Matchstick Applique -- the quickest method ever!

Matchstick Applique -- the quickest method ever!

Looking for a project that is really interesting and fun but also quick and easy??

I have a sneaky trick for you! It is the Matchstick Appliqué method!

There are lots of different finishing options that I teach with Scrappy Appliqué. They range from quick and simple to a bit more intricate. 

This option is the quickest and most simple of all! For all of the quilts in this post, the only sewing done are the quilting stitches!


I simply made my appliqué piece, fused it to the background, then made my quilt sandwich and quilted densely with straight lines! That's it!


Matchstick Applique

 No need to stitch around all the edges of your appliqué piece, like you do with most appliqué methods. For this method, simply:

  1. Make your appliqué piece (learn how to make a Scrappy Appliqué piece)
  2. Fused it to the background
  3. Make your quilt sandwich 
  4. Quilt densely with straight (matchstick) lines!

That's it!

Matchstick Quilting Tips

Here are a few tips for Matchstick Quilting. It is a simple technique, and like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it!


Baste well

Since you're quilting so densely, basting well is really important. This can take some time, but will be well worth it when you don't have puckers in your quilting! Whether you prefer to spray, pin, or thread baste, it doesn't matter, just make sure to take your time and make sure everything is smooth and tight.

Use your walking foot

This is not required, but your walking foot can be really helpful since it will insure the 3 layers in your quilt sandwich feed through evenly. 

Start in the center and work your way out

I draw a line down the center of my project either with a chalk pen or I'll use a strip of painters tape down the center to use as a guide. Sew your center line first, then line up your foot with the previous row as you quilt the next one. Work your way to one side of the quilt, then go back to the center and work your way out in the other direction. This smooths any puckers or excess fabric out.

Quilt Back and Forth 

I quilt down one row then up the next, back and forth, rather than quilting all of my rows in the same direction. This makes quilting faster because when you reach the end of a row, you can stitch a few stitches over to the side, then turn the quilt around and sew in the other direction. It also keeps your quilt sandwich square. If you quilt all in the same direction, it can skew the quilt sandwich. 



Embrace the Organic

A lot of quilters are nervous to try matchstick quilting because they worry their lines won't be perfectly straight. My answer to that-- don't worry about it!

If your lines aren't perfectly straight, don't call that a mistake, call it organic

These "organic" rows soften the effect in your quilt, giving a really lovely look. So, don't feel like you need to stress and get them perfect.  


A lot of quilters are intimidated by my Scrappy Appliqué technique at first because it seems really advanced or intricate. But it can be as simple as cutting, fusing, and quilting! 

If you'd like to try Scrappy Appliqué, we'd love for you to join us in the Scrappy Appliqué Workshop and Quilt Along! Learn the technique and get your project done alongside quilters from all around the world! Click here to learn more.  


I'd love to hear from you! Have you been afraid to try appliqué in the past or tried it and hated it? Do you think you can manage this method? Leave a comment below!

Back to blog


Thank you for the tutorial via PBS on the scrappy applique technique. It really made it easier for me to see what I need as far as supplies go. I am a theory/lab type of learner. thanks again


Can you do Scrappy Appliqué with flannel? I have some pastel flannel scraps that I think would look great using your bunny pattern.


Shannon, ypu are so generous with your knowledge and encouragement, tutorials and blogs. So much information to absob. Thank-you.


I love this look. I’m going to try it.

Carol Maples

I love the look of the matchstick quilting – but what kind of thread did you use? Interesting colors inn that thread…


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.