Eye of the Beholder

original applique patterns inspired by the world around us

How Do I Choose a Pattern to Make?

How Do I Choose a Pattern to Make?

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So many quilts, so little time. Right? So how do you choose a reverse appliqué pattern to make? How can you tell what skill level you need to make the pattern? How do you find it on the website?

Read on to find out.

 Looking at a Pattern

 When we see a pattern we love, we stop in our tracks and take it in.  We are captured by its beauty.

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 I see this all the time in my booth.  At first we see the overall quilt, influenced by the pattern, color and the harmonizing of the design elements. That’s awesome.  You know you are in love.

 Next I begin to hear the awe in the quilters’ voices, but also notice them listening to their insecurities, fears and assumptions about the techniques used, often talking themselves out of a pattern they are in love with. 

 Most quilters assume certain things when they look at a quilt pattern they love: If a pattern is really beautiful it must be hard, and they can’t do it; A large piece is harder; A small piece is easier; Appliqué is hard and time-consuming; Reverse appliqué is even harder and more time-consuming.  To all of these assumptions I would say, “Sometimes, but not always”.

 Our reverse applique patterns have a big “WOW” factor.  But they are easier than you think.

When you know yourself and what to look for it’s easy to pick a pattern for you to be successful.

 Take a Closer Look

 Before you completely talk yourself out of that pattern you just fell in love with, look at the specific design elements.  Are the shapes large or small? Are the spaces between the shapes wide or tight?  Are the curves broad and sweeping or narrow and small?  Does it have a lot of inside and outside points?  Are those inside and outside points obtuse, 90° or acute? All of these elements matter because they affect the ease with which it can be made, the time it might take and the skill level needed.

Radiance, Medallion V ; large shapes with gentle curves - Beginner

Radiance, Medallion V; large shapes with gentle curves - Beginner

Rose Window, Medallion II.  narrow spaces, tiny circles - Advanced

Rose Window, Medallion II. narrow spaces, tiny circles - Advanced

 How to tell if a pattern is Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?

 In general:

  •  The larger the shapes, the more graceful the curves, the larger the circles, obtuse or 90° inside and outside points, and bigger spaces between shapes (3/8” or more) indicate an easier pattern. 

  •  The smaller the shapes, the tighter the curves, the smaller the circles, acute inside and outside points, and narrow spaces between the shapes (1/4” or less), indicate a pattern that is more difficult.

 The technique used to make it can also affect how easy or hard a pattern is.  Since 90% of our patterns can be made by either hand or machine reverse appliqué, how you make it is important.  Some patterns may be a Beginner level by machine, but an Intermediate level by hand.

Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI:  Beginner by machine, Intermediate by hand

Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI: Beginner by machine, Intermediate by hand

Snowflake block by machine, from Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI. Beginner by machine

Snowflake block by machine, from Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI. Beginner by machine

Snowflake block by hand from Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI. Intermediate by hand because of small spaces and acute inside and outside points.

Snowflake block by hand from Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI. Intermediate by hand because of small spaces and acute inside and outside points.

 Know Yourself

Block 10,  excerpted from Midnight Explosion Quilt VII. New Beginner.

Block 10, excerpted from Midnight Explosion Quilt VII. New Beginner.

The other important factor is you.  Do you like to gain skills and confidence in a technique first, or are you a confident quilter who the beauty of a pattern loudly calls you into the creative journey?  The more you know yourself, the more successful and enjoyable the reverse applique journey will be. for you

 Do you need to start small and simple to gain confidence and skills?  Then select a New Beginner level pattern.

If you have hemmed anything, I know you can hand appliqué and hand reverse appliqué. Try our New Beginner or Beginner level patterns to prove you can do it.

Vintage Jewel table runner. Beginner level

Vintage Jewel table runner. Beginner level

 If you just LOVE a design, even if you are a newbie, I encourage you to follow your love of beauty.  The beauty will motivate you to grow in and gain the skills needed. Choose from New Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate level patterns.

If you have appliquéd and are confident, you will easily be able to reverse appliqué, particularly with our easy methods: Trace, Baste, Snip & Stitch method for hand and Trace, Snip, Iron & Stitch method for machine (See our Technique Tutorials on Reverse Needle Turn Appliqué and Machine Reverse Appliqué) . Dive into what you love best in our New Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced quilt patterns.

 If you are a cliff diver like me, whose love of the finished product spurs you on, and you’ve done some applique,  I encourage you to tackle the quilt pattern you love, no matter your prior experience or the quilt pattern level: New Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.

 If you are confident with appliqué or reverse appliqué the sky is the limit.

Finding a Pattern is Easy on our Website:

You can search in our Shop by:

 Level Guide to Our Patterns:

 New Beginner Level: For the quilter who’s never appliquéd or reverse appliquéd before

These projects have large shapes; broad sweeping curves; large circles; wide spaces between shapes; a few obtuse or 90° points and corners to give you some experience with them.

