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Applique Tutorial: Make Easy Appliques

applique tutorial featured image

This easy applique tutorial was originally part of my Team Spirit quilt pattern.  Now I share it as a separate FREE tutorial for anyone to use.  Create your own applique patterns of any size! As far as I know, it’s fine to create a pattern/project from any image you like.  Just don’t try to sell it, as licensing fees might kick in.

My applique tutorial will help you create an applique pattern using a picture or graphic you find online. Use just about ANY picture or graphic.  Follow the detailed but very basic process with lots of visuals.  Are you familiar with  Adobe Illustrator or PhotoShop? You can save yourself several steps and quite a bit of time.  This tutorial is designed for those who don’t have any experience with those software programs.

Do you have a hard copy of your chosen design printed up? You may be able to skip the beginning steps of this process. Take it to a local printer that can blow it up to the correct dimensions and print it out for you.  If you choose to do this, pick up the applique tutorial at Step 13, on page 29.

Here are a few suggestions/guidelines before we get started:

  • Find the simplest version of the picture or graphic you want to use, with the fewest colors and details.
  • Be prepared to further simplify as you go through the process to make the final steps easier on yourself!
  • I decided to follow a visual route when walking you the process.  Screen shots and photos are accompanied by brief descriptions.
  • I’m using Windows Live Photo Gallery and Paint to create this pattern.
  • Please send me an email at if you have any questions or need any help!

Applique Tutorial

Step 1

Find a picture or graphic online that works for you.  Right click with mouse or mouse pad and select Save Image As…to save it.  Be sure to name it and save it in a file where you can easily find it!

applique tutorial step1

Step 2

Double-click on the image you’ve saved to open in Photo Gallery.  If you are using a JPG file, you can open it directly in Paint and skip to Step 5.  My image is a PNG file, so I have to use Photo Gallery first.

applique tutorial step 2

Step 3

Click on Edit, organize or share to open your image for editing.  If this action opens a window with multiple images, simply double click on your image to complete the process.

applique tutorial step 3

Step 4

Click on Make a copy to save your file in JPG format.  As far as I know, you cannot work with a PNG file in Paint.

applique tutorial step 4

applique tutorial step 4.1

Step 5

Locate the JPG image file and double click on the image.  When you come to the Edit, organize or share screen, go to File and select Open with and Paint.

applique tutorial step 5

Step 6

With your image open in Paint, click in the upper left corner and select Properties.

applique tutorial step 6

Step 7

Change the Units selection to Inches and select OK

applique tutorial step 7

Step 8

Now comes the fun!  If you use Illustrator or PhotoShop, you know that changing dimensions is quick and easy.  With Paint, we have to resize the image by percentages, and no more than 500% at a time.  The dimensions (at the bottom of the screen) start at 3.02″ x 2.64″.  For demonstration purposes, we will say that the quilt panel we are working with measures 35.75″w x 24″h, so we need to get closer to that!

applique tutorial step 8

Step 9

Select Resize at the top of your screen…

applique tutorial step9

…and enter 500 in the Horizontal and Vertical resize boxes.  Make sure you have Percentage selected.  Select OK

applique tutorial step 9.1

You can see how much bigger the image is now!  Check the dimensions at the bottom of the screen…15.11″ x 13.19″.  Better, but we’re not there yet.  You may need to resize several times to get the size you need.  For this quilt’s center panel, I found that a first resize of 500% and second resize of 165% seemed to do the trick…

applique tutorial step 9.2

…24.92″ x 21.77″ – I think we are good to go!  At this point, you can save your file as a JPG and take it or send it to a print shop to have it printed up actual size, then skip to Step 13 for tracing and fine-tuning.  If you prefer to print it up yourself on your home printer, follow along…

applique tutorial step 9.3

Now it’s time to print.  Don’t worry about perfection at this point!  We still have to print the image up actual size, put it together and retrace it.  It’s much easier to fine tune in later steps.

Step 10

Go back to the upper left of the screen and select Print and Print Preview.

applique tutorial step 10

Step 11

Review your Page Setup selections to be sure you get the best results…

applique tutorial step 11

…Set your margins at .25″ on all sides, and make sure Scaling is set at Adjust to:  100% normal size.  Select OK.

applique tutorial step 11.1

Follow along with the next several screen shots to ensure your printer is set up properly and print your image.

applique tutorial step 11.2

applique tutorial step 11.3

applique tutorial step 11.4


applique tutorial step 11.5

If you’ve used your home printer, you probably have several pages.  Now it’s time to put your puzzle together!

