Applique is now easier than piecing, even for beginners.
If you find that statement hard to believe, you are not doing applique MY WAY!
Now, wait a minute. Before you give me an “eye roll”, let me explain.
I’m not saying “My way or the Highway!”
I’m saying “My Way or the HARD way!”
Let me share with you how I know that quilters of all skill levels will find applique quilts easier than piecing!
Are you a quilter who has embraces modern piecing rulers, but still stays away from applique?
Quilters who have been quilting since the 1970s (yeah, that would be me!) have seen a lot of innovations in quilting techniques that make pieced quilts easier than ever before. Specialty rulers and paper piecing are inventions that have made piecing faster than ever. Piecing has become more accurate with specialty rulers like Deb Tucker’s Trimmers and Creative Grid specialty rulers. There is no doubt that piecing is much simpler today than it was 40 years ago. Have you embraced these fast and fabulous modern piecing techniques?
There is a common misconception that applique is harder than piecing.
Just like piecing, specialty rulers are the secret to faster, more accurate applique quilts. In 2009 we introduced the Leaves Galore applique templates, and in 2012 we added the Hearts and More template set. These two specialty ruler sets make cutting applique faster than ever before!
But cutting is just one part of the applique process. Modern, soft fusibles give excellent fused applique results, and sewing machines with hundreds of decorative stitches make sewing machine applique a respectable substitute for hand applique.
Embrace the Change
The change from hand-cut, hand-sewn applique to rotary-cut, machine-stitched applique has made it possible for even the most inexperienced quilters to get exceptional results.
Starting a new quilter on a fused applique project can be a lot less intimidating than piecing persnickety points and a lot more successful. Your blocks will lay flat, they will be exactly the right size, and stitching big, flat applique blocks together is a pleasure. Beginner quilters can achieve success with their very first project!
Quilters of all skill levels can combine piecing and applique in the same quilt to make gorgeous quilts look complex but are actually quite easy! Tina Dillard taught Feather Flight for quilters in the “Ahead of the Curve” membership, including many who were new to both piecing and applique.
5 Reasons Why Applique is Easier Than Piecing a Quilt Top:
#1: Cutting pieced blocks requires precision
Did your first pieced quilt look like this one from the “Worst Quilt in the World Competition? ** Cutting pieced blocks requires precision that most new quilters have yet to develop. Without precise cutting, your pieced blocks will never be accurate. Cutting applique is forgiving. If your applique shapes are a little off, no one will know but you!
#2: A perfect 1/4″ seam for pieced blocks is much harder to achieve than buttonhole stitching applique shapes
While both improve with practice, applique can be beautiful even if your buttonhole is a little wonky. On the other hand, if you are piecing blocks with wonky seams, it will show! Inaccurate seams will not result in beautifully pieced blocks.
#3: Pressing is easier with applique than with piecing.
Pressing to fuse applique shapes before stitching doesn’t take any skill. Pressing pieced blocks requires a whole lot of skill. First, you need a pressing plan to ensure that the pressing works with the piecing order. Secondly, pressing errors can add up to piecing errors, even if you make perfect 1/4″ seams. When making pieced blocks, perfect sewing can be ruined by errors in pressing. This comical star quilt had no hope of ever being flat! New quilters often stretch as they press, distorting the pieced blocks, making them impossible to fit together into a flat quilt top.
#4: Applique quilts don’t have lumpy, bumpy intersections.
Pieced quilts often have 4, 8, or even 16 points coming together at intersections. Look at this simple windmill pattern with 8 points coming together. Inexperienced piecers will get a lumpy bumpy intersection where lots of points come together. These lumps and bumps make quilts very difficult to quilt.
Most applique quilts only have four seams coming together between blocks. A four-corner intersection is much easier for a beginner to master. Once your applique stitching is complete, the block can be squared to the exact size needed in the quilt. Piecing together a quilt of perfectly sized squares is so much easier than stitching together wonky pieced blocks.
#5: You can imitate the look of curved piecing with applique
Curved piecing is difficult for beginners, but applique is not!
Here is an unfortunate Wedding Ring Quilt that a beginner tried to make using Curved Piecing. No amount of quilting will help this quilt lay flat.
This Fancy Nine Patch made by my friend Glenda Jones has the look of curved piecing but the white and gold melons were applique over the elongated nine-patch blocks. Curved pieced beauties like “glorified Nine Patch” are made more easily using this foolproof fusible applique method instead of tricky curved piecing. Look at how flat and straight the blocks are! This one will be a dream to quilt!
Are you ready to see just how fast and fun applique can be?
Until you experience the accuracy, precision, and speed of Rotary Cut Applique, you may doubt my claim that Applique is easier than piecing. So don’t take my word for it!
Try a free mini-workshop in Rotary Cut Applique
you too can fall in love with making applique quilts!
The mini-workshop that is now ON DEMAND! I’ll send you a link for the pattern and the recorded workshop video so you can try Rotary Cut Applique with Mistyfuse. Watch the video at any time, grab your own set of Applique Templates and let me show you how fun applique can be!
Now if the “Worst Quilts in the World” photos above made you laugh, you will love Ami Simm’s book “How Not to Make a Prize Winning Quilt!” You can find it here!
And if you want to make applique quilts that do win prizes, like Michele Lauzon’s award-winning “My Magical Garden” Quilt, join “Ahead of the Curve” Membership!