Wool appliqué: try it today (tutorial)

Wool applique tutorial

If you already know the joys of doing wool appliqué, you’re not the least surprised it’s enjoying a comeback (plus you’re right on trend!). If you haven’t yet experienced it, there are good reasons to give it a try now. Wool is soft to handle, easy to stitch, and it doesn’t fray. The color options are abundant, whether you repurpose an old skirt or purchase some gorgeous new hand-dyed pieces at your local quilt shop.

From Elegant Quilts, Country Charm From Pennies from Heaven
Projects from Elegant Quilts, Country Charm and Pennies from Heaven

It’s so easy to add wool appliqué to cotton patchwork, and felted-wool projects have a warmth and depth that’s hard to achieve with cotton alone. Ready to find out for yourself? The tutorial below will help you get started.

Wool-appliqué tutorial

From Elegant Quilts, Country Charm by Leonie Bateman and Deirdre Bond-Abel

For best results, use felted wool made from 100% wool fibers. That is, woven fabric that’s washed in hot water and dried with heat, resulting in soft, fluffy fabric. This is not the same as wool felt, which is made up of wool fibers that have been compressed together rather than woven. Wool felt can’t be laundered as successfully as felted wool.

Note: the process for wool-on-cotton appliqué and wool-on-wool appliqué is the same.

1. Trace each appliqué shape onto the dull side of a piece of freezer paper, leaving approximately ¼" to ½" between the shapes. Roughly cut out each shape. With the shiny side down, iron each shape onto the right side of a piece of wool using a dry iron. Try not to press too hard on the wool—you don’t want to flatten the fabric too much.

2. Carefully cut out each piece along the drawn line and remove the freezer paper. Your shapes are now ready to place on the background piece.

Wool-applique instructions

3. Apply a dab of glue to the wrong side of each appliqué shape. Gently press the shapes into place on the background, working from the bottom layer up.

4. Once all the pieces are in place, staple them (yes, staple them!) for a firm hold. Sometimes the glue alone isn’t enough to keep the pieces in place during the stitching. Stapling works beautifully: it’s quick, the staples are easy to remove with your fingers, and because the wool is self-healing, no marks are left on the appliqués.

5. Use a blanket stitch to appliqué the pieces in place using matching thread. Remove the staples.

Blanket stitch

That’s all there is to it!

To help you get started, check out the wide range of projects and tons of inspiration in these books.
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From Elegant Quilts Country Charm
Elegant Quilts, Country Charm by Leonie Bateman and Deirdre Bond-Abel: In addition to quilts in various sizes, projects include pillows, framed pieces, and this stunning scarf.

See more wonderful wool projects from Elegant Quilts, Country Charm >

From Pennies from Heaven
Pennies from Heaven by Gretchen Gibbons: The book’s title comes from the fabulous quilt that graces the cover, but there’s even more to explore than that richly textured quilt. Gretchen designed eight more projects using her quilt as a jumping-off point.

Make table mats, wall hangings, a curtain valance, and more >

From My Enchanted Garden
My Enchanted Garden by Gretchen Gibbons: Here’s another breathtaking floral quilt from Gretchen, this time with fanciful birds and sweet little creatures stitched in cotton batiks. In addition to the quilt on the cover, you’ll find a collection of beautifully stitched and embellished smaller projects.

Don’t miss the hopping bunny pillow! See all nine projects >

Want more wonderful wool projects?

Find more wool-appliqué patterns plus gorgeous, inspiring photos in Country Elegance, the latest book from Leonie Bateman and Deirdre Bond-Abel.

From Country Elegance

Have you tried wool applique? What do you like best about it? Tell us in the comments.


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