Step 12

Lay your printed pages on a table and put them in the correct order.  Tape them together, trimming off edges as needed.

applique tutorial step 12

Step 13

Trace your design onto plain white paper.  Create a black and white outline by eliminating any unnecessary details.  This will make your fabric appliqué process much easier!

  • Use a light box for smoother tracing.  If you don’t have a light box, you can tape your image to a large window.  Tape the pattern paper over it to trace.  Daylight works really well!!
  • Rolls of pattern paper (plain white paper) are available from most office and art supply stores.  You may still need to piece it a little, but you won’t have multiple pieces of printer paper to deal with.

Once you have finished tracing your image, you can retrace it using a fine tip black marker – but that’s optional.  You might also want to make a second tracing to have a back-up copy on hand.

applique tutorial step 13

Step 14

Cut out your appliqué pieces.  Lay them out and measure to determine fabric requirements.

I hope you find this applique tutorial helpful.  Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement!




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DIY Home Decor Envelope Pillow Tutorial

diy home decor

Looking for easy DIY home decor ideas? Follow this easy DIY envelope pillow tutorial and make your own home accents!

Decorative pillows make such a difference in every room of the house.  Pillows that can be switched out easily are an added plus.  An envelope pillow cover is designed to be easily removed and used as a changeable decorative touch.  Use one pillow form (or an existing square pillow) and switch out covers depending on the season, your decor, or a whim.  Easily remove the cover for cleaning.  Follow these easy steps to create an envelope back for your next pillow project!

Measuring and Cutting

This tutorial is for a 14″ square pillow.  Here’s how to measure and cut for any size pillow:

  1. Measure length and width of your pillow (for example: 18″wide x 14″long)
  2. Add 1″ to the width to create 1/2″ seam allowance on each side (18″ + 1″ = 19″wide).
  3. Add 4″ to the length (14″ + 4″ = 18″ long)
    1. Divide this number by 2 (9″)
  4. Cut two fabric pieces 19″wide x 9″long
  5. Continue with Step 2 below


  1. Cut two pieces of selected fabric 15”w x 9”l
  2. Fold over 1/4” on one long edge of each piece and press, then fold over another 3/4” on the same edges and press.
  3. Stitch close to Inner Fold using a straight stitch.
  4. Measure 2” down on one piece and mark across.
  5. Place one piece over the other, aligning outside edge of top piece with marked line on bottom piece.
  6. Baste to hold pieces together.  I’ve used different patterns to help you see the pieces.
  7. I recommend attaching a few snaps or Velcro to the envelope opening.  This will help keep the pillow closed if you’re using a firmly stuffed pillow form or pillow.
  8. You are now ready to complete your pillow.

DIY home decor some more!

Now that you’ve made one envelope pillow cover, indulge your inner DIY home decor diva! Make covers for Christmas, Valentines Day, July 4th, and more.  They fold up to store easily, and make celebrating just a little more fun.

Speaking of holidays, our Love You the Most pillow cover design is a great Valentines idea. Make one for your sweetheart, or make a few in coordinating prints for a romantic touch in any room.  Make them modern and colorful, make them traditional, make them with boho style!  Just make them.  Purchase the Love You the Most pillow cover pattern HERE!

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Pillow Tutorial: Easy Bias Covered Cord

pillow tutorial bias cord

In this easy pillow tutorial, I’ll show you how to make your own bias covered cording.  Bias covered cording is SO much easier than most people think, and it’s really not scary at all!  Making your own DIY cording allows you to use matching or coordinating fabric to create the perfect accent.  Simply cut the bias strips, fold them around cord filler and stitch.

Fabric Calculation

For a 14″x14″ pillow you will need about 64″ of bias strips, so you’ll need about 5/8 yard of 42″ wide fabric and 1 7/8 yd of 3/8″ cotton piping filler cord. Follow the steps below to make covered cord and add it to a pillow top.  Add custom covered cord to any project – just measure around the piece and visit one of the many guides available online to calculate the yardage you need. Here’s one I like!

Pillow Tutorial

Prepping and Cutting

  1. Lay cording fabric wrong side up and flat on your work surface, selvage edges running vertically.  Fold one corner over on a diagonal to create a 45° angle.  (The ruler here just shows the correct angle)
  2. Press along the diagonal fold to crease the fabric.  This provides a guide line for cutting your strips.
  3. Open up fabric to see the ironed crease.  I’ve marked it here to make it easier for you to see.
  4. Cut 1 1/2” wide bias strips with a rotary cutter and quilter’s ruler, or draw parallel lines and cut with scissors.  (I’ve switched to a solid fabric for this step.)

