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Custom Applique Quilts are Simple to Create

To create a unique custom applique quilt, all you need is a simple design.

If the traditional appliques just don't excite you, make your own custom applique design. It's as easy as flipping through a child's coloring book or searching through clip art.

Custom appliqué quilts are perfect gifts for celebrating the birth of a baby. When the mom-to-be picks a less popular nursery theme, it can be hard to find a coordinating gift. That will make your custom appliqué quilt extra special!

One woman chose a "Cat in the Hat" theme for her newborn's room. She wanted something different and knew she'd have to custom sew and accessorize just about everything in the room.

She turned to an old coloring book for inspiration. The lines in children's coloring books are generally simple, especially in coloring books for younger aged children.

For the crib quilt, she enlarged a coloring book page of the cat's hat. Using the enlargement for a pattern, she appliquéd red stripes onto the hat which she had cut from white fabric.

Using iron-on adhesive, she put the large, bright red and white striped hat in the center of her pale teal-colored crib quilt top and stitched around it using a tight satin stitch. She added coordinating prints around the sides for the border and without much effort at all, had a custom appliqué quilt. She used the same techniques to add characters from the famous Dr. Seuss story to bumper pads and to create a wall hanging for the nursery, too.

It's easy to use the same procedure for creating a custom appliqué from clip art. Select your theme, then start your art search. The important thing is to look for simple lines.

Don't forget that you can manipulate some clip art. Once you open a clip art file, see if you can select the image then choose "ungroup" from the edit command. If it will allow you to ungroup, you can make simple changes.

For example, if you want a custom applique of Santa riding a reindeer, but the one you've found has ornaments hanging from the reindeer's antlers, ungroupling will probably let you delete those ornaments from the design. Don't forget to save your art once you've completed your editing!

Many people like to assemble the custom appliqué separately, then finish by stitching it to their quilt top or quilt block. Others, however, like to assemble piece by piece onto the quilt top or block by basting, then finishing the stitches with either an appliqué stitch, zig-zag or satin stitch.

Fonts may also be used for custom applique designs. It's really easy to create a custom appliqué quilt with a name or favorite hobby ("Cheer!" and "Play Ball!" are two that come to mind). Simply type the words and make the letters the size you want. You may have to print the letters individually rather than on one sheet if you want them to be substantially large.

You can even make custom appliqués for your favorite fraternity or sorority member by using a font like Symbols for the custom applique pattern.

Once you've printed the letters, they are your pattern for your custom appliqué design. Play around with the positioning once you get them cut out. Have fun and create interest by overlapping the letters in some places.

You must observe copyright laws when using other media to help you design custom appliqué patterns. Most art is under law in which if used for personal use only, there is no copyright infringement. If you try to sell your custom appliqué projects using the already published art, you are likely in violation of copyright law.

The same goes for fonts. There are many websites that allow viewers to download and use free fonts, but most of those include stipulations that the use of the fonts must be for personal - not commercial - use only.

Penny Halgren Penny has been a quilter for more than 26 years. She enjoys exploring all aspects of quilting sharing her knowledge with all quilters.

Check out the How To Applique video!

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Comment by Birdie on November 14, 2009 at 10:49am
How could I have never known about that cool "ungroup" feature?? That was an awesome tip I know I'll use.
Comment by Larri on November 12, 2009 at 7:26am
Applique has always made me nervous. Fear of the unknown, I guess. You make it sound easy though. Thanks for the tips!
Comment by Pat on April 17, 2008 at 2:38pm
Great idea. Saved to use for newly expected grandbaby. Thanks Pat

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