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Applique Quilting


Applique quilting is a way of bringing complicated designs into your quilt with ease.

This method of design has an overlay effect that can be breath taking.  A tight zigzag stitch is used to sew the top layer around the edges to the bottom layer.

Sometimes the layering can become frustrating for beginners.  It was for me.

We’ll give you the steps and tips to keep this technique a cinch.

Find the Design

If you have never done appliqué work before, it is best to stick to something simple until you feel confident to try something harder. 

Sometimes finding a pattern to practice with can be a bear.  That is why we came up with this one.

Here is an easy design to begin with.  The appliquéd piece is the heart and the back ground piece is a solid square.

We’re going to work with this design in mind to give you the simple steps on how to use this technique.

Keep in mind that the steps can be used with any design that you pick.  Our example will be working with this one though.

The Template

Make your template.  This is best done by using the clear sheets of plastic for templates.  The name for it is Quilter’s Plastic Template. 

These sheets can be cut into any design you need.  Draw the design onto the plastic and use scissors to cut it out.

Form here, the template is used to trace the shape onto your fabric, interfacing, or freezer paper so you can cut out the appliqué pieces you need.

Ways to Appliqué

There are several ways to support fabric for applique quilting.

Two ways that we recommend are:

1.    Fusible interfacing

2.    Freezer paper

All methods require the ¼” seam allowance.

We only recommend fusible interfacing if you are going to sew the applique piece by hand.  This is because it can be so sticky that it will ruin your needle.  It’s less costly to replace a hand needle than it is to replace one for your sewing machine.

We’ve also had negative experiences using fusible interfacing with applique quilting.

With that said, freezer paper wins the contest for using your machine.

There are a couple of methods for appliquéing with freezer paper. These methods all require a dry iron.

First method:

Trace your template shape on the dull side of the freezer paper.  Cut out these out by cutting along the line you traced.

Place the freezer paper shape shiny side kissing the right side of the fabric.  Press them with a dry iron.

Now cut your fabric ¼” away from the freezer paper.  This will give you the ¼” seam allowance.

As you stitch your appliqué pieces into place, fold under the ¼” seam allowance.  Use the freezer paper as your guide and remove when done.

Second method:

Trace the template shape on the dull side of the freezer paper and cut, just like the other method.

This time place the freezer paper against the wrong side of the fabric.  Press them together with a dry iron.

Cut the fabric leaving the ¼” seam allowance around the freezer paper.

While using the heat from your own finger tips fold the seam allowance toward the wrong side of the fabric against the freezer paper.


Using the heat from your fingers is called finger-pressing.

When folding the allowance over curves or points you may have to cut a little notch in the seam allowance to make sure the allowance lays flat.

Baste into place with pins and sew.

Finish by:

Either remove the freezer paper with tweezers before the stitching is completed for each applique piece


Finish sewing and cut the back out under the applique to remove the freezer paper.

Wrap Up

This is how applique quilting will allow you to make complicated pieces for your quilt top.  Once you have the basic skills down, no design will be impossible.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

Color Block Quilts

› Appliqué Quilting
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