Blue Ridge Mountains Free Appliqué Quilt Block Pattern | #QuiltBlockMania

We just moved our family from Mt. Juliet, TN (just outside Nashville) to the mountains of Blairsville, GA this past weekend! So, when I saw the theme for #QuiltBlockMania for June was Mountains, I was thrilled! 

Blairsville is in North Georgia, nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains; I have tons of blue fabrics, so…I created this Blue Ridge Mountains appliqué quilt block pattern!

Grab your block templates here, and see below for the instructions. 

New to Appliqué

This block is also a first for me – my first time designing with appliqué! Appliqué was actually the first quilting method I tried waaay back as a kid. I started (and never finished) an appliqué butterfly block quilt.

My grandma taught me how to do it, and so for a looooong time, I thought needle turn appliqué was the only kind of appliqué. Uh, it’s not. Definitely not.

I’m so happy I found out about other methods of appliqué. I’m pretty sure Grandma wouldn’t really approve of raw edge appliqué, but we don’t have to agree on everything, thankfully! Because I am IN LOVE with this technique!

Basically, you use an iron-on adhesive to help you both cut the intricate shapes and adhere them in place to your block. Now at first, I didn’t understand how it worked because the only iron-on I’d ever used was fusible interfacing which only has one adhesive side. I thought 2 sided adhesive sounded tricky, but it’s not! You fuse one side at a time, and paper protects the other side until you peel it off later.

For this block pattern, I’m going to give you the basic raw edge appliqué instructions right here in this blog post, and you can get the templates here for free to make your block.

If you’re new to appliqué this is a great first project to try out! If you’re experienced with the raw edge technique, you can skip the how-to, but I would recommend reading through my notes on fabric choice below so that you get a perfectly hazy mountain effect for this block.

Turned Edge Appliqué Options

First of all, with raw edge appliqué, there is a possibility (likelihood?) that your raw edges will fray slightly over time and with heavy use. I am ok with that because I used my block for a wall-hanging, so it will not be handled or laundered frequently. 

However, if you are not cool with that, you can use a turned-edge technique of your choice. I won’t be including instructions for that here, but you would reverse the templates (or not, more on that below), add a seam allowance and then either turn the edge with your needle as you sew, use starch and freezer paper to turn it under first, or try out a sew-on fusible webbing method. Although, I'm not sure if you could achieve as much detail in the mountain peaks with turned edge techniques vs raw edge. 

Normally, with a template designed for raw edge appliqué, you would need to reverse the templates before using a turned edge technique. The good news here is, if you prefer a turned edge option, you don’t technically have to reverse the templates for this block!

Mountains are mountains no matter which way they face, so you could choose to eliminate that extra step! If you don’t reverse the templates and use a needle-turn method, your block will be a mirror image of mine. (You will need to reverse the placement guide in this case.)

Wait, what is all this about reversing templates and guides? If you're new to appliqué you may be wondering how to get your printer to print something backwards. Actually, it's way easier than that! Simply print and flip your paper over, tape to window, and trace onto the back as the light shines through! No super techy skills needed. ;)

Ok, let’s get to the raw edge appliqué tutorial!

Raw Edge Appliqué How-to

To me, this is the simplest, most magical way to appliqué!

Supplies Needed:

  1. Fabric
  2. Paper backed iron-on adhesive web. I used Pellon Wonder Under. There’s also Heat ‘n Bond Lite and Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 (also available in printer-friendly sheets so you can skip tracing!). I haven’t tried the others, but they work similarly. Make sure to follow the iron settings for the specific type that YOU have.
  3. Pencil. I recommend mechanical so that you always have a sharp point
  4. Printed templates. (You could possibly get away with gently tracing with paper over your computer screen if you don’t have a printer, but I haven’t tried this. You'd need to make sure it's displaying at 100% by checking the 1" test square.)
  5. Tape (the templates are larger than a sheet of printer paper, so you’ll cut and tape them together.
  6. Paper Scissors (I like these Fiskars Mixed Media Scissors)
  7. Fabric Scissors (Your scissors probably don't have to match your project, but if they did, these Fiskars scissors come in a color called "Mountain Haze!")
  8. Erasable Marking Pen (Love love love this one with a fine point!)
  9. Bright window or Light board (If you want to really invest in appliqué supplies, this light board from Cutterpillar is also a rotary cutting mat!)
  10. Iron (I have this one from Rowenta)
  11. Open toe presser foot (such as this Singer low-shank snap on foot)
  12. Thread (one to match each fabric or Aurifil's transparent monofilament)
  13. Batting
  14. Backing


Choosing Fabrics and Colors

To achieve the iconic fading ombré look of the Blue Ridge Mountains in this block, you’ll need to choose your fabrics very carefully. Value is what matters most here, that is, the lightness or darkness of each fabric. Paying very close attention to value is how you can create the gradual distancing effect.

