Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Raw Edge Applique

Hello to all my fellow quilters! My name is Rachel and I have a blog called Scrapendipity Designs. My blog is a catch all for my quilty and crafty endeavors.

Those that visit my blog know that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. In fact I have Halloween decorations up year round! The funny thing is, I never actually made myself a Halloween quilt. I have been collecting Halloween fabric for 2 years, but because it is my favorite holiday, I always felt it had to be the perfect quilt. This year I decided to change that and I ended up making two Halloween quilts. One of them is an applique quilt called 'Don't Drink and Fly'.

I know that applique has been talked about on this blog as a great way to manicure your stash. It gives you the opportunity to use up all those scraps you have hanging around. I am a lover of scraps. Many of my scraps come from other people, for which I am very grateful. I prefer to work with other people's scraps as it gives me a larger variety of scraps than I could ever come up with on my own. Not too long ago, I organized my scraps by color.


I have considered mixing up the colors and organizing them by size, but since doing applique, I have found the color method to be the best one. You can see that I am a little slim on some colors, I am always on the hunt for a new set of scraps to refill my buckets!

The 'Don't Drink and Fly' pattern is from Eat Cake Graphics.

If you have never seen their quilts patterns before, be sure to check them out. They are so much fun!

When I received this pattern, I had never done applique before. I tested a few different methods, and found most of them to be too time consuming for me. I finally decided to use raw edge applique for this quilt. The pattern calls for needle turn applique, so I had to be careful about getting everything facing the right direction when I made the quilt with raw edge. Today I am going to give you a quick tutorial on how I did raw edge applique for this quilt top. Since my quilt top is already done and I didn't take any process pictures with it, I will be making a small wall hanging instead.

Steam a Seam Lite 2


Sharp scissors
Light box or Sunny Window

Fabric requirements
All fabric can be found in your stash! That's what is great about applique, the pieces are small, and you can easily use scraps you have hanging around. When I am done the tutorial I will show my completed quilt top and the one from the pattern, you will see that I changed a lot of the colors to fit the scraps I had on hand. I was also able to find a large piece of fabric I could use for the background, again a bit different from the pattern, but it works and it got that fabric out of my stash!

Step One
The first thing you want to do is prepare your background. My wall hanging will have a solid background and a border. I chose two fabrics from my stash for this.


You want to iron your background fabric really good, I prefer to use starch, but it is not necessary. Having an unwrinkled background will make laying out your pieces much easier.

Step Two
Once your background is pressed you want to trace the basic layout of the pattern to the background fabric. When I did my original quilt I just taped the pattern right side up to my window, but you could also use a light box if you have one.


Next tape your ironed background fabric over the pattern, face up. Be sure to center everything right where you want it to go. For my wall hanging I am only doing a small portion of the pattern, but for a full quilt design, you will want to trace everything now to ensure that it is all centered properly.


Trace your pattern to the front of your background fabric using pencil. You only need to trace enough lines to get an idea for placement of your pieces. Remember, some of the smaller detail parts will be on top of other pieces, so a placement line on the background would not help much.


Step Three
Next we want to get our pattern traced onto the Steam a Seam Lite 2. With Steam a Seam, the material gets ironed to the wrong side of the fabric, because of this we need to reverse the pattern before we draw our lines on the Steam a Seam. If we do not, we will end up with a mirror image of our pattern and nothing will fit with the background lines we just drew.

The first thing I do is turn over my pattern taped to the window. Now the pattern is taped with the back facing out. This gets me my reverse image I need to trace.


Now you can just trace each piece of your pattern on to the Steam a Seam. For the edges that are supposed to look like the are under another piece, draw a dotted line on that edge. For all the edges that are supposed to look like they are on top, draw a solid line. When placing the pieces on the Steam a Seam, you want to leave about a 1/4 inch next to any dotted lines, you do not need to leave much space next to solid lines.



Step Four
Now that you have your pieces traced, you want to pull scraps for each piece.


Iron all your pieces nice and flat (again I personally use starch). Then rough cut each pattern piece out from the Steam a Seam Lite. I do not cut on the lines yet, leave a little edge around the whole thing, and a little more than 1/4 inch next to the dotted lines.


Now peel the paper that does not have your pattern on it from the Steam a Seam Lite and iron it to the wrong side of your chosen scraps according to the package instructions.


Step Five
Now that your pattern pieces are ironed to the back side of your fabric, you want to cut them out. When cutting, you want to cut directly on the solid lines, and you want to leave about a 1/4 inch edge on the dotted lines. This will help you tuck these pieces under other ones.


Here's a close up of one of the pieces so you can see the extra bits next to the dotted lines.


Step Six
Now we need to get our pieces on to our background fabric. Lay out your background fabric, find each piece and peel off the paper from the Steam a Seam Lite, and place the piece on the background.

Do not iron it on yet.


The Steam a Seam has a little tack to it, so your pieces will not slide around. Place each piece on according to your drawn guide. Keep in mind pieces that should be over and under each other, and remember that you have a little bit extra on the pieces that should be under something else, so those edges will not line up with your guide exactly. Use your pattern as a visual while you are doing this. Since the pieces are not ironed on yet, you can move the pieces around, or trim a few things, until you get the look you want.


