Hand-Sewn Quilting Primer Series: Improv appliqué

A Virtual Class with Heidi Parkes

Join Heidi Parkes in this class to learn about improv appliqué. Heidi employs some visible hand piecing stitches to attach her appliqué, so the viewer can see the hand stitching. The class highlights turned edge appliqué, in a small and large scale. The large scale appliqué can look like piecing in certain applications, and the technique can be used for piecing too! The small scale applique is often done with a hoop, and can be very precise, or can be executed with a very relaxed approach. 

Heidi will share about the ways she uses improv hand piecing in her quilts, and will show a few examples of variations on the technique. We will also get nerdy and cover several areas of good craftsmanship in areas like the innie corner, acute angle, and curves. We will cover the running stitch, ladder stitch, and whip stitch, along with three favorite knots. This technique can easily scale up or down, so that this class will give you the skills needed to make a quilt block or a large quilt top.

Heidi will share some technique videos with students the week before class, so we can get busy sewing our blocks live together during class.

Thursday, October 13th, 2022


12pm – 2:30pm ET*

Zoom, a link will be send to participants the day before class

$60 for the individual class, $350 for the series

*This session will be recorded. A link to the recording will be emailed to all those who register following the live session. This link is live for one month for you to watch at your convenience.


  • Fabric-  One base piece at 11×11”, and additional pieces, small scraps work great.
  • Sewing needles, I like Dritz Milliners
  • Thread, I like DMC Pearl size 8 or Crochet cotton size 10
  • Pins, I like small appliqué pins
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery hoop, 4” to 6” is idealCardboard, like that from a cereal box
  • Aluminum foil
  • Iron & ironing surface (Ideally with steam and/or a water mister)
  • Thimble that fits your ring or middle finger  (I like the clover protect and grip)
  • Gripping thimble or gripping disk (This $5 discount link can be used to purchase a Little House Needle Gripper Silicone Thimble)(Optional) A mat cutter, rotary cutter, and 11” template.  Or, two pieces of printer paper, a ruler, and marking tool
  • Many of Heidi’s favorite materials can be easily found on her website.

This class is part of the Hand-Sewing Quilter Primer Series.

Perfect for the beginner, our Quilting Primer series aims to demystify the act of hand sewing a quilt block through a sequence of diverse forays into block constructing. While rooted in quilting’s history of using scrap fabrics to make beautiful coverlets, this series gathers contemporary voices and techniques to give the new sewist a set of skills and the confidence to take on an existing pattern or personal composition.

Exposure to seven unique teachers affords any sewist, seasoned or novice, the opportunity to witness varied approaches even within the same technique. Experiencing the series as whole is sure to provide a comprehensive foundation and will get you well on your way in a joyful practice of hand-sewn quilting.

The blocks from each class can then be assembled together in any way you like to represent a sampler of skills. They would also make great pillows or patches for another textile.

We hope you will join us for all seven of our quilting classes to increase your confidence and skill in hand sewing quilt blocks. You can sign up for the entire series here.

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Heidi Parkes

Before Heidi Parkes was born in Chicago, IL in 1982, her grandmother organized a collaborative family quilt to commemorate her birth. Now based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin her quilting and mending celebrate the hand, and her works tug at memories and shared experience. Often using specific textiles, like an heirloom tablecloth, bed sheet, or cloth tea bag, Heidi adds subtle meaning and material memory from the start. Engaging in the worlds of art, quilts, mending, and social media, Heidi is an advocate for the domestic realms, slow stitching, and mindfulness. Find her on Instagram and YouTube. She was a 2020-2021 ARTservancy Artist in Residence, and a 2005 graduate from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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