Now Touring: The Modern Applique Workbook by Jenifer Dick

melissa • February 19, 2014 • 73 Comments


When my husband and I visited Maui for the very first time 14 years ago, we greedily soaked up the island culture and made it a point to see things other than the beaches (which were totally gorgeous, of course, but there IS a whole lot more). And we brought back some cool souvenirs , including a handmade banana-leaf basket, pineapple champagne, Maui onion potato chips (they were not selling in U.S. stores at that point) and a Hawaiian applique pillow kit. Guess which souvenir was not that much fun.
Well, thanks to Jenifer Dick’ s new book,  The Modern Applique Workbook (Stash Books, January 2014), I might actually have the mojo to finish this 14-year old UFO.  I have tried to needle-turn this sucker so many times, each time eventually giving up and stuffing it back into some dusty bin. After steeping myself in the Workbook‘s pages awhile, though, I can see a clear path to “done!” using her techniques for Invisible Zig-Zag Applique.
Jenifer’s techniques are just one part of this colorful, appealing book. You’ll also find tried-and-true practical advice on working with applique, clearly written instructions and fresh, fun projects to exercise your new-found appli-confidence. You might have seen some of Jenifer’s striking applique projects splashing around the internet as the Modern Applique Workbook blog tour winds its way through the past few days. Here’s one of our faves, Kisses:
But we also liked the controlled chaos of Geese:
We were just as captivated, though, at the prospect of finding out more about Jenifer herself.  So in typical GenQ fashion, we lobbed a few questions:

Have you ever tried needle-turn applique? What do you think about it? (It’s okay to cuss.) 

When I started quilting 20 years ago, I actually thought needle turn was the only way there was to appliqué! I took a class and never finished the project. My stitches were reasonably okay but I couldn’t get the shapes to lay flat without the background fabric bunching up.

Then I moved on to fusible web – now that’s where the cussing comes in! I made the cutest Sunbonnet Sue quilt for my then 3-year-old daughter. What I didn’t know was that fusible web doesn’t wash well. Even though now at 15 and she still uses the quilt, on many blocks, all that’s left is the stitched outline of Sue! The webbing along with the fabric has completely disintegrated in spots. (But she won’t give up the quilt!)  

What’s the oddest shape you’ve ever appliqued onto a project?

I like odd shapes – probably the strangest at the time (4 years ago) was a fork and spoon from my book, Quilt Retro. It was inspired by those oversized wooden forks and spoons that were all the rage in the 60s! Now I see fork and spoon appliqués all over the place!

Tell us five things people probably don’t know about you….

1. I have a journalism degree from the University of Missouri (the best J-School in the world!) and I am a quilt book editor in my day job. In a previous job, I was an editor for the National Auctioneer’s Association!

2. I talk to myself a lot. It creeps my kids out. When they were young, my son told me once that I scared him when I talk to myself!

3. I have scoliosis and wore a Milwaukee brace for all 4 years of high school. (Fans of Judy Bloom or Sixteen Candles will know what I’m talking about!)

4. I have all the blocks done for a Dear Jane quilt but it’s not put together yet. I made them in 2003. I need to get that one done before I die.

5. I made fun of the home ec girls in high school. My friend was president of the Future Homemakers of America and I thought it was such a joke. Fast forward 15 years and I was the one staying home with my 3 kids making quilts and watching Martha Stewart and she was a working mom! And look at me now making a living through quilting!

Get yourself some of this!

Of course, Jenifer’s book is available from all the usual suspects, including  Amazon, but if you want an autographed copy, follow this link.

And what’s a blog tour without a chance to win your very own copy of Jenifer’s book? Just comment on this here on this blog post (Facebook does not count) and tell us your fave way to applique. We’ll pick a random winner on Feb. 26, and announce it both here and on our Facebook page. (Please note: A winner outside the United States will win an e-book. U.S. residents will receive a hard copy.)

