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Shannon Brinkley from Bottle Tree shares her best tips for appliqué with eight modern quilt projects in her new book, Scrappy Bits Appliqué: Fast & Easy Fusible Quilts 8 Projects Foolproof Technique.

Use your favorite scraps and quick, raw-edge sewing to create a collage of color and impact. To give you a better look at Shannon’s quilting process and skill as an instructor she shares how to make a pieced quilt background below; there are instructions and a template to add an appliqué animal using a solid piece of fabric. If you want to learn how to make the animal scrappy (like this elephant below), grab a copy of Scrappy Bits Appliqué!

We also have a giveaway of Scrappy Bits Appliqué (hard copy for a U.S. address, eBook if the winner is outside of the U.S.). Tell us about appliqué… Do you love it? Have you always wanted to try it? Do you have favorite tips or techniques? Have you made a favorite project with appliqué? Have you tried scrappy appliqué? Your comment enters you to win.

Here’s Shannon’s book trailer, a schedule for the book tour plus Shannon’s quilt project below. Let us know if you make your own Dreaming of Flight quilt!

8/12 – C&T Publishing Blog
8/13 – Pellon
8/14 – I’m a Ginger Monkey
8/15 – Quilter’s Newsletter Blog
8/17 – Casey York
8/18 – Generation Q
8/20 – Going Home to Roost
8/21 – Bottle Tree

I’m excited to share with you my Dreaming of Flight quilt. In my book, Scrappy Bits Appliqué, I teach my fast/easy techniques for raw-edge applique. The bird on this quilt, lost in thoughts of flight, is made from dozens of fabric scraps, collaged together to make a really interesting and unique texture. In this tutorial you will learn how to piece the background, and apply a solid applique bird to your quilt top. Check out my book to learn how to make him scrappy!

Dreaming of Flight Quilt

Finished Size: 56” x 70”


  • 11 15½” squares in various shades of black and gray
  • 2¼ yds white fabric
  • 4 yds fabric for backing
  • 62” x 76” batting
  • ½ yd fabric for binding
  • ½ yd fabric for bird applique
  • 1 yd lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Chalk or other marking utensil that will not bleed if steamed
  • Thread to match the applique fabric
  • Glue stick
  • Dreaming of Flight PDF template, printed

For the background cut:

  • 5 15½” squares in white
  • 20 7¾” white squares

Lindsey Conner made a great half square triangle (HST) tutorial for Sew Mama Sew that I used for this quilt. She shows you how to make eight HSTs at a time, so these blocks were a breeze to make.

Use Lindsey’s tut to make 60 HSTs (40 using one gray 15½” square and one white 15½” square, and 20 using two gray 15½” squares). You will have four extra gray/gray HSTs. Trim the HSTs to 7½” each.

Lay out the HST and white squares according to the diagram below. Pay attention to the value of your grays, and distribute lights and darks evenly.

Piece blocks together to finish your background.

Applique Bird:
Lay your Dreaming of Flight PDF template (taped together) on your table with the fusible interfacing (rough side up) laid on top. Using the chalk, trace the bird onto the interfacing.

Set template aside, with the rough side of the interfacing up, lay the applique fabric (right side up) on top. Press according to the interfacing manufacturer’s instructions.

Cut out the bird along the chalk line.

Place the bird on the background in the desired spot, and pin in place. Be sure all wrinkles are well smoothed out.

Using a satin stitch, embroider around the raw edge of the bird. Draw the legs onto the background with the chalk. Using the same satin stitch, stitch along the line to form the legs.

Cut out an eye for your bird and, using a glue stick, adhere it to the desired spot. Satin stitch around the eye. I decreased the stitch width for this.

Finish your quilt as desired.

I wanted the white sections to stand out, so I quilted a jagged pattern into the gray sections,
and only outlined the white. In the bird, I quilted a feather-like pattern.
This arrow decorative stitch was a lot of fun to use to finish the binding.

This fun, playful print was perfect for the backing.
I got it at Ikea years ago, and it’s been waiting for just the right quilt top!

To learn more about my book and see more quilts, visit my website or watch the trailer for Scrappy Bits Appliqué above!