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!
Every year (almost) I release a free holiday applique pattern.
Here are the links to the patterns from previous years.
This year I’d like you to meet the Nutcracker!
Now let’s jump right to the instructions!
These instructions assume you’re already familiar with the applique method I use – Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.
If you’re new to my patterns, there’s a detailed video workshop here that takes you step by step through the methods I use. It’s totally free, and you can work your way through the lessons using any pattern you like, including this nutcracker pattern!
Download the template pieces. If you’re using paper-backed fusible adhesive and cutting by hand, use this link to download the PDF. If you’re using an electric cutting machine, use this link to download the SVG. On most computers that link will take you to a preview of the file. You’ll need to click on the down-arrow icon to actually download it to your computer.
If you’e using an electric cutting machine like a Cricut. . .
- Upload the file to your machine.
- Resize if needed. (The small square in the top left corner should be 1 inch.)
- Ungroup the pieces and assign colors.
Trace or print the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible adhesive.
I use Heat & Bond Lite for all my quilts, and I love printable sheets because I’m lazy and hate to trace. 🙂
The image has already been reversed, so just trace or print. If you’re tracing, be sure to trace the lines separating the teeth too. You’ll need those for Step 5.
Whoa! That’s a lot of pieces!
It’s ok – the numbers tell you what’s what and there’s a video showing how to layer them up. 🙂
Roughly cut around each shape and fuse it to the back of your fabric.
Cut around each piece neatly.
This time you’re cutting directly on the solid lines.
Remember back in Step 2 when I told you to make sure you traced the lines for the teeth? Now you’re going to use that. Hold the teeth up to a window so the light shines through it. You’ll be able to see all the dotted lines, and the adhesive will stabilize the fabric so you can trace on it without it crinkling up.
If you’re not using a lightbox (I am in my video), trace all the other dotted lines too using chalk or a pencil. They’ll help you position the pieces.
If you’re doing Quilt As You Go (I did) then you can quilt your block before adding the applique. So easy!
Cut your background fabric and a piece of 100% cotton batting 11 inches square.
Layer the block with a piece of 100% cotton batting. Quilt any pattern you like!
I prefer to quilt my blocks before I applique. These posts show how I do that, along with lots more info. Start with them.
Some people prefer to quilt after they applique. This post features a gallery of lots of quilt patterns with video instructions showing you how to work those patterns around applique you’ve already done. Of course, you can also stitch these designs before you applique.
If you’ll do the quilting later, simply skip this step.
Peel off the paper backing and arrange the pieces on a background block.
Fuse the pieces in place, following the instructions for whatever brand of adhesive you used.
This video has detailed instructions for layering all those pieces and also shows the finished block.
Outline all the pieces with black thread and a simple straight stitch – or choose your favorite decorative stitch.
This video has some tips for outlining those tight curves.
I like going around all the pieces three times for a sketchy, scribbly look. This post has some tips for that.
This post has tips for using decorative stitching.
This post has some information about outlining using thicker thread.
Do you like those little specks of light in his eyes? This post shows you three ways to add those catchlights.
If you’re making a one-block project, go ahead and finish it up!
If you’re making a bunch of nutcracker blocks to join into a quilt - maybe adding them to the other free Christmas blocks – have fun!
This post has details about lots of different layouts that work well with my patterns.
This video shows how to trim your finished quilt blocks.
This video shows how to sew your blocks together using the QAYG method I use.
This post has tips for quilting on a cuddle fleece back.
And this video shows how to bind your quilt.
What can you do with just one block pattern? Tons of things!
I have lots of free patterns that you can use with any applique patterns – stockings, tote bags, placemats and more! Find all the free patterns here.
Have fun! And share a photo of what you make! You can share it in the Shiny Happy People group or tag it with #shinyhappyworld on Instagram.
If you like this free pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News!