Feb. 10: Bonnie Hunter,

Feb. 11: Amy Smart,

Feb. 12: Angela Walters,

Feb. 13: Debbie Grifka,

Feb. 14: Tammie Schaffer,

Feb. 17: Casey York,

Feb. 18: Deb Rowden,

Feb. 19: Melissa Thompson Maher,

Feb. 20: Shea Henderson,

Feb. 21: Dianne Harris, Quiltmaker Magazine,









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  • Barbara • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    I have tried them all and for a quilt that is going to be lovingly use – I zigzag machine stitch

  • Delaine • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    My favorite method is machine applique – the very small zig zag one. Thanks!

  • Jean • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    My appliqué is done needle turn most of the time. I like to use school glue instead if pins in the center of the pieces so I’m not getting stuck by pins repeatedly.

  • Michelle Harrison • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    My favorite way to applique is to make faced appliques using light-weight interfacing or tulle. But I really like all the other ways, as well. I am even warming up to raw edge and fusible.

  • anne • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    I feel like a stalker! This looks like a really fun book and I’ve enjoyed visiting everyone’s blog!

    • anne • 7 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Oh… and I don’t really have a favorite appliqué technique. I’m hoping to learn new things from this book!

  • Heather M • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    I generally hand applique. I love the idea of this book. The modern shapes are very interesting and I haven’t seen anything like them before in applique.

  • Sue Neuber • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    Looking forward to the book. Great interview.

  • pam w • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    i blanket stich applique before so anything machine is ok. hand applique i dont have patients for.

  • Lisa Marie • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    My favorite way to applique really depends on what I’m working on. I love needleturn for its beauty and for being able to do so many different shapes. I love fusible for its quick results. And I love machine applique with turned edges for large simple shapes. Reading about this book though, I think there are some techniques that I haven’t tried, but would like to.

  • Barb in MI • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    Well, machine raw edge applique is the only technique I have tried. The book projects are beautiful and the quilting out of this world. Thanks for a chance!

  • Trish Frankland • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    I do not hand-stitch, so I thought I was doomed to a life of raw-edge fusible applique until I took a class on Hand-stitched Applique by Machine. She taught all kinds of techniques. I’ve been doing a lot lately stitching shapes to fusible stabilizer, then slashing the back and turning. Looks like needle-turn, but no hand-stitching!

  • Toni Arnold • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    I find applique adds so much to a quilt. I have a hand-appliqued project from long ago-WIP- so now I use fusible and stitching so projects get finished. This book sounds like something I would use a lot. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Melissa K • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    So far the only way I’ve appliqued is by machine. I’ve done zig zag and free motion raw edge, but I love handwork so I’d like to learn needle turn eventually.

    • ritainalaska • 7 years ago
      COMMENT #

      much prefer raw edge, but enjoy all the other ways to stick cutouts on fabric! love jenifer’s patterns! thanx for the chance to win a copy of her new book.

  • Lonormi Manuel • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    I am just beginning to explore modern appliqué, and this book would be a great help. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  • Myrna Wiebe • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    I have done some fusible and machine stitch edge, but also have a ‘lifetime’ needleturn project that I really hope to see completed before I die! This book looks awesome, really sweet projects, so fresh. Thanks for being part of the tour and doing the giveaway.

  • Tamie • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    I don’t have a favorite way to appliqué, hence my need for this book. I can needle turn but it involves lots of bad words and not lovely results.

  • Tonya Stewart • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    I like turn under applique as well as fusible applique!

  • Brenda • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    I like doing needle-turn applique. thanks for the chance to win.

  • Diane • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    I have only done fusible applique, but would like to learn other techniques. This book sounds fantastic. Thanks for your blog. Diane

  • Sherry VF • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    I do applique a fair amount. I get the best results (if the pieces are large enough) by backing the applique piece, sewing it together, turning it inside out and attaching it to the quilt using a blanket stitch. (There is probably a shorter term for all that.) I appreciate your story on applique endeavors. svonfumetti at yahoo dot com

  • Rhonda • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #21

    I have tried fusible + machine stitching which for the most part worked out ok. Still need quiet a bit more practice. Always willing to try a new challenge and Jenifer’s book sounds like a great place to start! Thanks for the chance to win it.

