You’ve Got Mail – Layer Cake Friendly Quilt Project

Hi, I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Take a look at this great quilt behind me. This is an awesome quilt. I love the look of it and love the layout. This is the envelope block right here. It’s a half-square triangle quilt and it’s so easy and we are going to show you how to do that.

The fun thing about this quilt is that we’re calling it “you’ve got mail” because it’s all based on these envelopes and we all love to have that mail. As much as email and all that improves our lives and speeds things up, when you get that handwritten mail in your hand it just means something, it’s really special. When I was a little girl my mom would save all of the cards and letters she got, and she put them all in a basket and she called it her basket of love. And just love that idea, and periodically I get letters from you guys and I’ve done the same thing. I have my own basket of love and you know if you are having a rough day you just get some of those out and read them and it cheers you right up.

So to make this quilt I use two layer-cakes. One is a solid background and then the other one I used was Tim Holtz’s new fabric called Eclectic Elements and it’s by Coats, and I love this fabric. Look at the clocks and the tape measurers and the letters. I just love this kind of fabric it’s so cute. And then we also did a piano key border around it and I used two charm packs for that and basically you just cut them in half, mix them up and you sew long sides together and make a long strip for your borders. And I’m going to do a tutorial on some border ideas soon so keep a watch for that, but this quilt is going to be queen size when it’s done. When you put two layer-cakes together it makes a queen size quilt.

So the block we are using is called the envelope block, and it is made using half-square triangles, and how I make my half-square triangles is I sew all the way around the outside edge, just completely around and then I cut it diagonally both sides.

So lets take these two pieces, I have two layer-cakes here. I have my background and my printed one, and I’m putting them right sides together and I’m just going to sew all the way around this. So here we go. This is such a fast way to make half-square triangles, I love it. Now you can stop at a quarter of an inch or you can sew right off the edge. So now we have sewed this all around the outside edge and we just need to cut it diagonally both directions. So I lay my ruler on the opposite corners diagonally across the block, and we’re going to make a cut there. And then we are going to come here and do the same thing on the other side. This is going to give you four half-square triangles right off the bat.

So then we are going to iron these open, just like this. I keep my darker fabric to the top, and then you can just set your seam and roll it back. I can’t get those apart. There we go. And then I got one more over here. There we are. And for the envelope block what you are going to need is three of these and then you’re going to bring in one more for the other block. So what I have here is three of these blue ones right here and you can see the envelope. And then I am going to bring in this one. And I put it in what’s going to look backwards for the time being and so it’s going to stick up at the top like that like and open flap.

So what we are going to do is sew two of these together like this and get that right there together. And I’m going to stretch this down here and make this fit perfect. And then we’re going to iron this open. And then we are going to bring it over here, and you can see I’ve already sewn these two right here together. And this makes the base of the envelope block.

And then we’re going to join these two rows. And basically its just like putting a four-patch together there’s that one seam in the middle we have to match and I’m going to put a pin right in there so I can just whiz down that seam, I’ve made sure those seams are nested right nicely together. And then we are going to go over to the machine and sew this row. There we go. Here we go. Okay so now we just need to press this open.

And the trick really for this is in the layout. It makes a, it just is a quick and easy layout and I’ll show you how to do that. So just to recap when you make this block you are going to use three of these from one block, that’s going to make your envelope, right like this, and then you’re going to bring in a lid and set that in backwards. I just wanted to make sure you got that because it’s really important to the layout of the quilt so the block looks right.

And so now we are just going to lay them out, and we’re going to put them together. The only thing you need to make sure of when you’re laying these out is that they are all pointing the same direction. You don’t want the renegade letter going off to the side. So then what we have, we’re just going to put them together in rows like this and add our second row and just keep adding them on and putting them forward. So I hope you enjoyed this tutorial today on the envelope quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

posted: All, Basic Skills & Techniques, Beginner Quilting Tutorials, Browse by Skill Level, Common Quilting Techniques, Header Featured, Intermediate Quilting Tutorials, Layer Cakes, Product Demos | tagged: , , , , , ,
Have you used this tutorial to make something cool!?
Send it in to us and share it with the world!
  • Meg in Colorado

    Jenny, I love the You’ve Got Mail quilt. I would like to make it someday and may buy that beautiful fabric to keep me motivated. I am a beginning quilter and get so many great ideas from your tutorials. Thanks!

  • KareninVA

    What are the advantages of sewing all the way around the squares to make 1/2 square triangles vs. marking lines down the middles of the squares in both directions and sewing 1/4 inches from the lines and cutting them apart? Does your way keep them from stretching? Also, what math do you use to do the squares your way? Like the ease of making them your way. Great tutorial! Thank you.

    • BeckyMSQC

      Hey Karenin- The biggest advantage to doing the way Jenny teaches is the time and ease of it. The less measuring and cutting we have to do is the faster we can get a quilt top done. The squares already give us pattern so there is no need to do any furthering measuring.

      This is a link that will help you out with the math on the HQT.

  • Vaunda

    Is squaring up a 9 patch the same as other squares.

  • Jane Baier

    How many Layer Cakes does it take to make a King Size quilt? Maybe you could include yardage requirements in your transcripts, so we would quit bugging you about this subject…
    Thanks, Jane

    • J Hack

      I have the same question: how many layer cakes and charm packs would it take to make a king quilt in the “you’ve got mail” design?

  • Carolyn

    Love all of your tutorials. For this quilt how many across and down. If I purchase 3 layer cakes and 3 charm packs would that get me a king size?

  • Gayle Peterson

    Like to find the pattern. Like to make it

  • quiltnewbie

    Jenny, you say to put them all going the same direction but it seems that the envelope flaps are actually back to back and not going all the same way or does it just dome out like that?

  • Deborah Waldin

    Hi! I am a huge fan of both Missouri Star Quilt Co. and pre-cuts! With the exception of one thing: the pinked edge! I notice in a lot of your tutorials that the pinked edge is not on your charm packs! Do you cut the edge off? Can we get the packs without the pinked edge? I think it hurts my 1/4″ seam! I think a straight edge is much better! Your thoughts and comments?

    • Jenny

      I love the pinked edge…lots of times when I shoot a tutorial I just cut the charm out of fabric….but don’t stress over the pinked edge…consistency is more important than perfection….




    How many layers and charms to make a QUEEN? RSVP

  • suewes

    Sorry of this is a duplicate post…has anyone done this with sashing between the blocks? I would like to machine quilt it myself and would use qayg method to join…thoughts? Pictures? Thanks

  • Carolyn

    I am going to make this quilt but I wanted to find out how much yardage I need for the backing and how much for the binding?

  • Ellen

    I have the same question about the king size! Please post an answer, times a wasting!

  • Ellen

    I know you stated that you need 2 Layer cakes. My question is how many pieces of material is in a layer cake. I saw some that had 20 and some had 42. I want to make a king size and am struggling with amounts needed. Thanks for your help! Love all the tutorials you make!

  • Julie C Vowler

    I like your You Got Mail quilt. Am I able to buy the beautiful fabrics you used in the tutorials if so where can I get it.
    Thanks Julie