Appliqué

When it comes to quilting, appliqué is a much used form of needlework. The definition simply means that an embellishment (of some kind) is added on to another surface. In quilting terms, applique styles vary from quilter to quilter, and as much depends upon individual skill as it does the design and variety of the quilt that’s being crafted. There are an assortment of quilts that have a particular leaning towards the use of applique – the Baltimore quilt, Amish and Hawaiian quilts spring to mind.

For those that are new to quilting, we all have to start somewhere and the ability to applique comes with practice. Some take to it with ease, others find it more difficult to adopt, as there’s a whole lot more hand sewing to do if you don’t have a machine to do the work for you! Luckily, QNNtv.com have a wide selection of videos available that either include applique techniques as a featured aspect of a particular quilt, or the art of applique is the central characteristic of the video. Subscribing to our video collection will give you a broad base to choose from, and of course you’ll have a lot of fun learning all the different methods. Appliques can be further embellished with embroidery as required.

We work with both sewing machines and hand stitched techniques, and, along with our experts, we have a wealth of collective experience among a wide variety of applique techniques and designs. Learning how to quilt couldn’t be any simpler than it is with QNNtv.com, and we like to think that we know our stuff! Join us as a subscriber and take advantage of all the hints, tips and advice that come from the likes of Marianne Fons and Liz Porter, to name but two. We’re pretty certain that our goals match those of our subscribers – to produce wonderful homemade quilts with confidence!

Types Of Applique

To help you understand the different types of applique that you may well come across on your quilting journey, we’ve created a collection of related videos. This will give you at least a basic understanding and help you to focus on the wider picture, which relates to the fact that applique is but a facet of quilting, and not the whole. Hopefully once you’ve watched a few of our introductory videos and read a little about this beautiful needlework technique, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable!

To help you get started, we have a great free video that introduces you to applique, and it’s presented by Penny Haren, an expert quilter that’s also created a new, modern approach to applique and how to incorporate it into the quilting process. In the video 2009 Spring Market: Penny Haren’s Pieced Appliqué™, Penny talks about her two books, and how she’s managed to simply the process by way of inventing a handy tool and sharing applique designs that are easy to reproduce.


Remember, aplique is simply the art of sewing additional pieces of fabric onto foundation pieces, and it really does add that extra special touch. One type of applique is known as Broderie Perse, and all it means is that you use printed elements of fabric, usually flowers, birds and animals. The term is French for Persian embroidery, and it’s a simple yet elegant form of applique, popular with quilters and often found upon traditional style quilts.

Needle turned applique is another hand stitched form, and involves the turning under and stitching down of the edges of your chose fabric motif. There’s a possibility that you’ve already come across this particular type of applique, and not realized what it actually was. It’s fairly straightforward to master, and can be used with any type of motif. In a sense you end up with embroidered patches, and they look great on a number of different quilt designs. Likewise, fused applique can be used by way of fusing a motif to a block (using Wunder Under or similar), then finishing it off with needle turned stitching. Dryer sheet applique is another hand stitched form, this time using a good old standard (used) dryer sheet.

All you do is place your fabric motif onto a slightly larger piece of dryer sheet, then hand or machine stitch the two together. You then cut a small slit into the dryer sheet, and turn the motif inside out. This leaves you with a pre-finished seamed edge to the motif, which can then be embroidered onto the quilt block. Providing you’ve got a steady hand and can turn out small, neat stitching, learning how to applique is a relatively simple quilting characteristic. It’s also immensely appealing to the average quilter, and as previously mentioned it can and does add a wonderful finishing touch to any quilting project.

Embroidery Machines and Sewing Machines

A sewing machine takes the labor intensive aspect out of applique patterns. They’re a familiar tool for many quilters and the right machine can be used for more than just embroidery alone. Way back in time, when machine stitching wasn’t an option, necessity dictated that everything was done by hand. There’s no doubt that talent and skill played an important part, however one of the great things about modern day quilting is the fact that today’s quilters do have the choice and of course many tend towards a mix of hand and machine stitching. Some sewing machines also have an embroidery function, and there are dedicated embroidery machines also available.

One of our featured videos, Machine Embroidery Techniques, discusses different ways in which embroidery machines can be used in the quilting industry. Sharlene Jorgenson and guest host Lindee Goodall share machine quilting techniques, and cover an array of designs and patterns that are based around machine stitched applique. It’s a great video, full of insight from expert quilters and certainly opens your eyes to the realms of possibility that comes with owning one of these machines.


In the event that you choose to go ahead and purchase an embroidery machine at some point, bear in mind that there are many different models to choose from and you need to factor in:

  • your current quilting skills and knowledge
  • available work space
  • budget – always worth remembering to buy what you can afford, not what you desire!
  • high-tech or basic machine
  • computer connectivity – many quilters now work with/off computer based designs and transfer them between the two machines
  • not all sewing machines are capable of complex embroidery patterns
  • is it something you can thread in a hot second, or will you end up tied in knots
  • service and maintenance costs
  • size of the embroidery field

The above are the basics considerations, and of course the best advice is to look around with empty pockets first. There’s no telling what you might end up coming home with if you bump into a persuasive sales assistant! If and when you do purchase a new machine, QNNtv.com also have a good selection of videos that will guide you through all the elementary stuff, such as threading a machine, different types of machine quilting and more. Taking out a subscription with QNNtv.com guarantees direct access to 1000’s of videos, when you want, as often as you want. Sign up now:

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