Quilt Patterns

Applique Quilt Patterns

stack of quilts

Learn the Basics of Quilting

Beginner Quilting Lessons

  • Make a Christmas Quilt - In part one of this beginning quilting lesson learn how to cut the fabric and piece the top together. Coming soon, the Santa Claus applique.

Applique quilt patterns are one way that you can add new life to your fabric creations. This is a different type of design and there is a skill set for every level of quilter. If you have been quilting for years or new to the craft all together, applique quilt patterns are a fun and challenging way to spread your quilting wings as you create new images and designs.

Applique derives from the French and it means that you are layering different pieces of fabric over another and sewing them into place. The art of applique quilt patterns gives a quilter a new realm to experiment their patterns in as they move away from simply putting thread to a needle.

The internet is a great resource for those searching for applique quilt patterns to try. They can be used on a variety of objects including quilts, bedspreads, comforters, vests, dresses and even pillows. By cutting out shapes of fabric and placing them onto a different piece of fabric, you can create design blocks that will amaze even the most doubting of quilt admirers.

Basics of Applique

Quilters who use the applique technique may simply be trying to expand their artistic realm. It is also a great way to use your personal story and turn it into something that can last longer than you can, so future generations will have a connection.

One of the pieces of fabric you sew onto another could be your athletic jersey, your wedding gown or even your baby blanket. Applique quilt patterns really give you the leeway to use whatever you would like to make your bedspread or comforter.

The quiltmaking traditions of using applique quilt patterns are not specific to North America, but instead come from the shores of Europe and African traditions. Historians have seen the use of the applique method on several European and African crafts and upholsteries, making this technique not only quilt applicable.

However, through the years that quilters have been using this style, applique quilt patterns have become more mainstream in the states than it has anywhere else around the world. Most notably the use of floral images in the applique patterns seems to happen in the United States more often than not.

One of the really handy things about applique quilt patterns is that they can be used to hide mistakes or damages. By sewing fabric onto the quilt itself, then you are adding another level of quality to your artwork. You can even mix and match the patterns and create a collage of sorts for your comforter, pillow or wall hanging. Most quilters will accent this type of design with edges, dressmaking, embroidery pieces or ribbons.

Pattern Types

Like every other type of designs available to quilters, the applique quilt patterns come in a variety. The first thing you need to think about is what you are trying to create. The design you will choose for a little boy's comforter for example may be different from the one you are creating for your local arts and craft show. Picking a design or overall theme is going to help you find the best applique quilt patterns to help you achieve that goal.

Types of designs or patterns that you can choose for your quilt or bedspread:

  • Flower Blocks
  • Peacock
  • Snowflakes
  • Clover
  • Heart
  • Holiday themes (Christmas tree, pumpkins, Easter eggs)

One of the most popular styles for applique quilt patterns is called sunbonnets. These patterns include a triangle shaped dress with a curve at the bottom. Then the arm, food and accent figure like a dog or umbrella is added. It is always exciting to see how these images look with different types of fabric so do not be afraid to grab those old shoelaces or buttons to bring a new touch to this design.

The flower basket is another popular option for applique quilt patterns that a quiltmaker may want to use. This can be very colorful and dynamic depending on the quilters' preference. An option with a flower basket is to use four separate patterns and create a 12-block set that will add variety, yet familiarity with your overall applique quilt design.

For those beginning in quiltmaking, you may not want to get to intricate with your applique patterns, but instead choose bigger shapes and images like a heart for your designs. You can even find designs and patterns around the house, town or anywhere else that stimulates you. Take your fabric and trace the image by using freezer paper. Many quilters like using freezing paper. It is readily available, cheap and not too thick to work with.

Creating your own designs with applique may be easier than other design forms including block, rows and stars. If drawing is a strong suit for you, you could draw your own image onto fabric and use that in your quilt.

It's about Technique and Fabric

After you have your design and an overall idea for your pillow, comforter or piece of clothing then you have to start to prepare your fabric. To keep the raw edges from being exposed you will want to attach your applique quilt patterns to the overall piece of fabric itself. The choice of fabric should be suitable to the type of fabric your image is, so make sure that you are using something that will make your quilt stronger.

There is no one specific technique for quilters wanting to try their needle at applique quilt patterns. In fact, most quilters are changing up traditional ways and creating their own system for their patterns. You can do that with any type of quilting method. With applique, you can use your hands or do it via machine. The choice is up to you.

Methods to apply your applique quilt patterns include:

  • Hand basting
  • Freezer paper
  • Blind stitch
  • Buttonhole stitch
  • Reverse
  • Broderie Perse

Hand basting is using a piece of cardboard to trace the design onto the fabric and then stitch it to the fabric by either hand or using a sewing machine. As stated above, freezer paper could be used in replacement of cardboard. Quilters could even purchase a wash-away stabilizer that can be sewn onto the fabric. This will wash away in cool water leaving your design in tact. Of course, if you don't want to go in search for wash-away, some quilters have found that using old dryer sheets will work just the same.

There is not one right technique for all quilters. Just like with every aspect of quilting you will want to figure out which method works for you. As a beginner, you may want to try one a few times before moving on to the next. Those with more experience may be able to tell quickly which method works best for them.

Even if the method does not work perfectly, it does not mean that your quilt will not be perfect. Imperfections can often lead to the best creations, so do not throw anything out. Your scraps could be your next great piece of quilting. Start your search for applique quilt patterns now. Before you know it, you will have your neighbors asking you to teach them how to quilt.