Add a Little Cheer with an Appliqued Mantel Cover by Sandy Fitzpatrick of Hissy Fitz Designs.
It’s a hustling, bustling time of year and sometimes we just need a little reminder to take it easy and relax. I’ve created a free appliqued mantel cover design for you to give your own home a cheerful pop of color. Also, a little reminder to take a deep breath to remind yourself that “…all is calm”. If you don’t have a fireplace, this would also make a great tablerunner.
First you will need to measure the depth and the width of your fireplace mantel, as I’m sure there are many variations here. My mantel is 6½” deep and 74″ wide.
I added an additional 2″ to my width measurement to allow for any “shrinkage” during the applique and quilting process. I also added 14½” to the depth measurement to allow room for the applique designs. So my measurements were 76″ x 21″. Your measurements should be…
Mantel depth __________+ 14½” = Depth measurement ___________
Mantel length__________ + 2″ = Width measurement _____________
Materials to create a mantel cover
- Pattern for applique designs: All Is Calm Pattern
- Background fabric and binding—2¼ yards (if your mantel is longer than 74″ add to this measurement)
- Backing fabric 2¼ yards or if you want to piece the backing instead of cutting it from fabric length, you will need 1½ yards
- Accent flange—1/8 yard
- Contrasting bottom strip—¼ yard
- Letters “…all is calm”—1 fat quarter
- Trees—a variety of green scraps measuring at least 7″ x 7″
- Tree trunks—brown scrap – 6″ x 6″
- Deer—a variety of brown scraps, measuring at least 7″ x 9″
- Star—scrap – 6″ x 7″
- Fusible Web—1½ yards
Cut your background fabric to your required measurement. Fold this piece in half and lightly press a vertical center line to help with your applique alignment. Then fold 6 ½” up from the bottom and lightly press another guideline here. Set this aside for now.
Trace the pattern applique pieces onto your favorite fusible web. Be sure to label each piece and leave at least ½” between each piece.
Roughly cut each of the applique pieces apart and iron to the WRONG side of your chosen fabric piece. If you would like to avoid excess fusible throughout your piece, you may want to trim out the inside fusible area leaving at least ¼” inside the drawn line.
When all pieces have been fused to the wrong side of your fabrics, cut them out on the drawn line. Double check that you have cut out all the pieces.
Create the trees by fusing the top, middle, and bottom pieces together and add the tree trunk. An applique press sheet will help in this process because it will allow you to peel the paper backing off and fuse all four of these pieces together on the applique press sheet and then peel the completed tree off so that it is ready to apply to your background fabric as one unit.
Now that you have all your pieces cut out, remove the paper backing from each piece and press in the appropriate place on your background fabric. This is where the previously pressed guidelines come into place to help with your alignment.
Start with the words, “…all is calm” and line them up so that the tops of the l’s touch the fold line that was pressed 6½” from the bottom of your background fabric. You can see that the vertical center mark will be between the words “is calm”. Fuse the words in place.
Using the photos as a guide, continue to add the trees and deer to each end of your background fabric.
When all of your pieces have been fused in place, you are ready to stitch each piece down. I used the blanket stitch #107 on my BERNINA 380 along with the BERNINA Open embroidery foot #20, which is great for applique because it allows complete visibility of your stitching area.
Once you have all of your pieces stitched in place, it’s time to add the flange strip to the bottom of your background fabric. Cut two strips of fabric 1″ x width of fabric, remove selvedges and stitch together so that you have one long strip of fabric.
I like to add a little spray starch to this strip to give it a little more “body” as I press it in half with the wrong sides together. You will end up with a long skinny strip of fabric that is ½” in width.
Line the raw edge of the flange strip up with the raw edge of the bottom background fabric and stitch with a ¼” seam allowance, I used my BERNINA Patchwork foot #37 here for a perfect measurement.
Now, cut two strips of contrasting fabric for the bottom band measuring 3″ x width of fabric. Remove the selvedges and stitch together to make one long contrasting strip. Lay this strip on top of your previously stitched flange, lining up the raw edges so that the flange is sandwiched between the background fabric and this contrasting strip. Again, stitch with a ¼” seam allowance. Press.
Cut your backing fabric and batting approximately 4″ larger than your finished piece and layer them up as you would a quilt, backing, batting and appliqued piece on top. Pin or hand baste and quilt. Since I love free-motion quilting, I chose to use foot #24, drop my feed dogs, and quilted with a simple breezy looking design.
Finally, when all quilting is complete, re-measure your mantel cover. You may need to trim a small amount off each side to make sure it is the width of your mantel. Square up your mantel cover and add your binding. I stitched my binding to the back of my mantel cover and then folded over to the front and stitched it down by machine using the blanket stitch.
You may notice, in the photo of our fireplace, that there are a couple of books on the mantel. One of our favorite Christmas traditions is reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.
When we were first married, my husband gave me the book on the left for our first Christmas together. It’s a Hallmark pop-up book, which holds so many memories because as our children were born he would read it to them each Christmas Eve and they would take turns moving the pop-up pieces. Even as our three children grew older, they looked forward to this tradition each year. One year my husband was deployed to the desert for Christmas but he planned ahead and recorded the reading on a cassette so that we would still be able to carry on the tradition that year.
Our children are grown now and have children of their own. A few years ago Hallmark came out with another pop-up book, which I bought for each of them, so that they could read this wonderful story to their own children. You can see it in the photo on the right of the mantel. However, they still insist that my husband be the one to read from the original book each year. We are long distance grandparents and don’t always have everyone here for Christmas. So on those occasions, you can find us sitting in front of the computer using Skype or Facetime, in order to keep this tradition alive with our grandchildren as far away as Okinawa or Bangkok.
If you are looking for patterns to add a little whimsy to your life, check out Sandy’s line of patterns at Hissy Fitz Designs.
Our December 16 Gift For You
Today’s gift is a fun black and silver slap watch with measuring tape style wrist band and scissor hands to one awesome WeAllSew fan. All you have to do is post a comment below answering the following question:
Do you have the book “The Night before Christmas in your library”?
A winner will be chosen at random on December 17, 2015 and announced later this week!
Congratulations to our WeAllSew reader “elizabethcook”, the winner of the December 16 gift. Enjoy!