Home Is Where The Heart Is: The Churn Dash Tutorial

I was invited to take part in a quilt project in 2017, with the theme "Home is Where the Heart is". So I had to have one of my favourite applique shapes included - the heart, applied to a simple and traditional technique - the Churn Dash.

I hope you love the block and enjoy learning my method of needleturn applique, if you haven't seen or tried it before.

Happy Stitching!

hugs from Helen


Trace or print the heart templates onto the dull side of a sheet of Hugs ‘n Kisses applique paper. Cut out smoothly on the drawn lines.

Fuse the heart shapes onto the wrong side of your fabric and leave a 1/4” seam allowance on all sides (use a dry hot iron and a quick press to melt the glue - the shiny side). 

Cut out leaving that small 1/4” or large 1/8” seam allowance with a nice, sharp scissors (I only use Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors - love them!) 

Clip into that inner point at the top of each heart - no need to clip the outer curves. 

Using a Sewline Glue pen (or a similar fabric glue pen) run a line of glue along the edge of the paper – close to the edge, no wider than the seam allowance but not on the fabric. Just do  a small part at a time. 

Fold the seam allowance up until you feel the edge of the paper and then press down onto the glue. Watch the video demonstration or check out my YouTube channel videos for more assistance. 

 Prepare all applique hearts and put in a safe place. 

Churn Dash:

From colour 1 fabric cut:

two squares 3 7/8" x 3 7/8"

one square 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"

four rectangles 2" x 3 1/2"

From colour 2 (blue) fabric cut:

two squares 3 7/8" x 3 7/8"

four rectangles 2" x 3 1/2"

(see that blue square bottom left? – well you don’t actually need that one – do as I say, not as
I did)


I like to use my very useful Clearly Perfect Angles Tool, which is always stuck to my faithful machine bed. It saves me marking any pencil markings on fabrics.

So all photos below show this technique. If you don’t have one, you will need to mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of both Colour 1 3 7/8” fabric squares.

So place a colour 1 and colour 2 3 7/8” fabric square right sides together, with all edges nice and even. Place under your presser foot with the squares lined up with a diagonal line.

And the points lined up with the left of the grey line. This means you will be stitching 1/4” away from the centre (or drawn line).

As you let the squares feed through, just keep that end point following along the left of the grey line.

Chain piece both units through. Then turn around and stitch back the other direction (so you have stitched 1/4” either side of the centre line).

Using a  ruler and a rotary cutter, slice apart from point to point between the two rows of stitching.

Press to set the seams and then press them open, taking care not to skew the bias seam. Press perpendicular to the seam and you will be fine.

Join each pair of 2” x 3 1/2” rectangles on one long edge. Make four. Press open.

Layout all pieces into a nine patch. Join together in rows.

Press the top and bottom rows with seams inwards. Press the middle row with seams outwards.

Then the seam will butt together nicely to join your three rows together with nicely matched seams.

Press seams up and down so points are flat.

Now, to position and secure our applique hearts you prepared earlier.

Use your eye to position evenly in the centre.

For this next step, I like to use Roxanne's basting glue.

Carefully lift up the edges of your pieces and put small dots of glue in from the edges to secure. I like to press with an iron then to really set the glue. You can do the whole block at once and it will hold for stitching.

Then we applique into place. If doing this by hand, I use a Hugs ‘n Kisses applique needle and a Superior bottomline thread (a 60wt poly – strong but fine).

Today I have appliqued mine by machine. I use a Superior Monopoly thread and a blind hem stitch. You can see full tutorials of this (and the hand version) on my YouTube channel.

Or watch this little video I did with one hand whilst stitching.

And tada! Your block is complete. ‘The Heart of the home’… or in this case, 4 hearts. 

Fabrics used were from the Basically Hugs and Basically Low ranges by Helen Stubbings for Red Rooster fabrics.

Applique paper is available from your local stores or here.