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Quilting Applique Quilt Patterns

by Cheryl
(Macon, Georgia)

Once you have machine appliqued a design on a quilt do you quilt over the applique or just around it? Does it matter?


It matters if it matters to you!

I've seen applique quilts where the entire quilt was stitched with a big background fill pattern. The quilting merely served to hold the layers together. It may be the quilt was intended for someone who didn't appreciate all the effort that went into its making. Possibly the maker just didn't want to spend any more time or money. It happens. And it's a choice that YOU, the quilter, get to make.

At a show several years ago, I saw a beautiful hand appliqued quilt with some serious quilting to "smush" down the background. The applique was also trapuntoed with very little stitching through it. The final effect was of over stuffed fruit. It that case, the extra effort didn't pay off in my humble opinion.

Quilting A New Applique Quilt

Generations Quilt Patterns Rogaland Rosemaling

Rogaland Rosemaling

Yeah! The quilting's almost done!

This is my current invisible machine applique project. It is our first applique pattern which will be available this summer. The quilting is finished except for the gold basket in the center.

Personally, I like to quilt with 100% Hobbs Wool Batting for anything that will have a lot of quilting. The wool stands up to the quilting and stays supple. It can be blocked (if it's unevenly quilted), to make it square and hang nice in the end.

This entire quilt was free motion quilted with an open toe darning foot. I quilted it in the following order:

  1. Ditch quilted around the outside of every applique and embroidered shape. (Yes, that includes all the stems, too!) I ditch quilted around all the petals and leaves of the yellow flowers at this time, too, because I could do it with only one or two stops and starts.

  2. Ditch quilted between the burgundy piping and the outer blue border (Yes, free motion.)

  3. Quilted the feathered design in the outer border and echo quilted it once.
  4. Free motion quilting - pebbles background fill

    Free motion quilting in a pebbles
    pattern for the background fill.

  5. By now I had decided that all of the darkest blue in the scrolls needed to be quilted. Wool batting is puffy and it was a bit too puffy for the look I wanted.

  6. Next came all those tiny pebbles. I love doing those even if they take awhile and a lot of thread. There was almost four spools of pale blue 100 wt silk thread in this quilt top. I used a neutral color of Superior Threads Bottom Line in the bobbin.

  7. I ended with the echo quilting of the outside border

Evaluate the Effect

Now that it's all quilted, I have decided to go back and add some quilting to the three yellow baskets. To make the job easier, I'll hand baste snugly with water soluble thread (the quilt will be blocked) to control the "puff" so I don't quilt tucks into those sections.

Wool batting adds nice dimension to both the applique and the feather quilting.

To reduce the amount of puff in an applique shape, add more quilting. To maximize puff, reduce the quilting.

Quilting your applique shapes can also add details that may be too small to applique... think flower stamens, bird feathers, chimney bricks, etc.

Cotton batting produces less "puff" in the quilt and you may be able to get away with less quilting within the applique shapes.

Readers! Do you have any other suggestions? Do join in!

I hope this has given you some ideas for quilting your applique quilt designs!


Julie Baird

Comments for Quilting Applique Quilt Patterns

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How lovely
by: Glennda G


applique quilting

Thank you! Your response is very informative.

The quilting was so worth it.
by: Tamilynne

This quilt is stunning! I'm so very glad you have shared it. This is inspiration to those of us not so talented quilters. I just love it!

by: Anonymous

I would like to purchase the pattern for the Rogaland Rosemaling Quilt.

From the Editor: I'm so glad you like it. When the pattern is available it will be announced on the website and in the newsletter.

~ Julie Baird

by: B. Moore

Having Norwegian roots, I love all things Norwegian. This is absolutely stunning. I LOVE IT! I would be very interested in buying a pattern when it's available.

I love this quilt!
by: Janei from Colorado

Congrats on almost finishing. I love hearts and this center reminds me of a heart. I can't wait to get the pattern.

Please let me know when it comes out. I'll keep an eye out. I love hand applique.


by: Betty Smith

I really like this quilt and look forward to seeing the pattern! I love all the details with the pebble quilting. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing gift! I'm just a beginner, but I already love to come up with quilt designs. This is exactly the type of project I've been looking for!

by: Halle'

Oh my goodness. I've just been staring at your quilt. It's just gorgeous! You have a gift! I would love this pattern, but am not sure I could pull this off! It is the most beautiful quilt I have ever seen!
Halle' from Texas

Quilting on top of applique/Quilts for important people
by: Betsy Freeman

With a very original design I find it difficult to design the quilting areas. Many of our quilt groups are making beau coup quilts for Ronald McDonald, Hospice, Steps to HOpe, Wounded soldiers etc. We want them to be visual and technical wonders.

We realize that SOMETIMES THERE ARE NO for- in a sense VOLUME, so how about some designs, tips and suggestions to "doing up" those valuable quilts in such a timely order that we can turn out some volume and please the recipients and satisfy ourselves and be proud of our work. Help! Tempus Fugits.

Thank you
by: Nima

Thank you so much for all the explanation...I was searching for something like this before I start to quilt my applique quilt.

You are quite welcome! I'm glad it helps.~~Julie

Pattern for this wall hanging
by: Jodi

Is there a pattern available for this quilt?

From Julie: A pattern is in the works, but I haven't gotten around to writing the directions yet. It should happen this winter after quilt show season.

by: Anonymous

Why is the dime on the quilt?

Beautiful! Great job!!


I put the coin on the quilt to give you some idea about the size of the quilted pebbles. Other times I'll use a ruler, and when I can get is just right, I try to do actual size like on the introduction page How to Applique...By Hand? Or by Machine? When you click on either of the first two pictures, you'll get close-up shots that are virtually actual size.

I hope you like it!

by: judy Cozon

WOW and wow again - that is really beautiful - a piece of art.
I commend you!

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