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How to Applique Quilts

Applique is a way to add pizzazz to handmade quilts that will showcase your imagination, creativity, and sewing skills.


  • Step 1: Choose design Choose an applique design, keeping in mind basic shapes are the easiest and best suited for beginners.
  • Step 2: Choose fabric Choose a fabric or fabrics for your applique that compliment your quilt fabric in color and texture.
  • Step 3: Make a template Make a simple template by tracing or drawing your design on freezer paper, and then cutting it out.
  • TIP: Experiment with a few designs and fabrics before committing to your quilt applique on a large scale.
  • Step 4: Cut applique fabric Place your template on the wrong side of the applique fabric and cut out the design, leaving a generous ¼-inch seam allowance.
  • Step 5: Fold and press seam allowance Fold the seam allowance over the freezer paper template on all edges. Then press the edges flat with a hot iron.
  • TIP: Clip seam allowance curves and corners to keep the seam allowance flat, depending on your design.
  • Step 6: Attach to quilt fabric Attach the applique to your quilt fabric with pins, without removing the freezer paper. Then stitch it in place using a blind, hem, or decorative embroidery stitch.
  • Step 7: Trim quilt fabric Cut the quilt fabric away, but leave a ¼-inch seam allowance. Then remove the freezer paper.
  • TIP: Freezer paper is easily removed with tweezers.
  • Step 8: Duplicate Duplicate your applique as many times as required to complete your quilt top design, knowing you are following a time-honored needlework tradition.
  • FACT: Issac Singer helped free women from the task of hand sewing when he patented and manufactured his sewing machine model in the 1850s.

You Will Need

  • Quilt fabric
  • Contrasting fabric
  • Freezer paper
  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • An iron
  • Straight pins
  • A sewing machine or sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Tweezers (optional)

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