We’ve heard this more times than we care to count. In conversations with our customers, we’ve discovered that often it’s not applique they don’t like, but rather the method of applique they’ve tried.

Many quilters do not realize how many different techniques there are for applique. Just to turn under the edge/seam allowance, one can needleturn, glue baste, baste with needle and thread, press the edges over freezer paper/cardboard, stitch a facing with fusible interfacing and turn. And, lest we forget, there are reverse applique, back-basting and starch methods.  Once the pieces are ready to be stitched, will it be by hand or by machine?

If fusing, one must choose to completely cover the back of a piece with fusible web or cut out the center, so that the web is only around the edges. The edges of fusible applique can be raw edge or stitched with a straight stitch, zigzagged or finished with any of a plethora of decorative stitches (by hand or machine).

Once the individual pieces are ready to be stitched, there are those that like placement guides or overlays drawn on tracing paper or plastic for use under or over the background fabric; those that like to applique the pieces to each other and then stitch to the background; those that like to just eyeball the placement; and those that draw the design on the background.

So many choices! Here’s a list of ideas to help you decide:

  • Classes at your local quilt shop are a good place to start. Many find the hands-on approach helpful. A quilt shop employee can help you narrow down your applique choices.
  • A quilt guild often provides classes plus the meetings with likeminded individuals provide encouragement.
  • A friend is sometimes the best teacher.
  • For those who like books, visit your local library or bookstore.
  • Search YouTube – for tutorials on a particular method.
  • Annie’s – offers free tutorial guides and video tutorials.
  • Craftsy  –  offers classes on many different methods. You have to pay for the classes, but you have access to them forever and can play sections over and over. Craftsy has sales pretty often, so if you are patient, you probably won’t have to pay full price.
  • Connecting Threads – provides free tutorials and videos.
  • Pinterest – here’s one board to get you started. You can search for a specific method.
  • McCall’s Quilting – information on fusible web, fusible interfacing and hand needleturn techniques.

This is by no means a complete list. Use Google or other search engine to search for a particular applique method.

Did you know that many quilters use more than one applique technique in the same quilt? Often, one technique allows for better control and makes the stitching easier in a particular situation. No one method is right or wrong; it’s what works best for you.

When trying out a new technique, choose a simple pattern with a few fairly large pieces for testing. It can be just part of a larger design or one you’ve drawn yourself. Try out two or more methods of applique with your test design. Remember, if one method doesn’t work for you, another one just might.