Step Seven
Once all your pieces are in place as you like them, iron everything down. Remember you cannot undo this! So be sure everything is as you want it before you iron.

Now you can add your borders and finish your top as you would like.


I hope this tutorial helps you do a raw edge applique quilt. This type of applique is very quick and easy. Once you have your top complete, you can sew around the edges of each piece with invisible thread or like colored thread to tack everything down. I have not done this yet on my quilt.

Here is a picture of the 'Don't Drink and Fly' quilt from the pattern:

And here is my version of this quilt:


I have not done all the details on this yet, but you can see that many of my fabric choices are different from the pattern. This is because I wanted to use the scraps I had on hand. I did not have to buy a single piece of fabric to make this top! Applique is a great way to trim down your stash, I hope you will give it a try.

I have enjoyed writing this post for all of you, I hope I can come and visit again some time soon. Until then, be sure to check out my blog, Scrapendipity Designs. I have a post up today that shows some of the Halloween decorations in my home, and the other Halloween quilt I made this year. I also have a binding tutorial that may be of some use when you are finishing up your quilts.

Happy Quilting!


  1. Cute quilt! and Halloween is my favorite holiday as well, one can just enjoy it and have fun!

  2. Rachel, that is a very cute wall hanging. Halloween is my favorite holiday to decorate for too. This year I have been working on a lot of Fall/Halloween items. I was really surprised to see how many fabrics I had collected in my stash over the years for this season, let's just call it a "boat load"! Glad to say that I have made quite a dent in the pile over the past two months. BUT I STILL HAVE A LOT! There is always next year!!!

  3. @ Colleen - I know how you feel, I was so happy to make a dent in my stash with my other quilt. I even made some napkins with the fabrics (hmmm I'll have to get those up on my blog soon too!). And yet I still want to buy more every time I pass the fabrics!! :)

    @Sharon & Tamera - Thanks!!


  4. Good Morning Rachel. We certainly share one thing at least...I too love Halloween...Was even married on that day....your tut and your great result was not sew scary but certainly entertaining....thank you for being a theme blogger..you did it well..blessings madame samm

  5. Great tutorial. Thanks
    I checked out your blog and have become a follower. I enjoyed all your pictures.

  6. Thank you for the tutorial. I am gearing up my courage to start appliqueing (once I learn how to spell it). And I like your blog also...

  7. @Madame Samm - That is so cool to be married on Halloween! We were thinking about having our 10 year vow renewal on Halloween and throw a big themed party. Or we might just save the money and go to France LOL decisions ... decisons :) Thank you for having me here, it was a lot of fun!

    @Betty - Thanks so much! My blog is fledgling, but I hope people can find inspiration there.

    @Quiet Quilter - It actually took me almost a year to have the courage to do applique. In fact, this quilt was my first full blown try at it! I am now working on one that is needle turn (yikes!), so I feel your hesitation, but I think you will like it!!

    (I hope you guys don't mind my multiple posts as repsonses, I love replying back to comments on my own blog, but I don't get the emails for the ones here, so this is the only way I can respond!! :))

  8. Really cute quilt I like your rendition better than the pattern one
    I love applique even needle turn (great take along method)
    Nice job on the tut

  9. @Vicki quiltrnp - Thanks so much! I am also enjoying my current needle turn project, you are right it's a great take along hand sewing project.


  10. That's a great tutorial! I haven't made a Halloween quilt yet! Yours is gorgeous!!!

  11. Dag of a quilt, it is on my wish list. Thanks for tutorial!
    Love Leanne

  12. Hi Rachel.

    My friend Kay (www.allaboutapplique.net) sent me the link to your blog. I'm actually the designer for the Don't Drink & Fly pattern (Eat Cake Graphics is my company).

    It's so wonderful to see a completed quilt! It's always very exciting to seeing what fabrics quilters chose. Most of the time I only see them "in progress" when I'm teaching.
    I also wanted to mention that I actually don't do needle-turn, I tried it and found it very difficult. I use a glue-stick to prepare all of my pieces. But I love seeing the fusing - hopefully someday I'll learn that method too. :)

    Thanks for sharing your quilt - you did a fantastic job!
    Bye, Holly =^..^=

  13. @Ariane & Cottage Tails - Thanks so much!!

    @Holly - Thank you for taking the time to comment, I am in love with all your designs!! They are so much fun. I do remember now that you do the glue stick instead of actual needle turn, but you still stitch down the folded edge (I kind of lump all versions where a folded edge is stitched down as 'needle turn' and all other methods as raw edge :) ). Hmmm I may have to pull out your instructions and see if that method would be quicker on the quilt I am currently doing by 'real' needle turn .... Anywho, keep up the wonderful work! I hope you have a few more in the works too!! LOL


  14. OMG! I miss checking here a couple of days and then there's a great tutorial and lots of other things to look at. Lol, I'll have to set aside more time for this blog or practice speed reading :).

  15. Wow, what a great tutorial. I never thought appliqué could be that easy! Thank you for sharing.

  16. That is a fabulous wall hanging. I love the colours you used. A terrific tutorial, too! Raw edge applique is fun, isn't it? I used to blanket stitch by hand, but now usually do raw edge.


You think they are just words...they are sew much more than that...your wee messages tell me, you are kind, smart and important...