Designing a Quilt Using Appliqué

Appliqué is the method of “decorating a fabric surface”. It is the process of attaching, generally by sewing, shaped fabric onto another. Appliqué can be a very technically difficult process, so if you are a beginner it is a good idea to first start by trying simpler designs with straight lines and gentle curves.

There are a number of different appliqué methods available to quilters:

Firstly, you can use the basic hand method, where you pin and baste appliqué shapes to foundation fabrics and if required, you can overlap multiple pieces. Appliqué shapes are cut out with a seam allowance and then generally pressed into shape so they hold without help or with only a few pins. Then draw the shape onto your main fabric and start sewing. The quilter uses the point of the needle to catch the folded threads of fabric shape and a few threads of the foundation fabric to form the bond.

Another technique is the fusible adhesive method, where you cut a piece of fusible adhesive out that is the same size and shape as your chosen one. You then place the adhesive lining in between the fabric shape and the base fabric, and then iron. Quilters can finish the appliqué by hand, machine or even craft glue if so desired. Please note this method while much faster and easier than the basic hand method, however it will not look as good or achieve the same authentic effect.

Check out our section on appliqué quilt patterns for help on incorporating appliqué in your own quilts.

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