6 Reasons to Learn How to Appliqué

Explore invisible machine appliqué with bias strips in the Cordova Table Runner by Kevin Kosbab

Trying a new technique can be difficult.

It’s easy to feel flustered by a process while you’re trying to get the hang of things. Or when your projects aren’t turning out the way you’d hoped. The good news is that after some fumbling, you can become fluent in a new technique. With practice, a style of appliqué which once seemed insurmountable can become your go-to easy appliqué method.

You guessed it; today we are talking about overcoming our objections and learning how to appliqué.

I’ve dabbled in this quilting technique, but have been reluctant to dive in completely. Always the researcher, I’ve been reading up on appliqué techniques and watching videos to teach me how to appliqué with the best of them. When I read through the introduction of Kevin Kosbab’s quilting book, A Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop, it really struck a chord with me.

I realized I was finding reasons not to learn the many varieties of appliqué. Kevin has an appliqué-loving response for each excuse that prevents many of us from taking the plunge and learning this timeless technique. Here are his answers to our hesitations and why we should give appliqué a chance:

It’s too hard.

Anything is difficult if you haven’t learned how to do it. For most hand appliqué, there’s really only one stitch to learn, and it isn’t very complicated. I promise there’s no magic involved.

Detail of the needle-turn appliqué in Garden Allotments Quilt by Kevin Kosbab

It takes too long.

It’s true that appliqué isn’t as quick as motoring through some chain-pieced blocks on your machine, but not every appliqué project has to be an elaborate masterpiece—start small, practice, and build your confidence.

I don’t have the patience.

Sewing by hand can be extremely soothing (I suspect this is partly why antidepressants weren’t invented until people stopped doing needlework as a matter of course). These days, I don’t have the patience to watch TV without a stitching project at hand.

It’s too fussy.

There are plenty of appliqué patterns with dauntingly tiny pieces, but that’s a style rather than a definition of the technique itself. You don’t have to deal with fiddly little bits until you’re ready. Once you’re at that point, the challenge of teeny appliqué can be rewarding rather than daunting.

I hate sewing by hand.

Don’t worry; there’s lots of appliqué you can do by machine. Some things are just easier to stitch by hand, so it pays to make friends with a hand needle, but you can certainly manage without.

Try invisible machine appliqué with prepared edges as you make the Counter-Balance Quilt by Kevin Kosbab.

I’ve tried, and it always looks sloppy.

Nobody’s perfect at first, but if you’ve had bad luck with one appliqué method, try another. If you’re perplexed by needle-turn appliqué, try a prepared-edge technique so your shapes are all set before you start sewing. Or give an improvisational project a try—it’s easier to loosen up mentally when the project doesn’t require precision.

I truly think appliqué is fun and, for the most part, easy. If you’re interested at all in making quilts, I really encourage you to expand your options by giving appliqué a try.

Dive into appliqué techniques and projects with Kevin’s expert instruction when you order his book The Quilter’s Appliqué Workshop. Or download the eBook to get started learning how to appliqué today.

Happy sewing!

Brenna's Signature

P.S. Do you have a favorite method of appliqué? Any tips that made this technique click for you? Leave a comment below to share your insights with your fellow quilters.


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Appliqué, Quilting Daily Blog