    Stitching Strips

  5. Stitch the two strips together at a 45° angle to make the seam “disappear”.  Lay one strip on surface, right side up.  Lay second strip on top at a right angle, right side down.
  6. Use a ruler to mark a 45° line from corner to corner.  Pin and stitch strips together along the marked line, using a straight stitch.
  7. Trim seam to 1/4”.
  8. Press seam open.

    Cord construction

  9.  Center cord filler on top of strip.  Fold strip over firmly, matching raw edges.  Pin in place.  Stitch close to cord filler using a zipper foot and straight stitch, being careful not to catch cord filler.  You’ve just made custom bias cording!pillow tutorial bias cord

Putting it all together

  1. Lay pillow top face up on work surface.
  2.  To reduce bulk at seam line, pull back bias strip at starting edge.  Cut about 1″ off the end of cord filler.Pull bias strip back over, creating a flattened section at starting edge.
  3. Pull bias strip back over, creating a flattened section at starting edge.
  4. Pin covered cord to pillow top, raw edge to the outside, corded edge to the inside.  Pin in place. Leave about 1 1/2” free at starting edge.  Align starting edge with raw edge of pillow top.
  5. Clip into bias binding at each corner to help cording lay flat and curve sweetly around the corners, being careful not to clip into your stitching.
  6. Continue pinning cord to pillow top, leaving about 1 1/2″ at end point.  Stitch close to cord filler using straight stitch and zipper foot.

Create a simple, one-piece back pillow using the pillow top, or learn how to make an envelope-back pillow here.

I hope this pillow tutorial eased your mind about making bias covered cord! Now that you know how easy it is, add this custom finishing touch to all of your pillow projects.

My Love You the Most pillow cover design makes a great gift, and adds a romantic touch to any room. Make one for your sweetheart, or make a few in coordinating prints.  Make them modern and colorful, make them traditional, make them with boho style!  Just make them.  Purchase the Love You the Most pillow cover pattern HERE

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DIY Pillow Idea: Add Decorative Cord

diy pillow

Adding decorative cord is an easy DIY pillow idea that can really dress up a pillow!  There are so many beautiful decorative cords available.  Visit your local fabric store or shop online.  Don’t limit yourself to home decor trims. You’ll find fashion trims that will do very nicely!  I’m sure you’ll find the perfect finishing touch for your project.

Follow a few simple steps to apply your purchased cord like a pro.  If you’d like to make custom bias covered cord, visit my tutorial (click here) and you’ll find it’s a breeze!

Pillow Prep

  1. Stitch around the pillow using desired seam allowance, leaving 5-6” on the bottom edge for stuffing.  Round your corners as shown in this illustration for square (but not too pointy!) finished corners.  NOTE:  If using a pillow form, I suggest you leave an 8-10” opening.
  2. Trim and clip corners.  Turn pillow right side out.  IF corners are too sharp, restitch them.  Stuff with Polyfill to desired fullness or insert pillow form.  Slip-stitch bottom closed, leaving about 1″ open to insert cord end.

    Applying decorative cord

  3. Insert starting edge of cord in opening space.
  4. Slip-stitch cording around pillow.
  5. Wrap tape around the end of cord to prevent raveling.  Cut off excess in the middle of tape.
  6. Insert end into opening and finish stitching cord to pillow.  Close opening and connect ends smoothly.

    I hope you like this easy DIY pillow idea! Adding a decorative finishing touch to a pillow doesn’t come any easier than this.

    My Love You the Most pillow cover design makes a great gift, and adds a romantic touch to any room. Make one for your sweetheart, or make a few in coordinating prints.  Make them modern and colorful, make them traditional, make them with boho style!  Just make them.  Purchase the Love You the Most pillow cover pattern HERE

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Are You Ready for Some Football?

are you ready for some football

Are you ready for some football? If you love football as much as I do, you ARE ready!  A chill in the air (unless you live in Florida!), cheerleaders, drill teams and school bands…and NFL Fantasy Football!  I love it all – getting together with friends to watch the games, nibbling on delicious snacks, and maybe sipping on a frosty beverage.  There’s just nothing like it!

