What Is Applique Quilting? - Get A Start on Applique


Applique in quilting is to attach a raw-edged fabric shape onto a quilt block or your background fabric and stitch around it to secure it down. 

You can add scenes, color, and texture to a quilt. There are several stitches you can use with appliqueing.

Applique quilts can be hand sewn or machine sewn. In both cases, it depends on your project and quilt, along with your skillset and tools available. 

applique quilting - zigzag stitch

What are the Types of Applique?

  • Raw-edge applique 
  • Freezer paper applique 
  • Needle-turn applique 

Raw-edge, or fusible, applique is the easiest of the types of applique. So if you’re a beginner looking to get into applique then we recommend starting with raw-edge. It’s easy to work with because you create your applique on a sheet of fusible web (paper or webbing) with the non-adhesive side for your design and the other side to attach to the fabric. 

Freezer paper is popular because it typically produces smoother lines and better points. Of course, you’ll need freezer paper from the grocery store or better yet, freezer paper made just for sewing. Place your paper on your design, trace, cut it out, use an iron to press onto your fabric, cut away excess, press the seam allowance, and pull away the paper. Then you pin or baste the applique over the background fabric, and stitch it into place. 

Needle-turn is pretty intensive compared to the other types. Don’t try needle-turn as a beginner because it takes plenty of skill to get the results you need. Needle-turn uses freezer paper as well but the difference is using your needle to bring your seam allowance under so that it isn’t visible on the front of your quilt. 

How Do You Start Applique Quilting?

Now that you know what applique quilting is, it’s time to learn more about how you can use applique in your quilts and projects. It’s not difficult, but like anything else it takes time to learn the steps and your workflow. 

Follow these steps to start with applique quilting: 

  1. Take your fabric and iron on fusible material on the wrong side of fabric.
  2. Trace your shape you want to applique.
  3. Cut your shape out.
  4. Position your shape and iron it onto your block or background.
  5. Use the stitch of choice to secure it.

Which Stitches Can You Use for Applique Quilting?

  • Satin stitch - close together zig zag, totally covering up the edge to ensure no fraying.
  • Zig zag - a looser a zig zag, can see some edge, little to no fraying.
  • Straight stitch - straight stitching with the whole edge exposed, will fray some.

applique quilting satin stitch

There’s no specific stitch you need for applique. It’s up to you and what you want your quilt or project to look like in the end. So remember, it’s more of a personal preference than anything. 

Go Start An Applique Project:

Now that you know more about applique quilting, it’s time to go get started. We have applique quilt kits available here at Quilt King Products. You can explore them here and pick one up today: https://quiltkingproducts.com/collections/applique-quilt-kits