Hand-Sewn Quilting Series I: Appliqué

A Virtual Class with Sarah Nishiura

Appliqué, the art of stitching shapes to the surface of a fabric foundation, has been used throughout the world for thousands of years as way to embellish and add meaning to textiles. This workshop will consider appliqué’s use throughout history in various textile traditions and introduce students to the ways that the technique can be used to create their own unique block. Focusing on hand appliqué, students will learn traditional needle turning as well as various “tricks” that will help them to master a series of simple shapes and perfect their technique.

Friday, May 31st, 2024


12pm – 2:30pm ET*

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

$65 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 after the end of the series for you to watch at your convenience.


  • An 11” square piece of plain cotton fabric that will be the foundation of your finished square as well as extra foundation fabric for practicing the techniques
  • A selection of cotton scraps – quilt weight or lighter (these should be at least 3 to 5 inches)
  • Assorted threads to match the scraps
  • Heavy weight paper for templates (I like to use the covers of recycled magazines, catalogues, and other mail)
  • Fabric marking pencil or pen
  • Glue stick
  • Drawing paper or notebook and pencil (graph paper is useful but not necessary)


  • Iron and ironing surface
  • Fine needles (I like #8 sharps)
  • Straight pins
  • Ruler
  • Sharp scissors (small scissors are the best for this)
  • Paper scissors for cutting templates

Prior to the first class please cut out one 2- to 3-inch square of template paper, and one 2- to 3-inch circle of template paper (These do not need to be exact. You can trace objects you find around the house for this, i.e. the outline of a cup for your circle).

This class is part of the Hand-Sewn Quilting Primer Series.

Perfect for the beginner, our Hand Sewn Quilting Series aims to demystify the act of hand sewing a quilt block through a sequence of diverse forays into block construction. 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 six 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 six of our quilting classes to increase your confidence and skill in hand sewing quilt blocks. You can sign up for the entire series here.

Sarah Nishiura

Sarah Nishiura is a Chicago based quiltmaker who utilizes traditional techniques to craft quilts out of recycled and vintage materials. Inspired by numerous textile traditions including 19th and early 20th century American Quilts, Sarah’s work explores and celebrates the infinite possibilities of geometric design. Her quilts have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad, including the Iowa Quilt Museum, the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and the Yokohama Quilt Fest in Japan. Her quilts have been featured in numerous magazines and blogs, including Martha Stewart Living, QuiltFolk Magazine, Chicago Magazine, and Food and Wine, and they are included in private, corporate, and public art collections throughout the United States. Sarah’s work has been supported by grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Sarah has an MFA in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and a BA in visual arts from Brown University.
More information about Sarah’s studio practice can be found at:

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