Fuzzy flannel fast appliqué

October 9, 2012

Are you looking at crimson maple leaves outside your window? Fall is here, the evenings are crisp and the sun sets a few minutes earlier every day, making sunsets spectacular. With that chill in the air, it’s time to think about warmer things like quilts!

For a fast, fun weekend project, try whipping up a flannel throw to take to the football game. You can choose a theme for your quilt such as fall leaves, apples, pumpkins or even football! Use an assortment of flannels in your chosen colorway to make it more interesting.

Piece together some of your flannel scraps (come on, you know you have them) to create a quilt top the size of your lap quilt. Let serendipity happen, and make it scrappy! Use up large chunks of fabric so that this part takes very little time. You are creating a base for the flannel applique, which you can do on the longarm!

Make up a backing piece (use up more of that flannel) and then load the backing, batting and the quilt top on to your quilting machine as normal. Now stack four or five layers of flannel on top of each other (fat quarter size or less is great) but stagger them so that the grain lines do NOT all align with one another. Make the top layer match your quilt’s theme for color and applique shape. For example, if you have chosen to applique pumpkins to your quilt, the top fabric layer ideally would carry orange tones…an apple quilt would have red for the top fabric…and a football quilt could sport your favorite team colors!

Now cut the fabric stack into smaller sections that will match the size of the applique shape you desire. If you wanted your apples to be 5 inches in diameter, your stack of flannels (with red on top for apples) should be at least 7 inches square. If necessary, create a template for yourself to match the shape you wish to applique. Mark the top fabric layer by tracing around your applique, centering the template on the fabric stack.

Place the flannel stack on your quilt top where you would like the applique to appear. Use a few pins to hold the stack of layered fabric in place. Now stitch around your applique shape through ALL layers. If desired, add extra quilting on the applique (for example, you may choose to add section lines to a pumpkin shape).

Continue adding more stacked flannel pieces to different areas that you can still see between your rollers, and applique them in place. When you have filled this first section with applique (as much or as little as you like) then quilt the layers together, traveling around your applique areas. (If you have a lot of excess stacked fabric around the appliques, trim it away but LEAVE at least 1/2-inch of excess fabric around the applique perimeter.)

Work down your quilt, adding more stacks of flannel and stitching the applique stack in place. When you are finished, remove the quilt from the frame. Trim the extra fabric layers around each applique shape, staying at least 1/2-inch away from the edge of the applique. Use sharp scissors to cut slits into this outer excess fabric, placing the cuts about 1/2-inch apart. Stop before your scissors reaches the stitching holding the applique in place.

When you have finished with all of the trimming and snipping, bind the quilt and toss it in the dryer for several minutes to help the raw edges of the flannel fray out. Check your lint trap frequently! When it’s finished you’ll have a wonderful “raw edge” applique quilt, ready for the next big Friday night at the high school football game!