Modern Appliqué Illusions Book Tour+ Giveaway!


We are so thrilled to be a stop along the Modern Appliqué Illusions blog tour! We adore Casey York’s designs, love her use of color and perspective, and of course love how much she loves our Wonder-Under®. We are so thrilled to have a chance to chat with Casey, to learn more about her background, her inspirations behind the book, and some tricks of the trade to help you all in creating your very own illusionistic quilts.

Hi Casey! Thanks so much for joining us today!! To get started, can you give us a little background about yourself? 
Thanks, Erin! I’ve been sewing since childhood so, although I focused on making clothing during that period, fabric and thread have always been a creative outlet for me. I even designed stuffed animals and prom dresses as projects for my independent-study art classes in high school.

In college, I fell in love with art history and decided to pursue a career in that field. However, by the time I had almost finished my degree, it had become apparent that searching for a job as a professor might not be feasible–my husband and I had two children and he had settled into a job that wouldn’t permit me to move around the country the way you normally have to when looking for a tenure-track position. Also, I had really missed having a creative outlet while in grad school–I joke that it should have been clear to me that I was meant to be in a design field when I wanted to spend more time designing posters for lectures than I did doing research.

When did you first start quilting and what inspired you to start?
I started quilting when my first son was born. I wanted to make him a crib set, and after I made that first quilt, I was hooked–I couldn’t wait to make another one. Quilting really shifted from a hobby to a career pursuit about three years ago however. Interestingly enough, that transition was also spurred by designing and making quilts for my sons, which led to publishing stand-alone patterns. I feel so lucky to be working at something that I love so much.

14376887746_563e2de9e4_z[Grand Canal, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York]

When did you first start working with appliqué in your designs?
From the very beginning–that very first quilt I made when Julian was a baby was an appliqué quilt. I love the design freedom that appliqué offers–if you can draw a shape or silhouette, you can appliqué it! I’m also a bit impatient, and fusible raw-edge appliqué satisfies my need to see a project come together quickly. The stitching and embroidery still take time, but I can get a sense of how the finished product will look fairly early in the process, which I love.

What led you to Wonder-Under® and why is it your top choice for appliqué?
I like to experiment, and I tried many of the products on the market. In my opinion, Wonder-Under® offers the best combination of short fusing time and little to no added stiffness in the appliqué. I also love that the paper backing can be used to transfer my appliqué patterns directly to my fabrics.

River Bend from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York

Do you have any handy tips or tricks that you could share with readers?
I love the process and flexibility of creating with raw-edge appliqué but I don’t like the fraying that can occur to the fabric edges. I figured out a way to protect them beneath a hand-embroidered outline so that fraying is minimized and less noticeable when it does occur. (More information about this can be found in my book!)

It’s also handy to have tools dedicated to the materials you are using. I have a pair of scissors that I use for cutting the fusible web by itself, and another that is just for cutting fabric and fusible web together. That way, I don’t have to worry that the paper backing is dulling the blades of my fabric-only scissors.

We adore your use of white or dark space in contrast with the appliqués in your quilts. Can you tell us a little more about how a design comes together?
I start my designs at my computer. I use Adobe Illustrator to hand trace the silhouettes that will become the appliqués, and then I can lay them out on a background that is the size I want the finished quilt to be. This allows me to scale everything so that it fills the space just right. Then, I can simply print the silhouettes at that scale and they are ready for me to trace and transfer to my appliqué fabric. I also use my Illustrator drawing to guide the placement of the appliqués on the background fabric. The most exciting step in any project, in my opinion, is laying out and fusing the appliqués to the background–that moment when the idea moves from a sketch to an actual quilt top is magical.

Chicken Scratch, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York

What role does the quilting play in the design of the quilt? Does it always play a role, or is it only with particular designs, like with ‘Tunnel Vision’?
I love to incorporate the quilting into the overall design of the quilt, and the quilting is integral to many of the projects in the book. For example, in Ripples, the quilting forms concentric circles that look as if they are on the surface of water, with the koi swimming beneath them. In many of the quilts, I use a technique I call “Receding Quilting”–spacing horizontal lines of quilting progressively farther apart as they approach the lower edge of the quilt. This enhances the three-dimensional effect of the quilt, because our brains interpret the spacing of the lines as an indication that they are moving farther away.

[Ripples, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York]

Quilting doesn’t always play such an important role in my quilts, although I do like to match the concept of the quilting to the underlying concept of the quilt. For example, I quilted my son’s bumble bee quilt with a hexagon pattern to match the honeycomb/beehive theme of the quilt, and I quilted my other son’s shark quilt with an ocean wave pattern.

Any final words of encouragement to our readers? 
Go slowly, and don’t be afraid to experiment!

As I mentioned, I tend to be impatient, so I always try to remind myself that quilting is an activity that is meant to be enjoyable. Slowing down and enjoying the process always yields better results, and helps me avoid frustration and burnout.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to try new things and break some rules if you have to. You might end up discovering a new technique or process that improves upon how we do things now! Some of my best work has stemmed from the question “what if?” Yes you run the risk of a project not turning out the way you want, but if it *does* turn out the way you envision, that’s a wonderful thing, and you learn something either way!

