Top Techniques for Pictorial Quilts


When considering making a pictorial quilt, the sky’s the limit when it comes to techniques!

Take a look at the list of techniques used by AQS Quilt Contest winners:

  • Fused Applique w/ Machine Applique: Fuse applique with machine applique was the most popular technique used for the 2018 AQS Spring Paducah Quilt Contest. Pauline Salzman used fuse applique to create ALLY’S APPS finished off with machine applique.


  • Fabric Painting: Fabric painting is the second most popular pictorial technique and seems to grow more popular each year. Gayle Pulley hand painted a wholecloth to create her, THREE THIEVING CROWS quilt.

  • Hand Applique: Leah Gravells used hand applique for her quilt, I MUST GO DOWN TO THE SEA AGAIN, along with hand embroidery, silk ribbon embroider, Tsukineko Inks, and improvisational piecing.

  • Hand Dyeing: OR-7 illustrates the effectiveness of hand dyed fabrics to create impact. Christina McCann’s use of custom-created colors gives her pictorial quilt intensity.

  • Thread Painting: Maria Ferri Cousins uses thread painting to create detail and texture in her amazing quilt, ENDANGERED – THE LEMUR’S TALE.


  • Thread Sketching: Mikyung Jang showcases her thread sketching skills in her quilt, AT SEVENTEEN.


  • Digital Fabric Printing: THE END OF SEASON by Jan Berg-Rezmer cleverly uses digital fabric printing mixed with fused applique, hand dyeing, fabric painting, and thread work.


Want to give some of these a try?

Fused Applique

Leanne Anderson is one of the best at fused applique. She teaches all the tricks in her iquilt class, Fast & Fun Raw Edge Applique.

Fabric Painting

Relax with Mickey Lawler as she teaches how to apply paint to fabric for a natural effect in her class, Creative Fabric Painting for Landscapes.

Thread Painting

Melinda Bula teaches thread painting techniques in her class, Renegade Thread Play

Thread Sketching

Thread Portraits with Teri Henderson Tope

For more great technique classes, visit iquilt today!

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It’s always nice to see my name in print, but the quilt pictured is not my quilt. I used fused appliqué and machine stitching on “Bella Donna” that placed Honorable Mention in the Fall 2017 Paducah Show. “Ally’s App”, the quilt pictured, belongs to someone else who would surely love the credit. ?

Good Morning Betty, Thank you for letting us know. Pauline Salzman created Ally’s App. The mistake is corrected. Thanks, Betsey

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