Appliqué for Mother’s Day – Project Ideas from Marianne Fons and Fons & Porter

Foxglove Manor - Appliqué Quilt Patterns
Foxglove Manor by Cynthia L. Regone

Mother’s Day is a big day for quilts, and giving quilts as gifts is always such a joy. Try appliqué quilt patterns this holiday, like the bright and cheery, 1930s-style Foxglove Manor with its appliquéd vines and flowers. Appliqué quilt patterns offer unique quilt designs and plenty of personality! Featured in the Love of Quilting May/June 2016 issue, this bed-size quilt has a curvy border with rickrack trim to frame in the appliqué work just perfectly.

Marianne Fons is a big fan of appliqué. She talks about two types in episode 2407 of Love of Quilting: needle-turn appliqué (Marianne’s preferred method) and raw-edge machine appliqué. The star of this episode is Ralli Pop – a quilt inspired by women quilters of Pakistan who are skilled in the art of appliqué quilts.

There are many types of appliqué in quilting, so how do you choose? A great rule of thumb is to follow the recommendations in your quilt patterns. If you’re not sure how to work that type of appliqué, Fons & Porter has free Sew Easy lessons to walk you through the steps! We’ll teach you about each technique, so you can tackle your quilt patterns with confidence. Below are the instructions for needle-turn appliqué as used in the Ralli Pop quilt above.

Let’s take a closer look at Marianne’s preferred appliqué method: needle-turn appliqué derives its name from the action of turning under the seam allowance edge of appliqué pieces with the needle used for stitching. The traditional stitch used to secure the folded edge of the fabric to the background is a blindstitch. The blindstitch, as the name suggests, should virtually disappear when using a thread that matches the color of the appliqué fabric. Take a peek below for needle-turn appliqué step-by-step instructions.

Ralli Pop - LoQ 2400 Series
Ralli Pop by Marianne Fons  
Photo A - Needle-Turn Appliqué
1) Pull needle and knotted thread up through background fabric and folded edge of appliqué piece, barely catching edge of fold (Photo A).
Photo B - Needle-Turn Appliqué
2) Reinsert needle into background fabric beside folded edge where thread was first brought through, and make a 1⁄8″ stitch, bringing point of needle back up through background fabric and through folded edge of appliqué piece (Photo B). NOTE: As you begin each stitch, make sure needle enters background fabric right next to thread coming up through folded edge of appliqué.
Photo C - Needle-Turn Appliqué
3) Use point of needle to turn under a small portion of the appliqué piece seam allowance, using needle to smooth curves in folded edge (Photo C).
Photo D - Needle-Turn AppliquéPhoto E - Needle-Turn Appliqué
4) Stitch to outer points, take a small extra stitch directly at the point. Use needle to turn seam allowance under on other side of point and continue stitching (Photos D and E).
Photo F - Needle-Turn Appliqué

5) Stitches on top should be nearly invisible. Stitches on back side of background fabric should be straight and approximately 1⁄8″ long (Photo F).

SEW SMART: Pull each stitch to keep it tight, but do not pucker background fabric. —Marianne

Appliqué projects have a completely different look than strictly pieced quilts. We love them all, but why not work on a project that has some extra flair this holiday? The deserving mother in your life will be honored.

Cherry Ripe Appliqué - Appliqué Quilt Patterns
Cherry Ripe Appliqué
Petal - Appliqué Quilt Patterns

Foxglove Manor and Ralli Pop are just a couple of our prized appliqué quilts. Petal, by Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting, and Cherry Ripe Appliqué by Linda Pumphrey are definitely worth a look.

After that, try a search in for “appliqué” and see if anything strikes your fancy! If you come across an appliqué technique that you could use some guidance on, check out our free Sew Easy lessons.

Enjoy this Mother’s Day holiday by celebrating yourself or someone you appreciate with an appliqué quilt. If you’re not sure you’ll finish it by the time May 8th rolls around, do what my mom does: include a picture of the quilt pattern in a wrapped box. Tell me which pattern you choose in the comments below – I’d love to hear about it.

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter

Happy (Appliqué) Quilting!

Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fons & Porter Blog
Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.