Scrappy Bits Applique!

When I first proposed my appliqué book to Stash Books, Roxane Cerda (my acquisitions editor) let me know that they had a couple of other appliqué-centric books in the pipeline already. Of course, as an appliqué devoteé, I was eager to know what these other books were all about. One, Jenifer Dick’s superb Modern Appliqué Workbook, was released earlier this year, and you can see my review of it here. Another, Shannon Brinkley’s Scrappy Bits Appliqué was a pleasant surprise to me when it was first mentioned on the Stash Books blog.


I didn’t know Shannon when I first read about her book, but I was fascinated with her style and appliqué technique. I’ve read a lot about improvisational quilting, and even taken a couple of classes, and, to my eye, Shannon’s collaged appliqué technique encompassed all of the positive aesthetic qualities of improv quilting. Then I learned that she achieves these effects without using improv piecing, which was a bit of a surprise to me.


Needless to say, I was incredibly excited when Shannon asked me to create a project using her technique as part of the blog tour for her new book. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her book, learn more about the how-to aspects of her mosaic technique, and apply it to one of my own appliqué patterns.


Scrappy Bits Appliqué is a bit of a fusion between a technique-centric book and a project-centered book. In the first half, Shannon guides you step-by-step through the process of creating the fabric collages from which she creates her raw-edge appliqué quilts. Shannon includes a couple of different alternatives for each step of the collaging process, which I loved; these alternative techniques make it easy to adapt her methods and style to using whatever materials you happen to have on hand, and whatever processes you feel most comfortable with. The second half of the book includes instructions and patterns for creating eight projects ranging from pillows and wall-quilts to full-sized lap quilts, so you can put your new fabric collaging skills to good use. She also includes a gallery of other projects she has made using her techniques, which is incredibly inspiring if you’re thinking of using her methods to create your own designs.


I have to admit that, while I buy lots of crafting books for their inspirational value, I don’t often actually make projects from them. I love to read these books to learn new techniques, but when it comes to my limited crafting time, I usually find myself drawn more to making the things I’ve designed myself. So one of the things I love most about Shannon’s book is that she encourages her readers to adapt her techniques for use in their own designs and projects.


When Shannon gave me the option of creating my own projects using her techniques, I immediately knew what I wanted to make. I’d had this ice cream cone idea floating around in my head for a while, waiting for the right project. Shannon’s fabric mosaics have a painterly quality that reminds me of the work of Wayne Thiebaud–who is known for his paintings of sweets and pastries, among other subjects–and I instantly knew that I wanted to try to channel that look into my project.


I found Shannon’s instructions for her technique quick and easy to follow, and I loved the immediacy of the process of creating the fabric collage. Once the collaged “fabric” was completed, I cut the applique shape from it, and I really like the contrast of improvisational, raw-edge mosaic with the smooth, abstract shape of the finished appliqué. I chose to combine my topstitching process and quilting process, and I love the interplay of textures that the quilting and fabric collage create on the surface of the finished pillow.


If you’d like to learn more about Scrappy Bits Appliqué, Shannon has put together a great video trailer that you can view on YouTube, or at the C & T Publishing blog here. You can take a look inside her book at I also highly recommend that you visit some of the other stops on her book’s blog tour!

8/12: C & T Publishing Blog
8/13: Pellon
8/14: I’m a Ginger Monkey
8/15: Quilter’s Newsletter Blog

8/16: Sew Mama Sew!
8/17: Casey York
8/18: Generation Q

8/20: Going Home to Roost
8/21: Bottle Tree

Shannon and C&T have generously provided me with a copy of her book to give away! To enter, please leave me a comment about what type of applique design you might like to make using Shannon’s collaging technique. I’ll draw a winner at random on Sunday, August 24, and they will receive a copy of Scrappy Bits Applique! International entries are welcome, and will receive an electronic copy of the book if selected. I can’t wait to read all of your ideas about what you would make!



35 thoughts on “Scrappy Bits Applique!

  1. My SIL has some ideas of things she wants made with certain animals on them and some are not things I’ve seen patterns for (like a quail, I think) so this applique technique could be just the answer. Looks like fun!

  2. * please accept my apologies in advance for this very wordy comment. Last fall, while visiting my niece in Southern California, I took her daughter for a walk the morning after some very strong winds went through the area. In one of the leafless deciduous trees, was an arc shaped pattern of huge, brown, palm fronds. They had blown off the palm tree that towered above it. The beautiful display of fronds spread across the street, onto the sidewalk, with the final one stuck in the chain link fence of a school playground. Of course, I whipped out my phone and took a million pictures. I’ve been trying to think of a way to transfer that sense of movement-and this is it!!! Thanks for indulging me, and the giveaway of course.

  3. I like the tree quilt and also the elephant– I think taking the elephant idea, I could make a few fabulous baby quit. an elephant , a giraffe etc

  4. I am obsessed with Shannon Brinkley’s book and style. And I have to say, I love your blog site. I love all animals but especially horses and would like to try her style with a horse. I have a painting from Sienna, Italy of 2 horses head on, during the annual race they have through the streets and it’s background remind me of her style. I think it would be perfect! Thank you for being part of her blog tour. Such a clever idea.

  5. I love the idea of scrappy appliqué patches. Sounds like fun. My husband and I love to travel and have visited all 50 states. I would love to do the map of the USA and maybe add a bit of embroidery to highlight places that we particularly enjoyed.

  6. This would make my day. I have been trying to learn all types of applique. I fell in love with it and now I would love to make my own. I would love to make a little monkey quilt that I designed myself.

  7. I have been designing (in my head) an applique project which includes a tree. I like the idea of the collage piecing. It would work well for the tree leaves.

  8. I LOVE your ice cream pillow! I would love to use her tree idea and make a custom quilt for my room that is nature inspired (leaves, branches and maybe birds). Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

  9. I love learning new techniques to add to my toolbox. Especially the ones for my own design uses!! But I must admit I would probably make the fox or map firstly. I think my 4 year old son would love the map!!

  10. Loooove the Tree…very cool! But the Icecream Cone is AWESOME!!! Would make the Pillow for my Grangirlie!! Love this new way to applique…even tho I am a really new to Applique person…Workin on 1st project now..2 Wallhangings.

  11. This book looks amazing! I adore your ice cream cone– may just adapt that for a pillow for my front porch swing! Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. I love the world map quilt and the birds on the branches. I love to applique, and have seen many books with patterns, but this book is special! The fresh patterns and scrappy style look like great fun!

  13. I have so many ideas, I have never appliqued but am anxious to start creating . I want to make castles and princes for my Granddaughter, mountains view from our land in Tenn. also want to do nature scenes. Little applique for some T-shirts also. Thanks for sharing your quilts, they are awesome, looks like what my style would be.

  14. Pingback: The Dryad Collection by Shannon Brinkley |

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