Valentina Quilt - For My Most Precious Fabric

When we think of EPP, we can often get stuck on the amazingly intricate designs out there with their creative use of fabric. This quilt wasn't that. Valentina is a beautiful, simple quilt with large shapes, that was the perfect pattern for collecting some precious, old, favourite prints and turning them into a quilt for my family.

valentina quilt closeup

I Found Fabric I Loved

Many years ago, when my babies were babies, and we rented a tiny miner's cottage in Newcastle NSW, I felt lost. I had just had my second baby, just finished my Bachelor of Arts, and desperately wanted to do something with my life that wasn't me stuck at home with tears and vomit and poo. I loved my babies, I just hated not having a goal or a life outside of my home or nearly enough adult conversation. 

In a tiny act of kindness that changed the whole trajectory of my future, my dear friend Lucy sent me a text with a link, introducing me to the beautiful fabrics of Anna Maria Horner and her old blog. "Aren't these stunning??" she wrote. Lucy and I had lived together a few years earlier and developed an interest in patchwork and fabric that hadn't quite made it into quilts yet. We had started collecting fabric and buying tools and following blogs back when blogs were the only thing to follow, but we were kind of stymied by the fabric sold in local quilt shops. I loved the quilts I saw online, but I couldn't figure out how to get the same look with the fabric I could buy down the road. I started reading Anna Maria's blog with deep longing. 

A couple of months later, Lucy sent me a photo. She had found some beautiful AMH fabric on Etsy in America, ordered it, and it had arrived! We had never, ever ordered anything from overseas before, and I was struck by her willingness to try. I immediately hopped on Etsy and started adding things to my cart.  

valentina quilt showing corner
closeup of binding and backing

Fabric That Felt Like Home

Among the fabric I bought during those early years of patchwork were these Anna Maria Horner flannels and voiles from her Little Folks Collection. They are sweet and soft and playful and beautiful and bright, and I loved them. I made several patchwork quilts, kids clothes, whole cloth quilts, and curtains out of the collection and kept all the scraps. This yellow backing I've used in my Valentina quilt became my kitchen curtains, which then followed me from house to house as we moved. They were always the thing to make the next place feel like home. 

In our current house, though, they've been packed away, no window the right size, and every time I've come across them, I've longed to have them out and loved. 

valentina quilt on chair

Making a 'Memory' Quilt

And so, when I updated my Hexie Handbook and in it, my Valentina quilt, I decided that this would be the perfect time to use up my precious flannel scraps and sew up my old voile curtains into a backing.

I bought Emily Dennis' flannel bundle to bring some plaids into the mix, and sewed a plaid print and a Little Folks print into each hexagon. I was hoping that the touching plaids and florals would result in a happy spread of arrows moving across the quilt, but that pattern isn't so obvious. I think I would need to use high and low volume prints, or set out all the pieces before sewing it together so that the touching parts of the arrow matched. In any case, the quilt hasn't been hung on a wall in our house to admire from afar, but draped over the couch, sweet pops of yellow backing visible, the oh, so soft flannel just asking to be touched. And, for that purpose, the pattern works just fine.

angled shot of valentina
closeup of valentina quilt

English Paper Piecing with Flannel Fabric

I really love English paper piecing with flannel. It's surprisingly easy to work with. The thick, soft fabric folds beautifully over the paper while basting, holds to the glued paper without fuss, and then provides a thick fold to stitch through easily without hitting the paper template. And, it feels REALLY nice in your hands as you do.

This top sat for so long, waiting for edges and half blocks because I needed to lay it out and work the design 'off the page', so to speak. It's always the part that gets put off because it requires a clear surface and headspace and remembering where I packed the flannel scraps away. I made all the half blocks incorrectly and had to unpick them and re-sew them! Once it was done, however, it felt so good to bring out my beautiful voile curtains and sew them together into a backing. 

I decided to hand quilt this one, because voile and flannel is such a lovely, buttery combination to stitch through. I used a bright yellow Perle 8 to match the back.

full shot of valentina quilt

A Quilted Souvenir

I've never been a very nostalgic person. I haven't kept much from when my kids were little, and I didn't keep books with locks of hair or first words or early drawings. But, I'm so thankful I kept these flannel scraps and kitchen curtains. This quilt is my souvenir from a time when I was still so unknown to myself, when so much was yet to be figured out, when the daily grind of caring for babies felt like going in circles. It's a reminder that in those times, beauty really matters, sparks something in us, and makes us feel like home.

backing of valentina quilt

Make a Quilt That Feels Like Home

Do you have fabrics longing to be made into a beautiful, nostalgic quilt? Valentina quilt is a quick and easy EPP pattern from my Hexie Handbook that creates gentle movement and interest through the arrangement of the half hexagons, but mostly allows the fabrics to do the talking. Find the Hexie Handbook and the Valentina EPP kit below!


  • Marion

    Jodie, I live in East Maitland, Hunter Valley, you would know this place.
    Yes I remember those days when I was starved of information about patchwork locally.
    I do love your quilt and Yes I now use larger pieces.

  • Tales of Cloth

    Hi Pattie,

    Thanks so much for your kind comment! Many of my flannel scraps were from when I made children’s clothes, so those were likely prewashed in the past. But, I don’t generally prewash now!

  • Tales of Cloth

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for your kind comment! I did use batting, and it’s buttery soft!

  • Freda Allen

    Love your Valentine Quilt, so comforting 😊

  • Kathleen

    I loved reading this post. Such a meaningful and beautiful quilt. It must be wonderful to cuddle with :o)
    Since you used flannel on the front, did you need to use a batting?

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