Easy Eye Options for Applique

applique brown puppy with a spot on one eye

Want to learn how to make a quilt with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Let’s Make a Quilt here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make a quilt from start to finish using Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.

It’s the easiest, most fun way to make an applique quilt. You can do it!

The eyes are definitely the trickiest part of any of my applique patterns, but I have several posts that show you easy ways to deal with them!

Applique

I usually applique my eyes using solid black fabric. I like the look of it, and (after some practice) I don’t think it’s too tricky to outline those eyes. Plus I use black thread on black fabric so if my line gets wonky, nobody really sees it. 🙂

applique smiling sloth face in peach on a green quilted background

For tips on outlining those small eyes, watch this video.

If you want to applique the eyes but you don’t want to do the outline stitching, use this super-strong fusible adhesive.

Heat & Bond Ultrahold

It’s too stiff for the main applique, but you’ll never notice the stiffness on such small pieces as the eyes.

Machine Embroidery

I’ve got two different posts showing how you can embroider eye shapes by machine.

applique doll head and shoulders with close-up of her face

This one shows a “cheater” way to do it using a regular sewing machine. It only works for small eyes, like those on the Paper Dolls and Dinosaurs quilt patterns.

close up of blond paper doll applique from waist up

This post includes a file for embroidery machines to embroider eyes in a wide range of sizes.

Hand Embroidery

Of course, you can also embroider the eyes by hand. If you go with that option I recommend using satin stitch for larger eyes.

partially satin stitched heart showing needle and thread

Here’s a tutorial showing how.

For smaller eyes, I recommend this stitch.

needle and thread embroidering an eye

It gives a nice, rounded oval.

Markers or Paint

You don’t have to sew the eyes at all! You can use fabric markers or fabric paint for them!

detail of dinosaur head with shiny black eye

I tested a bunch of different markers and paints and in this post I shared my favorites.

See? Lots and lots of options for those pesky eyes. 🙂

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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