Appliqué Quilting by Hand or Machine

Appliqué, the process of sewing one fabric over another surface, lends itself to some dazzling quilts. Through appliqué, you can achieve delicate shape — particularly curves, flowers and organic lines — that would be impossible to re-create through patchwork alone.

Quilt Pattened Like a Record on a Turntable

For instance, I used appliqué to design a turntable quilt for my husband. The large appliqué pieces were fused to the fabric with spray basting pins, and then machine stitched using raw-edge appliqué. You can read more about this design at my blog Lindsay Sews.

If you admire appliqué quilting projects but don’t know where to start, we’ve rounded up some great designs to inspire you.

You can sew them by hand with needle-turn or finish a bit quicker with machine-stitched appliqué. As you can see, the design possibilities range from traditional to whimsical and cutesy to modern.

White Quilt with Colorful Flower Patterns

The free Double Dresden Delight pattern by Happy Quilting offers a modern take on the traditional Dresden Plate quilt block. Now that both the insides and outsides of the ring are pointed, this appliqué quilting design takes on a fresh new look. Follow the pattern or arrange the blocks as you wish for a custom design.

If you’d rather avoid pieced circles in your quilting, applique is the perfect alternative. The Circles! quilt pattern by beaquilter is a fun and simple appliqué quilting pattern made with large blocks. Each circle can be appliquéd by hand or by machine. If you’d like to assemble the quilt top first, you could always finish the quilting and attach the circles in one step.

The Honey Bunny Appliqué quilt pattern by JoAnn Hoffman Designs is made using a fusible raw-edge appliqué technique, though she says it’s also suitable for needle-turned appliqué. This quilt will also help you perfect your bias binding as you finish those round edges of this fun appliqué quilting pattern. Make the quilt Easter-themed by replacing the carrots with Easter eggs, as suggested in the PDF pattern.

The Orange Peel Quilt, blogged about at Told You Sew, was appliquéd by hand using freezer paper as a design tool. Each finished petal can then be stitched onto a base fabric and then the squares are pieced together. This appliqué quilting pattern would look great as a throw pillow or even a larger-size bed quilt.

When one appliqué motif is repeated in each block, you can add interest by varying your fabric colors. The free “Puppy Love” baby quilt pattern by Craftsy member jmann would look so cute in a baby’s nursery. This pattern was designed with hand quilting in mind, although you could also adapt the design to use raw-edge machine appliqué.

Quilt with Three Orange Flowers, Leaves and Buds

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to learning appliqué quilting, check out the class Machine-Finished Hand Appliqué with Beth Ferrier.

This gorgeous student project by Craftsy member Angel66, seen above, has a hand-quilted look, but was actually completed on a sewing machine. She says, “I have arthritis, but love the look of appliqué — this option gave me the look without the pain.”

What do you think about appliqué quilting? Do you prefer the look of needle-turn designs or machine-stitched appliqué?

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2 Responses to “Appliqué Quilting by Hand or Machine”
  1. Deborah M Minger
    Deborah M Minger

    I want to learn needle turn applique, but can’t find a class for that. I love the look of needle turn applique.

  2. Jo Fisher
    Jo Fisher

    I am trying to find several applique blocks sold by Craftsy which I saw on Pinterest. One is titled Blossoms and another Radiant both priced at $8.50. There is a third one which did not have a name but was similar to the other two. It had fewer pieces and had dark rose flowers but also had curly vines and green leaves. I would appreciate any assistance you can give me in order for me to purchase these patterns. As I have a new printer (generously sent to me by my younger son) which I do not have the slightest idea how to use I am wondering if these patterns are download only or are they available in paper form? Many thanks in advance for your assistance with my request, Kindest regards, Jo Fisher