Applique quilting is a technique that has been used for centuries. It involves sewing smaller pieces of fabric onto a fabric background to create a pattern. I’m a patchwork quilter for them most part but every now and again I see an appliqué pattern that I’m inspired to make. There are as many appliqué quilting patterns available as there are imaginations, and they run the entire spectrum of skill levels. But there are a few that are tried and true favorites among quilters everywhere. I’ll showcase some of the most popular traditional appliqué patterns, along with basic information, and also some of my favorites. And the best part is you can get them all for free by clicking the links I’ve provided. Enjoy reading about appliqué quilting.
Applique Quilt Patterns
What is applique quilting, how is it done, and lots of free pattern links.
Easy Applique Quilt Patterns
Dresden Plate And Sunbonnet Sue
The first step in making an appliqué quilt is to choose your design. If you’re a beginner it’s best to start with large rounded shapes and avoid small intricate shapes with corners. Some great traditional appliqué patterns for learners are the Dresden Plate and Sunbonnet Sue.
One of the easiest ways to appliqué is to trace your pattern on a piece of freezer paper. When I cut I make the pattern ¼” smaller so I can fold over the seam allowance. Then pin the design with the paper on the back to your background fabric. It stabilizes the design so it doesn’t pucker while stitching. When finished, cut a small slit in the background fabric and pull out the paper. This will not show once you’ve attached the batting and backing fabric to your quilt top. Another method is to use fusible web. This is a thin mesh that you use to iron the pattern onto the background and make it stick. It reduces the movement of the pattern as you are sewing.
You can stitch the pattern onto the background fabric by hand or machine. I’ve tried both and there are advantages to each. Machine appliqué is faster, hand appliqué is more precise. The most important thing is to pin the edges in place carefully so nothing slips out of place if you’re machine stitching.
If you're thinking about investing in a sewing machine for quilting, I suggest reading What To Look For In A Quilt Machine, where I give lot of helpful ideas and tips on how to select a sewing machine.
Free Dresden Plate Sunbonnet Sue and Applique Patterns
Each Of These Links Will Take You To A Free Pattern You Can Download
How To Applique Using Freezer Paper
Amazon Has A Wide Selection Of Quilting Books
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Applique Patterns for Those With Some Experience
A great intermediate skill appliqué pattern is Grandmothers Flower Garden. It has smaller pieces but the shape is still very basic and it’s a beautiful traditional floral block. A good way to approach a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt is by using the sew and turn method. This keeps you from having to fold the seam allowance under while sewing. You cut 2 pieces of fabric for each of the pieces in the design and sew them together with the tops facing along the seam line. Then clip inside corners and trim the corners to allow eliminate bulk at the edges. Finally cut a small slit in the back side of the block, turn right side out, iron flat, and begin appliquéing to your background fabric.
Grandmother’s flower garden is a great pattern to use this method for because there are a lot of edges that must fit together precisely. You get to skip all the fuss on folding under edges and making sure they line up. Another pretty applique pattern of intermediate difficulty is the Rose of Sharon.
Advanced Applique Quilting Tips
Working With Curves And Points
When appliqueing quilt patterns that have sharp points, it's a good idea to minimize the bulk of material inside by trimming away the seam allowance fabric at the end of the point. You can use a toothpick when turning the point to the right side to help make the point crisp. An inside point is the opposite of a pointed tip. On an inside point clip straight into the seam allowance almost to the seam before turning. Curves will work well with a few clips of the scissors in the seam allowance to make it bend into shape. Try practicing with a few pieces of scrap fabric before working with your real quilt project to get the hang of the technique. When working with intricate patterns it helps to trace the pattern onto the background fabric with a quilting crayon to help keep your bearings when sewing.
One of the most advanced applique patterns is the Baltimore Quilt. Actually there are many different Baltimore quilt patterns but they are all very intricate. The name comes from an applique technique that was popular in Baltimore, Maryland, in the mid-nineteenth century. Baltimore quilts typically have a white background with red and green applique shapes.
Baltimore Quilt Block
Free Baltimore Quilt Block Pattern
Free Baltimore Quilt Block Pattern
A Baltimore Album quilt pattern to download and make.