An introduction to Applique Quilting

Applique is a method known among all quilters, so lets take a closer look at applique quilting, it’s history and usage. Applique is a really decorative medium that allows your artistic skills full scope. Its a lovely way to incorporate personal, or any detail really, and its possible to do something really very simple, or really very complex and highly worked.

applique quilting

American Applique Quilting Style

Some of the very popular American styles are called Sun Bonnet Sue, Basically, they consist of a bonnet, a triangular shaped dress with curved bottom hem, an arm, and a foot and of course any ancillary figures you like umbrella, duck, dog, kitten, etc.

You can use any mix of fabrics for this style of applique quilting, and you can decorate the fabrics with stitching for details, like buttons, shoe laces, dress or bonnet trims etc.

These are wonderful for bed covers and wall hangings in little girls bedrooms, cot covers, bed covers etc.

How To Use Applique in Quilting

There are lots of ways of doing applique quilting, and they are all correct! The only wrong way, is a way you don’t feel comfortable with.

You can create your whole figure first and then either tuck in the edges as you go a toothpick or large darning needle both work well and use whichever stitch you prefer. On some pieces, blanket stitch will look just right, and on others you wont want to see any stitching so you can use a hemming catch stitch or running stitch.

Applique quilting is a great way to make smaller wall hangings, where you want to create a picture. Lets say you want to have some simple flowers on a relatively plain background. Choose the fabrics you want, whether they are contrasting or complementary, and draw out your design. Decide whether you want any embroidery, or whether you want to create a mix of fabric as the back ground. Then create your Applique pieces, padded and backed if required, but not if you prefer not, and then secure them to your background quilt.

Use Applique For Quilting and Beyond

Of course you can use applique on all sorts of things, and not just on quilts.

And you can buy ready made motifs if you wish, and use these to decorate plain quilts, or even to hide any damage. There are lots of quilting patterns available on the internet or in mail order catalogs.

You can mix and match with applique and collage so some pieces are invisibly stitched and others can be clearly in relief, with edges, trailing ribbons, whatever works with your design.

The main thing is not to be scared of having a go. You can assemble most of your applique or collage before fixing to your quilt its great fun and really not difficult.

Using painted or batik colored fabric for quilts is great fun too.

Another great way of incorporating your individual ideas and designs into quilts is to use fabric that you have hand painted or treated in the batik style. You can use the color lines as stitching lines, or combine stitch patterns with color lines as you wish.

Trawl the internet, visit your local craft museums, look at paintings or designs anywhere and everywhere.

You will find hundreds of thousands of ideas about what you might like your quilts to look like or ideas that help you create your own unique design.

You can use paint, ribbon, all sorts of dress making or furnishing store items, motifs, embroidery pieces embroidery faces even, absolutely anything.

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