I often turn to applique quilts as my go-to for a baby quilt or kids quilt. I think it is because there are no limits to what you can do with an applique quilt.
You are free to fussy cut and choose an applique shape that you would have no hope of piecing traditionally and since there are so many lovely fabrics out their with motifs for kids and babies your creativity can go wild.
Below you will find a list of fun applique baby quilt patterns, some of them are free applique patterns and some are sold on Etsy by talented quilt designers who would be thrilled to sell their pattern.
If you are totally new to quilting you might not know what applique is.
In short, it is when you stitch a piece of fabric on top of your background fabric rather than piecing the two together.
In traditional quilt piecing you sew two pieces of fabric right side together and then open them up to find your pieces joined. With applique, you join them by stitching the applique shape on top instead.
The stitching can be done with a straight stitch but a zig-zag stitch or a blanket stitch are also popular in applique.
You can use various methods for applique including:
raw edge applique
needle turn applique
And within those broad categories, you will find many technique variations.
Many applique techniques require the use of fusible web or freezer paper as an additional tool to make the process easier.
The pattern writers in the list below will specify what type of applique the pattern requires and usually give you some instructions or let you know if they are assuming you have knowledge of the technique already.
If applique is totally new to you, look for the patterns that are described as ‘beginner friendly’.
The List of Applique Baby Quilt Patterns
21 + Applique Baby Quilt Patterns
This list includes free quilt patterns as well as quilt patterns for sale. I hope you find the perfect baby quilt design for you!
This is one of my free patterns for an easy I Spy Quilt that can be used as a baby quilt, toddler play blanket, or play mat. It's great for developing language skills when they are old enough to point and repeat words too!
There is so much to draw the eye of a child in this quilt - and so many opportunities to use up fabric scraps! From the strip piecing to the many colors of the cute woodland friends, you are sure to be able to make a dent in your scrap pile with this one!
This fun quilt has loads of opportunities for personalization from changing the words to changing the fabric colors to turn it from a crossword-themed quilt to a scrabble quilt depending on your preference!
This photo is a mock-up but the Etsy listing has some gorgeous real quilt photos that show the potential of this cute quilt with its bright colors!
If the pattern you are following calls for a fusible adhesive product and you haven’t used these before consider asking quilting friends (or a quilt shop) for small samples of different brands to experiment and see which one is your favorite. There is no right or wrong but many sewers have distinct preferences here. Popular brands include Heat n’ Bond, Misty Fuse, and Steam a Seam.
If you like the ease of raw edge applique but not the frayed edges you can buy products like fray check which stops your raw edges from fraying as much.
Don’t fancy cutting out complicated applique shapes by hand? I use my AccuQuilt cutter for many of my applique quilts. They have fabric-cutting dies in lots of fun shapes that work well for applique.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you wash an applique quilt?
Yes! As long as you have stitched your applique shapes on securely there is no problem washing your quilt as you would any other. If you have used a raw edge applique technique then expect some fraying at the edges of your shapes (many people like this look!), it won’t make the quilt less secure, it just gives it a loved and used look.
What is the best type of applique pattern for beginners?
Now…this depends on what kind of beginner you are! If you have done lots of hand sewing but not a lot of quilting then needle-turn applique might be just the thing for you.
However, if you are totally new to sewing and quilting my money is on raw-edge applique patterns as the easiest jumping-off point for a quick-win project that will give you the confidence to try other techniques moving forward.
Do you need a pattern for an applique quilt?
No! If you feel comfortable you could simply cut out a cute background fabric as the basis for your quilt top and applique scrappy circles on it to your own design (or another applique shape of course!).
Patterns are very useful if you want a particular size or look but you don’t have to use them if you have ideas of your own swimming around in your head!