Debbie Grifka’s Award-Winning Technique from Lines by Design: Quilts


Quilter and author Debbie Grifka’s quilt, Canterbury #2 was awarded 1st place in the Appliqué category at Quilt Con. Congratulations, Debbie!

Debbie Grifka's Award-Winning Technique from Lines by Design: Quilts

The technique that Debbie used to create Canterbury #2 is what she calls “bias-strip drawing.” In her book, Lines by Design: Quilts, Debbie explains how it helped her overcome the childhood notion that drawing was a skill she wasn’t born with. With fabric, needle, and thread she creates unique pictorial scenes on quilts that are graphic, modern, and easily recognizable.

Bias-strip drawing is an appliqué technique that takes advantage of the stretch of fabric cut on the bias. You can use pre-made bias tapes, however Debbie says learning to make your own will give you limitless possibilities when it comes to length, width, and fabric choices. You don’t have to stick to solid colors or ¼” bias tape. You can hand stitch, machine stitch, or fuse the bias-strips to draw your ideas on the surface of your quilt. Curves are made especially easier to sew using this technique.


Watermark features bias appliqué circles that are reminiscent of the watermarks left by drinking glasses.
Quilt measures 13 ½” x 30″

Fusible Bias Appliqué
Fusible appliqué is one of Debbie’s favorite ways to appliqué. The technique itself is simple; fusible webbing, such as Heat ‘n Bond Lite is used to adhere two pieces of fabric together with an iron. For the best results, pre-wash your fabric, avoid using starch, and always stitch over your raw edges. Yes, fusing keeps those edges from fraying, but stitching the raw edge results in a cleaner, finished look.


Clerestory, which Debbie Grifka showcased on the 2700 series of PBS’ Love of Quilting, features fusible bias rooftops on traditionally pieced homes.
Quilt measures 64″ x 64″

Machine Bias Appliqué
Machine bias appliqué is rather self-explanatory. It’s applying bias strips to the surface of your quilt with machine stitching. First, a template is used to trace the path of the bias tape onto the surface of the quilt. The bias-strip is anchored at a starting point, pinned along the path, and then stitched in place with your sewing machine. When pressing a bias appliqué block, Debbie recommends you press it face down into a towel on your ironing board. This will preserve the dimension of the bias and allow you to press the background well.


Community Isolation uses bias appliqué techniques similar to those used in the award winning Canterbury #2 design.

For more information on Debbie’s award-winning techniques, along with tips and tricks for sewing unique graphic quilts, grab a copy of Lines by Design: Quilts.

-Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books

Learn to make your own award-winning quilts!

Leave a Reply