Applique with Underlays

Have you ever looked at extremely skinny appliqué patches or points and wondered how on earth the seam allowance was turned under? Maybe the quilter used a process that involved underlays. The technique is sometimes referred to as working “off the block”. Here’s how it works.

The frames that surround each block in the quilt Instruments of Praise would be impossible to appliqué as a single patch. There is no room whatsoever at those points to turn under a seam allowance. Each block was actually appliquéd onto a square of dark purple fabric first.

The dark purple fabric was trimmed, leaving a seam allowance around the outside edges of the frame shape.

Then the block – with the skinny frame – was appliquéd onto the background.

Easy, right? You just have to know the tricks! Underlays can also be useful for changing the background behind certain patches. If you look closely at the lyre block, you will notice a pink fabric underneath the dark purple figure eights. That fabric was “laid under” and basted; the other patches were appliquéd on top.

Watch for the Instruments of Praise Pattern Pack, to be released July 15, 2013!

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  1. Thanks, Betty. Applique is the best!

  2. Betty Norberg says:

    Loved your applique tips. Applique is my favorite form of quilting. Saw your work when you were a guest speaker at the Orillia Guild. I’ve been a fan ever since.

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