SWAK Block
the BETTER directions!

by Shelley Rodgers, Walnut Creek, CA

email: pirate_sr@hotmail.com

There is a popular quilt, called the "Sealed With a Kiss (SWAK) Envelope Quilt", whose blocks are cute little envelopes made from fabric. Each envelope is exactly like a paper envelope, suitable for tucking treasures inside for a child to find. This quilt was designed by Nancy Smith & Lynda Milligan and is featured in their book, Hearts Aplenty. Their quilt was featured on Simply Quilts, episode QLT-732. Here's a link to the Simply Quilts episode. Nancy & Lynda's website is at www.possibilitiesquilt.com.

I used the directions on the HGTV wedpage to make a SWAK envelope block, so I could see how it went together. After slogging through the wegpage, I came to the conclusion that whoever put together these directions ought to be taken outside and stitched-in-the-ditch as punishment! Maybe you really needed to see the television show to understand the written instructions and the less-than-helpful pictures, but I had not seen the program. To my mind, they have got to be the worst directions I've ever read. I decided to re-write them for myself in a more comprehensible format, should I ever want to make their SWAK envelope quilt in the future.

Here is my version of how the SWAK block should be put together. All the steps are essentially the same as on the HGTV webpage, but I have written more complete directions and much more informative pictures to accompany the text.

The end result is exactly like the block on the HGTV page and you need to refer to that page for further directions on how to use the blocks to create the quilt.

SWAK envelope block
the BETTER directions!

Photo for illustrationDirections
Preparation.
You will need four pieces of fabric:
  • one piece for the back of the envelope: 5" x 7"
  • two pieces for the sides of the envelope: each a 5-1/2" square. These may be the same fabric or different.
  • one piece of fabric for the flap: 3-3/4" x 7"
In this picture, I have used contrasting fabrics for all four pieces, just so you can see exactly where each piece goes. The dark purple is the back, the pink and light purple are the sides and the floral stripe is the flap.
Step 1.
Take the two side pieces and fold them in half diagonally, wrong sides together. Press them flat.

Take one side piece and match up the square corner with a lower corner of the back piece. Take the other side piece and match its square corner with the remaining lower corner of the back piece. The points of the two side pieces will extend beyond the top of the back piece. At this point, the two side pieces are just laying on top of the back piece.

Slip a thin piece of cardboard, paper (or anything that will separate the two side pieces from the back) in between the two side pieces and the back. (This is not in the photograph) Pin the two side pieces together where they overlap but do not catch the back piece!

The purpose of this step is to use the back piece as a finished size reference for how far apart the side pieces need to be. What is very clever about using a folded square is that the folded edge is the finished edge of the side piece; no seam is necessary, so there is no unnecessary bulk. Nancy and Linda sure outdid themselves with this technique!

Step 2.
Remove the two pinned side pieces from the back piece. You should be able to simply lift them up as a unit. Top stitch close to the folded edge of each side piece. In the photo, I have used contrasting thread so you can see exactly what needs to be done. In reality, you might want to hand-stitch the folds down, use matching thread to top-stitch or perhaps a decorative machine stitch.
Step 3.
Take the stitched side piece unit and put it back on top of the back piece. Using a very narrow seam allowance (about 1/8" from the edge), sew the side pieces to the back along the two sides and bottom edge.

Again, I have used contrasting thread so you can see this step clearly. Now you are going to ignore this unit for a while.

Step 4.
Take the flap piece and fold it half crosswise, right sides together. You will end up with a 3-1/2" x 3-3/4" rectangle. Stitch one of the shorter edges (one of the 3-1/2" edges). Backstitch at both ends.

In this photograph, I've used black thread for this seam, so you can see it. In reality, you will be using matching color thread. Clip both corners.

Step 5.
This the trickiest step to describe in words, but exceeding easy to do. Turn the flap piece right side out. GENTLY poke out the corners (I use a rounded end knitting needle). Open up the piece and fold it crosswise so the seam line is vertically in the center of the piece. Press flat.

In the photograph, the seam line goes vertically from the apex of the triangle (at the bottom of the picture) to the raw edge of the fabric (at the top of the picture).

Step 6.
Take the flap piece and pin it to the top of the back/side unit piece, aligning the raw edges. Sew a very narrow seam (about 1/8" inch from the edge) to secure the flap to the back/side unit.

In this photograph, I've used a contrasting thread so you can see the seam line across the top of the block. In reality, you would want to use a matching color thread.

The block is now FINISHED! Woo Hoo!

The photograph shows the closed finished block. In the quilt, sashing is sewn to all sides of the finished block.

If you want, you can make a buttonhole in the point of the flap and sew a button at an appropriate place directly beneath the buttonhole, making sure you sew the button only to the side pieces! Alternatly, a decorative snap, velcro dot or other closure may be used. I have not put any sort of closure on this block.

Step 7.
This shows the finished block (without sashing) with the flap opened up. You can now put any small item inside the envelope and close the flap to keep it inside.
LINK to Pirate's Quilting Home Page

Feedback, comments, etc can be sent to Shelley Rodgers at pirate_sr@hotmail.com.