Monday, April 23, 2012

This Nursery's a Zoo! Quilt Tutorial, part 2

This is the second post in my nursery quilt tutorial. For the first post, click here.

It's time to make the appliqué blocks!
You'll see several tips scattered throughout this section. Let's just say that most of them were born of mistakes I made during my first few appliqué projects!

Making the Appliqué Blocks
1. Print out the templates (click for the liongiraffe and elephant patterns) and trace onto the paper side of fusible web. Cut out around each animal shape, leaving approximately 1/2'' past the drawn line. 

Pair up your fabrics for each animal block. Once you've decided what fabric to use for which animal parts, follow the manufacturer's directions and press fusible web to the back of the appropriate fabrics. 

Tip: Position your animal shapes carefully to keep (or avoid) certain elements in the fabric. Cut out each shape on the drawn line.

2. Fold and lightly press each 8'' background square in half in both directions to find the center point. Use this point as a guide for centering the animals on the background square.

3. Remove the paper backing from the fusible web. Tip: I sometimes have trouble with this, so whenever possible, I choose an initial separation point that will be covered by another appliqué element.
4. Press the shapes to the background square. I prefer to press one shape at a time, beginning with the base layer (so, first the lion body, then the mane, and then the face).

5. If desired, press lightweight interfacing to the back of the square to serve as a stabilizer, making sure it goes beyond the area the appliqué covers. Tip: Even though I use fusible interfacing, I still pin the corners because I've had the interfacing ''unstick'' before, which just makes a mess when it doubles up as you're stitching.
6. Choose a coordinating or contrasting thread color (or colors!) for zig zag stitching the appliqués in place. I chose turquoise because I knew it would tie in nicely with my sashing fabric. 

Choose a stitch length and width. Tip: Audition the stitch size on scraps first. I like to choose a happy medium because it's more forgiving of my stitching errors. Stitch the animal pieces on each block and press.

If you used a stabilizer, trim the interfacing around the stitching.

Assembling the Quilt
Note: My sample only has two blocks rows and three sashing rows because I'm making a smaller wall hanging. You will have four block rows and five sashing rows.
1. Lay out the blocks in four rows of three blocks each, alternating the pieced and appliqué blocks in each row. Add four 2-1/2'' x 8'' sashing strips to each row, alternating with the blocks. Sew the sashing strips and blocks together in each row to make a block row.

2. Lay out three 2-1/2'' x 8'' sashing strips alternating with four 2-1/2'' sashing squares to make a sashing row. Make a total of five sashing rows.

3. Lay out the block rows alternating with the sashing rows and sew together to complete the quilt top.
I'm showing you my finished quilt here rather than my sample so you can see the layout for 12 blocks.

Finishing the Quilt
Layer the quilt top, batting and backing and quilt as desired. Use the four 2-1/2'' x 42'' binding strips to bind the quilt.

Pictures of my finished wall hanging to come later...I need to get some backing fabric to finish it! 

In the meantime, I've joined the talented quilters at 15 Minutes Play in a 12-week Color Challenge. I'll be sharing my blocks here as well each week, as well as some other things I'm working on, and adding photos of my finished quilts to this blog's gallery page.


  1. Hello Ellie, I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to write out specific details on the type of applique technique they are writing the tutorial on. Just as you pointed out, issues arise that you have encountered but that does not mean it is one that I have. So mentioning the extra pinning reason is a great suggestion I will write down and use the next time I do fusible applique. I honestly do not think I can wait until the start of the new year to make this quilt. LOL. Thank you for sharing such a fun Baby Quilt!! Have an excellent day!