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Quilting letters/words

Juli_Bounds | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on


I am trying to make a baby quilt with words on it. But I am not sure how to sew the letters on. Or how to cut the letters so the fabric doesn’t ravel?! Is there a way of cutting the letters so that I can sew them directly on the top layer of the quilt without having the normal seam that has to be folded under????

Does this make sense? I am not an experienced quilter so I don’t know the correct terminology.

Thanks for any advice you can give!


  1. Sarah_Kayla | | #1

    There are many ways to do applique letters. You have to find the way that works for your hand and your brains. I will tell you a couple of ways to do it, but you should also look and lots of books and experiment until you figure out a method that works for you and your needs. THERE IS NO ONE WAY TO DO ANYTHING.

    Lots of folks swear by ironing fusable web to the back of the applique fabric, cutting the letters out, ironing them onto the base fabric and then satin stitching around the letters. I understand that method in theory except i can't manage to keep the letters straight once they are cut out.

    I use a method that seems more complicated on the surface, but it works for my hands and my brains.

    1 - draft the letters on to paper
    2 - turn the paper over and trace over the reverse of the letters
    3 - masking tape the letters on to the REVERSE of the base fabric
    4 - Masking tape the applique fabric to the front on the base fabric
    5 - turn everything over and straight stitch along your lettering lines
    6 - cut away all of the extra fabric (everthing that is not a letter)
    7 - from the front zigzag around the edges of your letters
    8 - tear away the paper from the back

    The advantages of this method are 1 - no turning hems by hand
    2 - the letters are all straight and properly placed
    3 - the paper on the back acts as a stabilizer for when you zigzag
    4 - you don't get the stiffness that you get from the
    fusable web.

    Good luck!!! email me if you have any questions. I developed this method because I do tons of applique lettering. Other methods nearly had me wanting to commit suicide because I hade done the letters in reverse for the tenth time in a row...


    1. Flynn | | #2

      *Place the iron-on side of iron-on interfacing against the right side of a large peice of fabric. Stitch the outline of your letters from the interfacing side through both layers. Cut the letters out, trim corners and clip curves. Cut an X into the interfacing only and flip the fabric right side out. You should end up with a letter with no raw edges and be able to iron it directly onto your quilt. You can even machine stitch on top of the lettering to add a design or texture. The letters can also be slightly padded before ironing to give dimension. I hope this makes sense and helps you.

      1. Sarah_Kayla | | #3

        *Dear Flynn -My only problem with your method is that when you have say a word, or a longer bit of text it is difficult to keep the text all properly alligned. i do lots of work with longish quotations that need to be appliqued. My mothod keeps the words properly arrayed . For insivudual letters doing them doner aat a time as you suggest may work better. Sarah

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