Technique Tuesday: Edge-Coloring Appliqué

Greetings fellow thread lovers and welcome to Technique Tuesday, the first of four technique-based tutorials featuring Aurifil thread. We’re nearing the 1 year anniversary of the Aurifilosophy Special Exhibit at Fall 2019 International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX and we wanted to shine a light on the brilliant makers included with their remarkable methods.  

Many thanks to Aurifilosophers Barbara Persing, Patricia Belyea, Annie Smith, and Karen L. Miller for sharing their time proven techniques with us.

This week we’re focusing on Edge-Coloring Appliqué by Aurifil Designer and Aurifilosopher Barbara Persing… Barbara helps demystify a technique that is intimidating for some but oh-so-freeing for others. We are so grateful to her for sharing her extensive knowledge with us!

Barbara has been perfecting her now famous Edge-Coloring Appliqué technique for years. She makes the most impressive pictorial appliqué quilts by combining Aurifil 40wt thread with richly hued fabrics from her Island Batik collections.

Here are a few of Barbara’s stunning creations.

We think they are simply spectacular and adore everything Barbara prepares using this technique. We are especially thrilled that she uses Aurifil 40wt thread exclusively for the appliqué and quilting of her fiber art.  

For the 2019 Aurifilosophy Special Exhibit, Barbara broke down the process for edge-coloring and shared her go-to notions for us – let’s walk you through it.

— Begin by tracing the appliqué designs onto freezer paper, numbering them as you go for future identification. The shapes need not be reversed. Use freezer paper from the kitchen drawers or purchase special appliqué freezer paper that has a little more heft.

— Use a dry iron to press the freezer paper to the right-side of the fabric.   Avoid overheating or overpressing the freezer paper as doing so may make the paper more difficult to remove.

— Cut through the freezer paper and fabric on the traced line, leaving the freezer paper attached for stability and to preserve its identification. Barbara loves to use serrated edge scissors by Karen Kay Buckley for this step. The serrated scissor edge helps grip the fabric and paper for clean and precise cuts.

— Using Roxanne’s Glue Baste It™ with the special syringe applicator apply a bead of glue to the wrong-side of fabric along the outside edge.

— Position the applique on the background fabric and finger press in place. Leave the freezer paper attached ONLY while the glue is drying, allowing for stabilization of the unit.  Once the glue is fully dry the freezer paper should immediately be removed.

— Once all pieces are cut, glued, positioned, and dried, prepare to machine appliqué the edge.

— Before stitching, layer the background with an iron-on, tear-away stabilizer. Barbara uses Totally Stable ™ by Sulky for this step.

— Choose thread colors to complement the appliqué fabric. Barbara uses Aurifil 40wt on top and 40 or 50wt in the bobbin.

— With a free motion, embroidery, or darning foot and a simple straight stitch fill the edge of the appliqué in 2″ sections, feathering or blending into the background fabric as necessary. Remember this is supposed to be fun and slightly messy. Aurifil 40wt thread is truly perfect for this application. The weight and strength allows ease of stitching through the layers of fabric, glue, and stabilizer.

— Once the appliqué edge-stitching is complete, carefully remove the stabilizer.

— Prepare for quilting by layering with your favorite batting and chosen backing fabric.

— Quilt with Aurifil 40wt thread in the top and bobbin. Vary the color and hues of the thread to create depth and texture to your piece.

Again, Aurifil 40wt is a perfect choice for free motion quilting and adding a bit of thread blending.

— Once complete sit back and admire an amazingly beautiful appliquéd quilt done entirely by machine.  

Have you tried this method? We’d love to see anything you’ve created with it. Make sure to tag us in your images so we can cheer you on! 

Many thanks to Barbara for sharing the Edge-Coloring Appliqué technique with us.


Born in New Jersey, Barbara Persing stepped into the world of fabric and thread over 30 years ago, acquiring the love of quilting and sewing from her mother. Her journey in this arena originated in traditional quilting; but curiosity and creativity soon moved her outside and beyond the box of conventional quilting.

The new millennium reinvented Barbara from a hobbyist of quilting into a proprietor of her own Longarm Quilting business, addressing customers that longed for pieces that displayed individuality. She attributes embracing a self developed mantra “Listen to the Quilt” as a great contributor to her business’ success.  Those four words empowered her to deliver unparalleled and personalized quilting to each and every project she acquired. 

Through the enormous diversity of her clients desires and needs Barb’s style of quilting expanded, opening the doors to an array of techniques. Her talent and expertise advanced; in 2006 she became known in the quilting industry for her unique design aesthetic. In addition, the year found Barbara partnering with her sister, Mary Hoover.  Together they would establish a pattern company, “4th & 6th Designs,” which has been featured in Keepsake Quilting and in many other national quilting magazines. 

 The term “quilter” does not define Barbara; she has proven herself an acknowledged fiber artist, designer, author, and teacher.  Major accomplishments such as her fabric lines with Island Batik, “Pink Peony” the first place award winning quilt at AQS Lancaster, and her co-authored publication, “StrataVarious Quilt” and “Listen To Your Quilt” has demonstrated that venturing outside the box can bring incredible life changing events.  As a Aurifil Designer, and producer of the signature “edge-coloring appliqué” technique this solo artist reaches out to new and seasoned quilters during lectures, classes, and publications nationwide. Her message to all those she encounters is simply this, “Never hold yourself to one style, or one technique of quilting; dare yourself to step outside your quilting box and become a one of a kind artist”.  


At Aurifil we believe that education is key… that sharing extensive knowledge and truths on the construction, nature, and behavior of Aurifil threads will inspire, educate, and enable all makers to achieve brilliant results.

With that in mind, we’ve trained and certified a team of dynamic, charismatic, and brand-loyal designers, artisans, and educators to offer Aurifilosophy programs using a structured presentation and thread demonstration.

Aurifilosophers will travel the countryside to educate on thread basics, including information on weight and ply, spool positioning, needle recommendations, and tension settings. They’ll offer helpful tips and tricks and will share projects and photos aimed to inspire and expand your creative use of Aurifil threads. At each Aurifilosophy event, program attendees will receive a bag of exclusive Aurifil swag!

To learn more about Aurifilosophy, view upcoming events, or locate an Aurifilosopher to speak at your shop, guild or group event, check out our website.


  1. Interesting; to clarify, are you using fusible web under the appliqués pieces or just using glue?

    1. Lisa – thank you for the question. The applique pieces do not include fusible web — they are attached only with glue along the outside edge. This allows the applique to ‘float’ in a sense and not be ironed flat against the background fabric. Does this help?

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