  • Melissa G. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    I, too, have an Hawiian appliqué pillow kit in a bin somewhere in my sewing room. I like all types of appliqué. I took a class from Nancy Brown and her method of hand appliqué has you appliqué your pieces to each other first and then stitch the whole thing to your background.

  • Debra Kay Neiman • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    I mostly have done blanket stitch around raw edge/fused applique, but like the needle turned look best. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  • Elizabeth Johnson • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    The only way that I have figured out is fusible and then sewing it down! This book looks amazing and I love to win a copy or take her class. For now the closest is read her book! Thank you!

  • Nancy N • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    I dabble in a many different ways to applique. Lately I have been doing a lot more by machine. Loved your review. Thanks for the chance to win the book

  • Karen Alexander • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    So sorry she didn’t fall in love with traditional needle turn. Unfortunately, like free motion quilting, it just requires practice to get good! But I love the zen of some hand work occasionally. Though machine work is fine too. Depends on my mood and how soon the work must get done. My favorite teachers for needle turn were those “Piece O Cake” gals – Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins… will have to get a copy of this book!

  • nicole • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    i always seem to have issues when I machine applique, so I guess I would say hand applique as those always come out perfectly fine! Dang all that instruction from grandma! LOL

  • Sandi • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #28

    I do needleturn applique’ but my blocks bunch up also. I have tried fusing and using a zigzag stitch but don’t do very well on the corners. I want to try the blanket stitch on applique’ but haven’t done that yet. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Jennifer’s book. I’m sure her tips will help me a lot.

  • Amy Lause • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #29

    My favorite applique method is needle turn (ouch! I know some people get freaked out about needle turn, it’s not so bad!) I just love the results. I’m really interested in a modern spin on applique, can’t wait to see this book! Thanks for sharing!

  • Alicia Key • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #30

    I’d love the book just to look at all the modern quilting!

  • linda schiffer • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #31

    I like to do ‘freezer paper on the back’ for hand applique … raw edge with embroidery on the machine.

    🙂 Linda

  • Susan the farm quilter • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #32

    Fusible, of course! But I quilt the dickens out of them so they will stay put!

  • patty • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #33

    I haven’t done very much applique yet, but would love to learn a fast, easy way to do it. I ironed under the seam allowance and then used a running stitch to keep it stitched under.

  • Terry H. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #34

    I’ve done fusible which I like but my favorite remains using wax paper and spray starch then hand sewing the shapes. But I would love to try Jennifer’s technique. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Jo Hobson • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #35

    I have tried needle turn (not a big fan), raw edge appliqué and some fusible appliqué with hand stitched button stitch.

  • Debbie M • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #36

    I usually do machine applique with the buttonhole stitch. With practice, I’ve got it down pat and whiz through it when I use it. Great review and interview. The book looks like it has lots of inspiration!

  • Diane • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #37

    I’ve only tried raw edge appliqué so far. I’m anxious to learn more techniques. This looks like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Tabitha K. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #38

    I’m very new, but I did try some applique but it is aggravating! I love how it looks in books and magazines but I can’t seem to get it yet. Thanks for a chance, I could really use the expertise in this book. I love what I’ve seen so far. 🙂

  • Tami Chaulk • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #39

    I love the look that applique brings to quilts, but I haven’t tried doing any as yet. I would love to win Jenifer’s book. It sounds like a technique that I would like to learn!

  • Lisa E • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #40

    I don’t do much applique but when I do, I usually fuse then satin stitch. I’m not that thrilled with that method, so I would love to learn something better!

  • Kimberj • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #41

    I’ve only ever done machine raw edge but I’d love to try invisible thread!

