Three separate layers — an appliqued decorative top, cotton or polyester batting, and a solid or print backing — are use to make an applique quilt. Several methods can be used to create the top of the quilt; the method used is up to the individual quilter. Appliques can be attached with fusible webbing or sewn to the quilt top by hand or machine. Once the quilt top is completed, the layers are assembled and quilted just like any other type of quilt.
The top portion of an applique quilt is the part that takes the longest to make, and it is also the most decorative portion of the finished quilt. An applique is a piece of fabric that is attached on top of a pieced or solid quilt top. These appliques can be made from a pattern or designed as you go, and shapes can range from simple hearts and circles to intricate figures and pictures. Patterns to make appliqued quilts can be found in books, leaflets, quilting stores, or online.
There are several ways to make an applique quilt top. The easiest way to add the appliques is to use fusible webbing to attach the shapes to the quilt top. While this method is simple and relatively fast, the finished quilt will need to be handled and washed with care to avoid damaging the design. The traditional method of attaching appliques involves cutting the pattern pieces from fabric and then hand-sewing them in place. While this technique takes a little longer to complete, it creates a durable, heirloom-quality applique quilt top.
Once the design on the top of an applique quilt is completed and sewn, the piece is layered with a batting and backing, and basted with pins or adhesive spray. Quilting can be done by hand or machine, depending on the skill level and personal preferences of the person making the quilt. The piece can be quilted with an overall pattern or by working around the individual appliques. Once the hand or machine quilting is complete, binding is applied to finish the edges and complete the quilt.
An applique quilt can be washed and cared for in the same way as a traditional pieced quilt. These quilts can be completed in any size, from wall hanging to king-sized; the only differences are in the amount of fabric used and the amount of time needed to complete the project. Individual patterns, kits, and books can be used as pattern and project idea sources, or an applique quilt can be designed by the individual who creates it.