactly say that spring is in the air – but Valentine’s day is coming and that does tend to give people a ‘spring’ feeling for a few days.

With that in mind – I thought this might be a good time for a new valentine project. So here it is, and I hope you enjoy it!

Chenille Valentine Table Toppers and Hot Pads

In addition to your sewing machine, you will need:

  • 2 yards of a pink/red plaid homespun fabric
  • 2 yards of a solid pink or red fabric (I used pink)
  • 1 Olfa Chenille Cutter
  • 1 acrylic ruler
  • Erasable fabric marker/pencil
  • Heart Template (I made a free-hand template that measured 13”x 18”)

Cut the solid fabric into two one-yard pieces.

Cut one of the yards of solid fabric in half (so it becomes two pieces, each 45” x 18”), set the other one-yard piece aside to make the bias tape later.

Cut your homespun plaid into 4 pieces, each 45” x 18”.

Layer the fabrics as follows: 2 layers of solid pink, with 4 layers of plaid homespun on top. Remember to keep your right sides up on all these fabrics.

For those who have not read my blog post on dealing with prints when making a chenilled fabric, I suggest checking that post out now: Chenille Baby Blanket.  If you want the plaid to show properly, you need to stack the plaid fabric pieces so the print will match.

Once all fabrics are stacked to your satisfaction, pin the layers in place and using the acrylic ruler, mark your first stitching line for your channels. If you are making your first piece of chenilled fabric, please see this link for more information on stitching channels: Make Your Own Chenille.   Make your channel stitches ½” apart for this project.

Channel Stitches

Channel Stitches

Chenille Cutter

Chenille Cutter

Once all your channels have been stitched, select the foot of your chenille cutter that best fits into the channels (not too tightly or loosely) and cut through the top four layers of fabric in each channel. (In other words, you are only cutting through the four pieces of plaid, not the solid.)

Cut out your two hearts – mine measured 13”x 18”.

You should also have enough fabric to make two potholders – I made mine 8”x 9”, but they can be square if you want.

Using the layer of solid pink that was set aside previously, make a bias-cut seam binding and bind each of the pieces, you may want to leave a loop on the pot holders to hang them.

Finally, wash and dry your projects to allow the chenille to ‘bloom’.

Interested in more about making chenille fabrics?  Check out these posts:

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

FREE Pattern – Chenille Baby Blanket

My gift to you today, a free pattern to make your own chenille baby blanket. (This size blanket can also make a nice couch throw.)

If you have not seen my basic instructions and tips for making your own chenille, please read this post.

Flannel Chenille Baby Blanket – finished size approximately 36” X 42”
Blanket Fabric: Approximately 5 yards of baby flannel
Binding: 1/3 yd Fabric or 175” pre-made binding
Olfa Chenille Cutter

  1. Cut the flannel into 5 pieces, 36” X 42” each
  2. Lay first layer facing down – Layer the next 4 pieces facing up. (In my finished baby blanket I layered the same flower directly on top of each other in the top three layers so after I did the chenille work the flowers would still show. If I had not done this you would only see the colors in the finished piece, not the flower design.)
  3. Pin the layers together, if you feel like your fabrics are going to move around for you.
  4. (Optional) Use a walking foot on your machine.
  5. Channels should be 1/2” – 5/8” wide, so make your stitches that far apart. (For the best finished project, you want all the channels to be the same width, so once you have selected a channel width stay with it.)
  6. Use the chenille cutter and cut through the top 3 layers of the fabrics.
  7. Add the binding
  8. Wash and Dry
  9. ENJOY!

Below are some pictures to illustrate the process a bit better.

This is what the flannel will look like after you have stitched your channels

Olfa Chenille Cutter in action (this image is from a different blanket I am making, not the final one pictured in this post)

The look of the fabric after it “blooms”

A closer look at the “bloomed” fabric

Finished Project!

Just imagine what else you could make with your own, personally designed chenille fabric! Feel free to share any pictures of projects you have made from your own chenille! For more ideas on making and sewing your own chenille fabric, check out these posts:

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Make Your Own Chenille

Following are the very basic instructions on how to make your own Chenille using the Olfa Chenille Cutter. Are there other options for making your own chenille? Yes, but I much prefer the Olfa cutter for it’s simplicity and ease of use.

If you would like more detail on the Olfa Chenille Cutter, please check out this post.

Fabrics – I find that homespun cottons, flannels, and denim all work very well when making chenille. These fabrics are loosely woven and tend to “bloom” very nicely. I also use challis (rayon) and cotton calicos, for these fabrics I make my channel stitching closer together because it doesn’t “bloom” quite as thick as the other fabrics. Another fabric that is fun to chenille is fleece – when you are working

with fleece you only use two layers of fabric, the channels are cut only into the top fabric.

Layers of Fabric — the number of layers used to make the chenille depends on the final project. If both sides of the project will be visible when finished, I leave two fabrics not cut through. The number of layers that I cut through varies based on use of the project, and the fabrics thickness. Some examples are:

  • Flannel Baby Blanket – 5 layers, cut through 3
  • Homespun fabric if rug, hot pads, place mats, etc – 6 layers, cut through 4.
  • Homespun pillow – 5 layers, cut through 4 (because the back of the chenille would be inside the pillow and no one would see)
  • You will need to make variations depending on your projects.

Suggestion – If working with different colors of fabrics, or a patterned fabric to make your chenille, I suggest taking some 6” squares of the fabric you are planning to use. Stitch your channels, cut the top layers, wash, and dry completely – this will give you a test sample of what the finished fabric will look like. It’s always nicer to make adjustments in the test sample then to spend time making a full project and then be disappointed in the final look.

Layering – When layering fabrics, you lay the first fabric facing down and the rest facing up. If the fabric has a pattern you want to be able to notice when the project is chenilled that you will have to layer the fabrics you will cut through so that pattern in the fabric lay exactly on top of each other. If you don’t care about that than you can layer the fabrics at random (but then the sample piece suggested above is almost a must bef

ore creating chenille for the entire project).

Diagram Stitiching – Channels are stitched on the bias. It doesn’t need to be a true bias but it should be close (see image on the right – channels are shown with dotted lines). What I do is draw a line from one corner to the opposite corner and stitch that line. From that point, I usually move my needle on my machine all the way to the left and just use my right edge of my presser foot as a guide to sew the next ch

annel. Continue all the way across the whole project till the whole thing is channel stitched.

Cutting – Find the foot on the Chenille cutter that fits the best (tightest) in the channels you have sewn. Put the foot over the one or two bottom layers you don’t want to cut through. Slide the Chenille cutter through the channel cutting the fabrics above the foot. Continue across your whole project.

Note: Sometimes I find it helpful to take a scissor and snip in 1” through the top layers I will chenille – then when I use the Chenille tool it is easy to get the foot between the right layers. Better safe than sorry! Grin 5

Squaring the Project – After I cut through the layers to chenille I usually square up or trim up the edges. If the project is going to be cut to a shape such as a oval or a jacket front, this is the time to do that.

Binding – If the project is going to have binding I add that at this point. It is much easier to add when the project is still flat. If I am making a jacket, I would now sew it together, again it is easier to work with before you wash and dry to “bloom” the chenille.

“Blooming” – This is where your project comes to life! If you have sewn your channels on the bias you should simply just need to wash and dry your project. I hav

e found that some fabrics need you to do this step twice depending on how tight the weave of the fabric is. When it come out of the dryer your project is ready to enjoy!

You will have so much fun sewing your own chenille. Here are more posts in this series to enjoy:

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing