Courtenay Hughes is one of our talented instructors here at Missouri Star. As part of our education team, Courtenay teaches quilting, embroidery, and appliqué classes through Missouri Star Academy. This includes our online courses, in-town classes, and some of our free tutorials!
“I want to say I LOVE her teaching style! She is so funny, and I felt like I was spending an afternoon with a good friend. I really enjoyed this video.”– Customer Review
This quilting diva has been a wonderful component to our education team and you can see why! Her gorgeous projects continue to inspire all of us makers!
Now, let’s talk about appliqué, Courtenay’s area of expertise! If you’ve always wanted to try it out, but imagined it might be intimidating, we’ve got the tools, techniques, and tips to change your mind. Appliqué is a lot easier than it looks – and it looks pretty spectacular personalizing and decorating your quilt!
We talked to Courtenay about machine appliqué designs and tips…
Q: Courtenay, how long have you been sewing machine appliqué?
A: I have been quilting for over 25 years. I’ve had about 20 odd years of practice at machine appliqué. And I am really looking forward to sharing some of that with you
Q: What’s your favorite part of teaching appliqué for beginners?
A: My favorite part of teaching is when students who aren’t sure they can complete their projects get to the point where they realize that, yes, they can make them—and they will be beautiful! Whether that’s how to machine appliqué small pieces, how to hand appliqué in the car on road trips, or how to let loose and try something completely new, like a free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch that looks complicated but is actually very freeing, I love seeing students succeed!
Q: What shapes can you make with machine appliqué?
A: Anything you can imagine – and any pattern in your library, really. I like to show you tips for leaves, stems, circles, stars, hearts, petals, and working in layers. While a lot of my patterns are flowers or animals – ask me about placing bunny ears – the sky is the limit. You can decorate any quilt with appliqué, in blocks, borders, even your quilt label.
Q: What are some tools you recommend for appliqué?
A: This depends a little bit on which method you’re using, but some of the applique essentials are:
For Machine Appliqué:
- Fusible Web – Use this to temporarily glue fabric pieces in place while machine stitching.
- Appliqué Pressing Sheet – Place over the project diagram to use as a guide while layering fabric shapes.
- Marking Pen – Use a fine sharpie or marking pen to trace designs onto projects.
- Scissors – A good pair of scissors come in handy for cutting fusible and fabric pieces.
- Machine Needles – A sharp needle that is great for stitching through layers of applique pieces.
- 50wt Thread – A strong thread that blends with fabric shapes. Or black thread for a “folk art” look.
- Self-Threading Needles – An easy way to bury threads after stitching pieces to background.
- Iron and Iron Cleaner – An iron for fusing paper shapes to fabric, and iron cleaner.
- Embroidery Hoop – (optional) These come in handy when stitching pieces in place on background, especially when using the free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch.
For Hand Appliqué:
- Appli-Glue or Lapel Stick – Use this to hold fabric pieces in place while hand stitching.
- Freezer Paper – Draw a design on the dull side, cut it out and lay the shiny side down on the project to use as a guide.
- Bias Tape Maker – Use this to make stems and more, especially when doing floral applique!
- Marking Pen – Use this a pen to trace designs onto projects.
- Precision Appliqué Scissors – A smaller pair of scissors come in handy for cutting smaller pieces.
- Hand Needles – A smaller point for hand stitching, but also a bit enough needle to prevent hand cramping.
- Mini Iron – A tiny iron will give more control over tiny fabric pieces.
- Appliqué Pins – These come in handy when fitting several pieces into place.
- Fusible Web (optional) – Melts to adhere the fabric pieces together.
We think it’s time to give appliqué a try!
We currently have two classes for beginners at Missouri Star Academy. You’ll learn multiple methods, troubleshooting tricks, how to machine appliqué a quilt or how to hand appliqué a quilt. Each class also comes with a FREE quilt pattern so you can show off your newly mastered skills! Try appliqué today!
Don’t forget to check in on our Education Center’s class schedule to see what class Courtenay will be teaching next!
If you’ve taken a class by Courtenay Hughes, show her what you made in the comments below ⬇️