The Raw-Edge Machine Appliqué Technique Every Quilter Should Know

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t resist appliqué quilts—whether it’s needle-turn, raw-edge, or reverse appliqué.

I’ve dabbled in hand and machine appliqué over the years with varying rates of success which makes me all the more impressed when it’s done well.

Since I’ve yet to master the varying appliqué techniques, I’m always on the lookout for new tutorials that will help me improve my skills. I’m of the mindset that the more people you can learn from, the better. You never know whose helpful hint will be the nugget of information that will make a technique click.

I found Lisa Cox’s directions for machine raw-edge appliqué incredibly helpful. Here is her easy-to-follow tutorial from her book A Spoonful of Sugar:


1. Trace the design onto the paper backing side of the fusible web. If you have a directional design like a letter or number, trace the reversed image.


2. Cut out the web, leaving a clearance of approximately 1⁄4″ around the outside.


3. Place the sticky side of the web on the wrong side of the fabric and iron the fabric to fuse the web following the manufacturer’s instructions.


4. Cut out the shape along the traced line using scissors.


5. Remove the paper backing and fuse the web to the backing fabric.


6. To stitch down the appliqué, use black thread in your sewing machine and a small straight stitch. Stitch around the edge, approximately 1⁄8″ in from the edge of the shape. Stitch two to three times around the edge to outline and ensure the appliqué is firmly attached. Vary the placement of the needle slightly to give a sketchy appearance.

My projects usually fall apart during that last step because I want the stitching to be perfect. I’d never thought of making changing my needle’s position while stitching several passes around the edge of the shapes, or using black thread for that matter. I can’t wait to give her sketched appliqué idea a try!

If you’re interested in learning more of Lisa’s sewing tips and techniques including English paper piecing and embroidery, order your copy of A Spoonful of Sugar. You are sure to enjoy the process and improve your skills as you work your way through her 20 simple sewing projects that are too charming to resist.

Happy Quilting,

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