Friday, February 17, 2017

Tips and Tricks from Beginner to Beginner: My First Applique Quilt Block

Tips and Tricks from Beginner to Beginner

My First Applique Quilt Block

I'm actually going to start this post by chastising myself for not posting last week, and then following that up with my excuse. My computer and I got into a had a falling out last week. He blue-screened, I said some hurtful things... but it's all better now. We went to a professional (*cough* my husband *cough*), he has a new operating system, and now it's like he's a completely different computer. I think we're going to be able to make this work, guys.

Moving right along -- check this out!

This is my first ever quilt block, and I am proud of this sucker! It's chock full of beginner mistakes, and I wanted to write a post to other quilt-curious-crafters to share what I did wrong (and will now do better).


  • Since I have small children, I did parts of this with kids attached, juggling naps, and in general, I'm always in a hurry, so there may be things in later quilt locks that I still screw up because of all of the above. I love my stinkers more than my crafting, no shame ;)
  • This post contains affiliate links
  • This is a block that I did two weeks ago, so literally, I'm fumbling my way through this and letting you know shortly after how it went. In no way at all am I claiming to be a professional at this, nor am I trying to be. This is aspiring hobbyist to aspiring hobbyist. 
  • This is NOT MY DESIGN.
I am making this block along with several more as a part of the 2017 Growing Up QAL (Quilt-A-Long) being done by Alida TweloQ Designs.

She has done a marvelous job putting together different blocks that will help beginner quilters (hello) to develop the necessary basic skills to create their own quilts. I'm having a lot of fun with this, and I'm working on a piecing block now!

Click the button below if you're interested in seeing the other blocks, Alida's other designs, or even joining the QAL for yourself!

Tips and Tricks from Beginner to Beginner

  • Don't Be Afraid of A Difficult Design
         When I first saw the design for this applique, I thought, "A rose! How pretty, and my favorite flower. How the hell am I going to pull that off??" I really think that, this being my first applique project, a solid triangle wouldn't have been any easier than this rose. The most difficult part was at the sewing machine, so if you're handy with that already, then I really don't think that it would have made a difference. Besides, I got some really good practice in with my sewing with all of those sharp turns and tight spaces, and it was fun instead of boring. 
  • Iron 
Iron it all. Every last bit before you do anything else, including any cutting or measuring for your square! I'm sure it will have a disastrous effect on my final product because I know that I didn't get the measurements right on this block. This was such a newbie mistake, and realistically, I knew I was making it, and I didn't fix it. Seriously, for shame, self. Make it flat! 
  • Iron-on Stabilizer Paper
Have I mentioned that I'm new at this? I don't even necessarily know that the Iron-on stuff is called "stabilizer paper", but I know that it was a freaking life saver to not have to pin this thing down. Really! I traced my pattern onto my Heat 'N Bond adhesive, ironed it onto my fabric (make sure that your fabric's wrong side is facing the part of the paper it's adhering to, or it won't turn out properly!), cut out my pattern, peeled off the other side, and ironed it onto my background. So simple, so worth it!

  • Test, Test, Test!
After realizing my dire mistake of not ironing out my fabric before I cut it all to pieces, I vowed to take the not-lazy approach, and that saved my hide when it came time to sew! I used a piece of scrap fabric from my cutting to test out some different stitches, make sure that my sewing machine was set up correctly, and generally just remember what I'm supposed to do with a sewing machine. Again, so so so worth it! 
  • Take Your Time
This was a less of a "mistake" and more of a "Okay, my kids are totally done watching me do this and/or entertaining themselves. Let's hurry up and get it done before one of them starts flipping out." After going through all of the motions to get my machine set up (on my dining room table where it is not safe to leave it unattended) I really needed to just crank this thing out. If I had the option, I would have given myself the time to take it slow. Overall my block turned out great for a first timer, but there are some areas of the applique where the sewing got sloppy. 

Are you a seasoned sewer/quilter? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks from Expert to beginner! Are you thinking about quilting? Do you love applique work? Leave me a comment below, and let's trade some craftiness!

May muses whisper to you always,
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  1. You shared very insightful tips!! I had similar issues when I started, but remember that is just fabric! So if you make a "mistake" you can always add some extra fabric on top or on the side and call that a "design choice". It is your quilt so as long as you like it, none else will come to say anything different! I am looking forward to see all your future blocks!!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement and the QAL, Alida!

  2. I'm beginning my journey into applique and did several heart shapes including stacking the is appliquing "I AM LOVED" on a baby quilt...wish me luck

    1. I would love to see pictures of your completed work. I'm sure it will be lovely. Good luck!

  3. Insightful. Thanks for sharing when others may have not. I'm always inspired by how creatively crafty you are! <3