  • Lisa Bee-Wilson • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #42

    My favorite way to applique is needle turn. I took a class years ago, but I sure could use some inspiration! I love the look of applique, and especially the modern styles, just don’t do it very often. But I want to……..

  • Lisa McGriff • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #43

    I’ve actually never done applique, so this book would be a welcome addition to my life!

  • Ashley • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #44

    I’ve only tried machine applique (blanket stitch), but am looking forward to learning more!

  • Amy C • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #45

    I like to do raw edge applique and do the drawing-in-stitches over it.

  • quiltzyx/sue • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #46

    I would like to learn a new way to machine applique! pick me pick me!

  • Pattie C • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #47

    Machine applique is the easiest but I think taking the time to do needle turn will give the most beautiful results.

  • Jennifer L • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #48

    I’m new to applique so I have used the fusible web and then a blanket stitch. This book sure would teach me a lot more methods to try! Thank you for the chance at the give away for such a delicious book.

  • Nancy • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #49

    I did a little needle turn and it wasn’t too bad but the project, a small one, is still a UFO 10 years later. I did some of the type where you make it and turn it right side out………..3 tries to get a Columbine that didn’t resemble a Starfish and I probably did cuss when I washed the quilt with the fusible web and discovered that it dissolves in the washer/dryer. I used a glue stick at the time to repair the damage but I need to do some hand sewing to make it last so machine zigzag is very appealing right now.

  • Susan Stanton • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #50

    I machine raw edge applique with a blanket stitch. But I’m just starting so that’s all I know so far.

  • Evelyn • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #51

    I’ve tried all different kinds of applique through the years, both hand and machine. The technique I use at any given time pretty much depends on the project. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of raw edge machine applique.

  • Deborah • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #52

    I love when something clicks by either talking with someone, seeing a tutorial or reading about something similar and you know you’ve got it figured out and can do it! I hope you found the answer for your UFO. Thanks for a chance to win.

  • Michelle W • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #53

    I use fusible & machine stitching if it’s a wall hanging that won’t be washed. I enjoy hand applique with freezer paper but my new favorite is circles using coffee filters.

  • Sandy Cooper • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #54

    I haven’t done much applique, mostly wool. I would love to learn how to use the techniques in this book. Thank you for the opportunity.

  • Karrie Smith • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #55

    I haven’t done a lot of applique, but I use the zig-zag stitch around whatever I’m appliqueing

  • mjb • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #56

    I don’t do a lot of applique, but I’d like to do more, including reverse!

  • Becky Moyer • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #57

    My favorite method is machine applique. I haven’t developed the patience for hand applique yet. This book looks gorgeous!!

  • Pam S • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #58

    I do needle-turn applique because I like the results, but I would love to learn other methods. This book looks awesome! Thanks so much for the chance to win.

  • Deb • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #59

    I’m probably the most comfortable with zig zag.

  • Barb Kelly • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #60

    I like to machine applique. The satin stitch of the thread can give the pieces an extra bit of pop!

  • Hilary • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #61

    The applique stitch on my sewing machine is my bestfriend!

  • Lynn Wilson • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #62
  • Lynn Wilson • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #63

    My favorite technique is to use freezer paper templates for turning, glue basting, and machine stitch with invisible thread.

  • Joan H. • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #64

    I haven’t done much applique but the little I’ve done was button hole stitched byhand.

  • Kelly Cline Quilting (on FB) • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #65

    I am a long arm quilter so I don’t have much time for my own sewing ;( But, I have recently done applique on the quilt, on the frame. Kills two birds with one stone. Love it!

  • Lee • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #66

    I love to machine applique!

  • Shar F • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #67

    I like to machine applique. I need to learn other ways.

  • Geni Pickens • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #68

    I have done some machine applique but haven’t tried hand applique yet, however, it is on my bucket list!!

  • Dolores • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #69

    After having quilted for 30 plus years, I would have to say needle turn applique is my favourite. I have done some machine applique but not with invisible thread.

  • MoeWest • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #70

    Looks like a great book! Machine applique is my favourite.

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