Tunnel Vision, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York

Casey has been kind enough to offer a copy of one of her books to one lucky reader! We’ll through in a package of Wonder-Under® and a crib-sized packaged batting to help get you started on one of the patterns in Modern Appliqué Illusions:).

To enter-to-win, simple leave a comment and let us know what interests you most about creating an appliquéd quilt.


Congratulations to our winner, selected with the help of

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 1.59.25 PM


Don’t miss the rest of the stops along the Modern Appliqué Blog Tour! See below for the schedule and don’t forget to stop by Casey’s blog daily to learn more about the inspiration behind each quilt and enter-to-win a package of Wonder-Under®. For many of them she’ll also be giving away a package of scraps from the making of that particular quilt.

11/10: C&T Publishing
11/11: Jenifer Dick/42 Quilts
11/12: Debbie Grifka/Esch House Quilts
11/13: Pink Chalk Studio
11/14: Shannon Brinkley/Bottle Tree
11/15: Pellon
11/16: Kevin Kosbab/Feed Dog Designs                  
11/17: Generation Q Magazine                                  
11/18: Krista Robbins/Sew What’s Cooking?            
11/19: Violet Craft
11/20: Fat Quarter Shop/Jolly Jabber
11/21: Kristy Daum/St. Louis Folk Victorian
11/22: Cindy Lammon/Hyacinth Quilt Designs
11/23: Modern Quilts Unlimited


41 thoughts on “Modern Appliqué Illusions Book Tour+ Giveaway!

  1. mumbird3 says:

    I am so blown away by the artistry of Casey’s quilts – so lovely! I look forward to seeing more of her quilts in her book and trying her technique! Applique is so expressive (don’t get me wrong I love patchwork) but with applique you can convey so much more – like the shadows on her trees conveys so much more…

  2. Nancy says:

    Really like her approach to applique and was delighted to find the info in today’s interview helps me with a current applique project. Thank you so much.

  3. paulineperry65 says:

    I really like the look of this book and I LOVE the CHicken Scratch quilt – I would really like to make that. I think that one can be more expressive with applique – you can sew an image of anything you want to say right there on the quilt top.

    perry94022 at hotmail dot com

  4. farmquilter says:

    With applique I can get a design that I could never get just with piecing. Love her depth perception in her quilts – just amazing!

  5. duchick says:

    What I love most about applique is making a design stand out on its own within the quilt itself. It can be the fabric and/or the stitching that really makes it dimensional. Lots of variations!

  6. amy says:

    I’ve never tried applique but like the look of it-so many different shapes you can add to a pieced top. Would like to learn now to do it!

  7. Chris says:

    I like applique but this is one step beyond. It has more appeal to me. Something very different. I for sure will put this on the 2015 to do list.

  8. Ellee says:

    The versitility of applique frees me up to make any design in any size, shape, simplicity, intricacy that I may want for any given project — total freedom, total creativity, total joy.

  9. Cyndi says:

    I love these! Quilting has always intrigued me but the thought of seeing all those tiny pieces together makes me cringe. This I could do & love!

  10. Yan says:

    Until recently, I’d always thought that applique was “old-fashioned.” Then I started seeing works like Casey York’s and thought, “WOW!!!” There’s nothing old-fashioned about it. I’d like to try the Tunnel Vision quilt.

  11. Celeste Jorgensen says:

    Mostly I am attracted to applique because things things can be made to look more real. I tried it initially for making Hawaiian applique after living there for a while.

    Now I like the look of Casey’s work and am interested to giving it a try.

  12. Karen Seitz says:

    Just jumping in and trying out applique is exciting (and a little scary) to me. I love Casey’s spare designs. They make me want to give applique a try!

  13. Tabitha Keener says:

    I think that applique frees up what you can do with a quilt or other projects. It is something I’m beginning to love because I can do things out of the box and personalize it in some way. Casey’s book is great in offering something I haven’t thought of and will give everyone another way to add to their art. Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Lisa Marie says:

    The thing I like best about an applique quilt is the limitless possibilities. A shape that would be difficult or impossible to piece can be done very successfully with applique. Although I love piecing, I think the addition of some applique makes a quilt extra special.

  15. jessie hansen says:

    What interests me the most in applique is that I haven’t done it. I need to learn to do everything I can before I die, and do it well! That means so little time!

  16. maria7532 says:

    What interesting work she does. What interests me most about appliquéd quilts is the possibility of creating a complex picture with bits of fabric and the fact that one is not limited by the geometry of patchwork.

  17. Lynne Tilley says:

    Wow!! Those quilts are so awesome, I’ve never seen anything like it. Love them! I haven’t done much appliqué, but it is quite fun. And to see her application of it here is very inspiring.

  18. Pam Biswas says:

    I think the idea of a modern applique quilt is very appealing because I can make a large quilt with very little piecing and use large applique pieces to make the entire quilt process much faster than the traditional applique with thousands of tiny pieces to stitch on for a large quilt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s