 Pattern suggestions for New Beginner:

  • Hand or Machine techniques – Block 10; Trumpet Vine Block 6/9; Hearts & Fleurs table runner II; Radiance Medallion V; Scroll & Fan Medallion III.; Lollipop Garden Quilt XV

 Beginner Level: For the quilter who has appliquéd, done a little reverse appliqué or is a cliff diver

These projects have large shapes; broad sweeping curves; large circles; wide spaces between shapes; some obtuse and 90° points and corners; perhaps a few acute inside & outside points to give you some experience with them. Size is a matter of choice.

 Pattern suggestions for Beginner: Any pattern for New Beginner plus…

  • Hand or Machine techniques- Glorious, Medallion XV; Remembrance, Medallion XIV; Sweetheart Sorbert, Medallion XII; Midnight Explosion Quilt VII; Christmas RAPPING; Illumination Medallion IX; Fuchsia Block 8/9; Fit for a Queen Quilt III; Majesty Medallion IX; Sweetheart Sorbet Medallion XII; Marrakesh table runner V; Rose Block 2/9; Lily Block 1/9; Sunflower Block 3/9; Apple Blossom Block 4/9; Falling Leaves Quilt IX; Yorkshire Pudding table décor set XII.

  • Machine technique - Flowers in the Wind table runner XV; Spring Breeze Quilt XII; Chantilly Lace table runner XIV; Frosty Frozen Wonder Quilt I; Frozen Wonder medallion VIII; Snowy Hearts table runner IX; Iris block 9/9; Karen’s Hospitality table runner IV; Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI.

  • Hand technique – Fan the Flame Quilt VIII; Vintage Jewel table runner VI; Desert Blooms Medallion XI; Enchanted Evening table runner III; Captain’s Wheel Medallion IV; Christmas Berries, Medallion VII; Whirlwind medallion VI.

Flowers in the Wind table runner . Kits are also available for this pattern.

Flowers in the Wind table runner. Kits are also available for this pattern.

 Intermediate Level: For the quilter who has confidently appliquéd, successfully done reverse appliqué, or is a cliff diver…

These projects have a variety of small & large shapes; broad to tighter sweeping curves; small and/or large circles; spaces between shapes are narrower; obtuse and 90° points and corners; Acute inside and outside points.  Size is a matter of choice.

 Pattern suggestions for Intermediates: Any pattern for New Beginner or Beginner plus…

  • Hand technique – Flowers in the Wind table runner XV; Spring Breeze Quilt XII; Chantilly Lace table runner XIV; Frosty Frozen Wonder Quilt I; Snowy Hearts table runner IX; Abounding Grace table runner VIII; Iris block 9/9; Karen’s Hospitality table runner IV; Twinkling Flurries Quilt VI; Double Dutch Quilt II; Frozen Wonder Medallion VIII; Legacy, medallion XVI.

  • Hand or Machine techniques – Amidala’s Flower mini-quilt X; Fleur de Lis Block; Victorian Flower Garden Quilt IV.

  • Machine techniques – Autumn’s Promise table décor set XI; Thistle Block 7/9.

 Advanced Level: For the quilter who is experienced with appliqué, successfully done reverse appliqué, or is a cliff diver…

The project has small shapes; tight sweeping curves; small circles; spaces between shapes are ¼” or less; mostly and lots of Acute inside and outside points.  Size is a matter of choice.

 Pattern suggestions for Advanced: Any pattern for New Beginner, Beginner or Intermediate plus…

  • Hand technique - Rose Window, Medallion II; Barbara’s Medallion; Victorian Urn table runner; Eternal Spring table runner VI; Autumn’s Promise table décor set XI; Thistle Block 7/9; Forget-Me-Not Block 5/9; Legacy, Medallion XVI.

 Our Patterns make it easy for you to be successful

Pattern cover of  Marrakesh table runner

Pattern cover of Marrakesh table runner

 Our patterns are designed with you, the maker, in mind.  Whether you are making your pattern by hand or machine, our patterns make it easy for you to go home, open it up and begin. 

 All our patterns have comprehensive, step-by-step instructions.  There are also many Technique Tutorials and Tutorial Blogs on our website to augment those directions and refine your stitching skills.

Snippet of  Captain’s Wheel Medallion IV  pattern piece

Snippet of Captain’s Wheel Medallion IV pattern piece

 All pattern pieces are printed full-sized on durable paper so you don’t need to enlarge your pattern. They have hash marks in the center of the width and length to accurately center your fabric/ fusible on the pattern.  Because they are full-sized, you won’t need to re-position your fabric/ fusible to trace the design.  Pattern designs are solid black for reverse appliqué and cross-hatched with a strong outline for appliqué, so they are easy to see when tracing the design on your background fabric/ iron-on fusible.

We hope you will find one that inspires and excites you to create!

Happy Quilting!