This one post will give you all the links you need to get to all of my different posts (and there are a lot of them) about how to applique. I love applique!
First, there are three major applique techniques.
Needle Turn Applique
This is beautiful and soft and lovely – but it’s a hand technique so it’s sloooooow. It’s still doable though! My very first quilt was enormous and full of needle turn applique.
You can see my first quilt here. 🙂
The only tools you need are a washable marker and a needle and thread.
Freezer Paper Applique
This is also beautiful and soft and lovely, but it’s a machine technique so it’s much faster than needle turn.
There are four videos for this technique, because you use different techniques for different shapes. I’m listing them here in order from easiest to hardest.
Those points can be a real bear and lead to burned fingers. 🙁
You’ll need freezer paper. I also think it’s handy to have some spray starch.
Applique with Fusible Adhesive
This is my favorite way to applique! It’s fast, fun, easy, and durable.
If you want to give this method a try, I recommend signing up for Let’s Make a Quilt!
It’s a free online video class and you can use any pattern you like as you work through the lessons.
Or you can use the links below to jump to any tutorials you need.
There are lots of different brands of fusible adhesive. My favorite is Heat & Bond. I use the Lite weight for all my quilts. There’s also a super strong version called Ultrahold that is a nice option for tiny eyes and other small pieces you might not want to have to sew.
Speaking of sewing – this post has info about how to stitch around the pieces – especially how to figure out what order to stitch in.
I usually sew around my pieces with a simple straight stitch, but some people prefer to use a zigzag or satin stitch. This video has some tips for zigzag stitching the edges.
I get a lot of questions from people asking how durable the applique is if you just use straight stitching. I answer that here – showing some close-up photos of a quilt that my daughter has been using for some time now. That means it’s been washed and dried a lot. 🙂
You can add fun 3D bits to your applique – ears or tongues that are flappy, hair that dangles, etc. This post has more info.
It’s fun to play with with faux fur – but you can’t use fusible adhesive for that because it will melt the fur. Here’s how to applique a faux fur piece. And here’s how to applique regular fabric (like eyes or a mouth) onto a fur background.
Finally – here’s a fun post about how to turn any drawing, embroidery pattern or clip art into an applique pattern using fusible adhesive. This is such a fun way to use a child’s art!
One more thing! You’ll notice in a lot of the videos that I quilt my blocks first and then add the applique over the quilted block. It’s so easy this way! You can see a gallery of my favorite designs (with instructions) here.
I hope you have fun trying out some of these techniques! It allows you to achieve certain shapes in your quilts that you just can’t get with piecing. Plus it’s incredibly easy and fun! You can see all of my quilt patterns here and there are some free quilt patterns to play around with here.