I’ve pinned a bunch of yummy appetizers, drink recipes, and games on my Football Ready Pinterest board.  Check it out!

IF you’re looking for a great way to show your team spirit year round, create a quilt to keep you warm and decorate your space.  The right quilt makes a colorful graphic addition to any room.  Throw it on the bed or hang it on the wall!

We have four sports themed quilt designs available at Janice Holden Designs:  Team Spirit, School Spirit, Go Team, and Cheer Squad

Team Spirit

are you ready for some footballTeam Spirit was designed as a Christmas gift for a young Oregon Ducks fan.  It’s a fun, flexible quilt design. It’s modern and bright, works for guys and girls, and it’s a lot of fun to make! Customize it for your school, team, or sport.  The instruction book is easy to follow, and practically guarantees success!

Customize the football helmet with your favorite athlete or fan’s name and team colors.  You might even add their jersey number or graduation year! A Team Spirit quilt makes a wonderful gift for birthdays and graduations.  College kids love it as dorm room decor too!

Approximate size: 55 3/4″ x 75 1/2″

School Spirit

are you ready for some footballAre your team colors red, white and grey? Check out School Spirit.  It’s the same pattern as Team Spirit, tailored for schools whose colors are red, white & grey.

The quilt at left was made by an Ohio State fan, using the School Spirit pattern. The center panel pattern is not included in the pattern download.

I developed an easy, step-by-step applique tutorial you can use to create your own pattern for the center panel (or any other project!).

Approximate size: 55 3/4″ x 75 1/2″

Go Team!

are you ready for some footballGo Team was designed for my niece, an alumni of University of Florida. This design combines a gradient center panel made up of is modern, bright, bold, and fun. What a great way to celebrate your school and team spirit! It can be customized for any school, team, or sport.

Go Team is another truly flexible pattern design. Use the four motif/logo blocks to display mascots, logos, etc. Follow my easy tutorial to create your applique patterns, or create your block designs using embroidery software.

Approximate size: 59″ x 70″

Cheer Squad

are you ready for some footballCheer Squad is a queen-sized version of the original Team Spirit design.

I enlarged the main section of the original design to keep the Team Spirit feeling.  A few borders in coordinating print fabrics have been added to bring the quilt to a generous queen size.

Approximate size: 87 1/4″ x 105 1/2″

Due to licensing restrictions, patterns do NOT include team-specific or school-specific patterns.  Use the patterns provided, or follow the Easy Applique Tutorial to create your own patterns.  Create patterns from schools and sports teams to superheros and princesses.  I’ve got you covered.

If you’re an Oregon Ducks fan, pick up my FREE applique pattern HERE.  It’s a perfect fit in the Team Spirit center panel.

Show your team or school how much you care.  Create your quilt today!

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Easy Art Ideas Using Applique Patterns

easy art ideas

Looking for easy art ideas? Applique patterns make great patterns for painting, paper crafts, and more!  What is an applique, you say?

From the Merriam Webster dictionary: an applique is a cutout decoration fastened to a larger piece of material.  Quilters decorate quilt tops by fusing and stitching appliques to a base fabric.  Fashion designers use them to embellish clothing.

There are tons of applique patterns available!  Some are free, others may cost a few dollars.  Over all, they are very inexpensive.

Take my “Love Those Shoes!” pattern designs, available for download right here at Janice Holden Designs.   Gabrielle – a fun take on Chanel style.  Fashionista – disco ready platform pump.  Oh La La – a stiletto mule with maribou trim.  Over the Rainbow – a  sky-high rainbow wedge sandal.  I designed these fun, colorful shoes several years ago, when I started designing and painting needlepoint canvases, and they were such a hit!  I’ve used them on note cards, in calendars…even Christmas cards.

A few years ago, I decided to focus more on sewing and quilting patterns and “Poof!” they magically transformed into applique patterns that make really sweet pillows, wall hangings, quilt blocks, and more.  If you can sew, you can easily follow these patterns to create pillows and wall hangings.

Late last year, I started thinking about other uses for applique patterns, and came up with a pretty good list of easy art ideas.  Here are just a few:

  • Trace and paint them onto canvases, wooden signs, walls, floors, even furniture and plates
  • Create a stencil by tracing the pattern onto stencil plastic and sponge-paint them on all of the stuff above.
  • Roll out fondant and use the pattern or stencil to cut out decorative accents for cakes.
  • Create banners, table signs and more by tracing on card stock, cutting and assembling pieces.
  • What else can you think of?