1857 Album Quilt – Corner Diamonds Applique


I admit I was a bit stressed about the thought of appliqueing all the diamonds in the corners of the 1857 Album Quilt's blocks but with a couple of little tweaks to my technique they're much easier than I imagined. I'm sharing what is working for me and hope it will make things easier for you if you're having trouble.

IMG_5926 My background square is cut 11" square. I cut a 5 1/2" square from template plastic and used a tiny hole punch to make a hole in the corner right on the seam line.

IMG_5927 I mark that corner intersection on all four corners of each block. This give me a reference point for positioning the diamonds.

IMG_5925 I printed the corner diamonds page on a piece of the heavy weight freezer paper. I cut one out thinking I'd iron it on my fabric but found that wasn't necessary. I'm just holding it in place to use it as a template for marking the stitching line.
IMG_6081 I pay close attention when marking the top and bottom tip of the diamond. I want a nice sharp line in those places. In the illustration I've used a black Frixion marking pen. I admit to having mixed feelings about using the pens on fabric but they sure make things easy.
IMG_6090 I cut out the pieces adding just over 1/8" seam allowance. I also cut the tip off the diamonds at both the top and bottom so just over 1/8" extends above the point.
IMG_6086 Before I start to position the diamond I firmly finger press the corner diagonally so I have a guideline for the angle of the diamond. I've decided to have my diamonds start 1/8" in from the corner seam line. I thought that would give me just a little fudge factor in case something doesn't go as planned. I take a straight pin and insert it right into the point of the diamond at the tip and then into the background fabric 1/8" in from the marked corner seam line.

IMG_6087 I then bring the pin up and hold it perpendicular to the surface I'm working on. I can then rotate the diamond piece to line up the opposite point with the finger pressed angle.

IMG_6085 I use three or four applique pins to hold the diamond in position.

IMG_6088 Here's where some of the biggest changes are made. I normally start my applique along a straight edge and hide my starting knot in the seam allowance. Not with this piece! I'm using 60wt. 100% cotton thread and a Hemming Milliner needle - size 10. I begin by folding down the seam allowance on the point right. I bring the needle up from the back and come right through that point. I take one stitch to hold the tip in position against the background. I'm left handed so my stitching will go counter clockwise around the diamond but the techniques are the same. Turn under the seam allowance on the first side and simply stitch along that edge stopping where the seam line changes direction at the side point.

IMG_6089 You should have no problem making the turn at the side point. Just turn under the seam allowance along the next side with your needle and continue stitching.

IMG_6091 As you approach the opposite point of the diamond, turn the top seam allowance down like you did when we started stitching. Use an applique pin to hold the end in position so the tip is right on the finger pressed line of your background fabric.

IMG_6092 Turn the seam allowance under to continue stitching. If you hold it between your fingers for a couple of seconds you'll finger press that seam allowance just enough to keep it where you want it.

IMG_6093 When you get to the tip, take one stitch to hold it against the background fabric.

IMG_6094 Use your needle to swoop the seam allowance under and continue stitching.

IMG_6096 Here's the finished diamond.

I took a few minutes and recorded a video on stitching one of the diamonds. I'll try to get a better one during the week but I don't want you to get so far behind on the diamonds and melons that they overwhelm you in the end. I'll also add this tutorial to the 1857 Album Quilt page so it'll be easy to find later if you need it.

I'm heading to the couch to do a little applique and watch the Daytona 500!

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