Fabric A, the top mountain should be the lightest. Fabric G, the bottom mountain should be the darkest, nearly black.

For the hazy effect, lean toward grayer blue hues rather than brighter aqua blues or greenish blues. And my best tip is to find a fabric with a slight sparkle or metallic element for Fabric A. It will imply a glint from the sun in the distance, and it really just makes this block magical

I used Kona Bone for my background fabric to give the sky a hazy cloudy look. A blue sky is an option, but could detract from the effect by competing with the blues in the mountains. 

Sidebar: Do you know what makes the Blue Ridge Mountains blue and hazy? Conifer trees emit natural volatile chemicals called terpenes into the atmosphere which react with the air and scatter blue light. This process causes both the blue color and the haziness! The Cherokee call the area the Shaconage (shah-CON-ug-gee) or “the land of the blue smoke.” (More: PBS Learning)

To ensure your fabrics are arranged from lightest to darkest, take a photo of them stacked up against each other and then apply a filter to change it to black and white. This removes any distraction from color, prints, or textures that might throw you off so that you can confirm they are arranged correctly. This is especially important if you are using prints.

Don’t skip this step! I cannot emphasize this enough. It may seem like it’s pretty obvious which fabrics are lighter and darker, but when you remove the color, you may realize that the value of a fabric is slightly lighter or darker than you thought.

You might also realize that one fabric is too close to another and you actually need something more in the middle between two values.

It also matters how the prints look right next to each other, so viewing it in black and white may help you see if one print isn’t working well with the others. Trust me, this technique helped me see that a few of my first fabric choices weren’t the best. 

The Fabrics I Chose Are:

 Once you have your fabrics picked, you’re ready to appliqué!


Here’s the Process:

The backing, quilting, and binding instructions assume you are making a wall-hanging with this block.

  1. Print the templates and placement guide on regular paper.

  2. Cut the templates out with your paper scissors, on the lines or you can cut roughly around them if you prefer. Most of the templates are too large for one page, so they need to be cut out and taped together. Follow the notes on the templates to tape them together.

  3. Cut the 4 placement guide squares out on the red lines and tape together. 

  4. Cut a 12.5” square of your background fabric. It will also serve as a foundation for the mountains.

  5. Placement guide: Layer the placement guide under the background fabric. Use either a bright window or light board tracing pad to illuminate the lines. Use an erasable marking pen to mark the placement of each piece. For this block, it is sufficient to mark each piece near the left and right edges only. This will give you enough information to place each mountain.

  6. Mountain templates: Using a sharp pencil and window or light board, trace the template lines onto the paper side of your paper backed iron-on adhesive web. Move the templates and paper around to make the best use of space on your webbing. Discard or set aside the templates for future use.                       

  7. Rough cut around the shapes. **DO NOT cut ON the lines yet.**
  8. Adhere the paper backed iron-on adhesive web to the WRONG SIDE of each fabric, A-G. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the brand of webbing you chose. (Some simply stick on at this point rather than iron-on, so be sure to check your specific product.) DO NOT peel the paper off yet.                    

  9. Cut on the lines of each mountain template, then peel the papers off. If you are having a hard time peeling the paper, score it lightly in the center with the point of your scissors and peel from there. 

  10. Place piece A on the background fabric, both pieces right side up, lining it up according to the marked lines from the placement guide. Fuse in place according to your paper backed iron-on adhesive web's instructions. Gently check the edges for full adherence.

  11. Optional, but highly recommended: sandwich your block, batting, and backing now if you want the appliqué edge stitching to also be quilted as you go.

  12. Using an open toe presser foot, machine stitch near the top raw edge of Piece A. Use a thread that closely matches Fabric A. Highly contrasting thread would create a hard visual line which will prevent the hazy melting ombré effect we are going for. You could also choose to use a transparent monofilament thread instead so that you won’t need to change the thread color multiple times. A 2.5-3 mm stitch length will do, according to your preference. 

  13. Continue placing pieces in order: B, C, D, E, F, and G, fusing each piece individually, and stitching near the top raw edges before fusing the next piece. Each piece should overlap the previous one. (Change the thread to match each piece or use a monofilament thread.)

  14. If you didn't sandwich your block, batting, and backing yet, do it now, and then add any desired quilting, noting that additional quilting at this point may detract from the ombré visual effects. 

  15. Cut (2) 3" squares from the same fabric as your backing. Fold each in half diagonally and press. Place one on the back of each top corner, matching raw edges. Pin or baste in place. (Later, you can insert a small dowel into these pockets and across the block to hang it.)

  16. Bind as desired. (See what I did below)


    I had a hard time deciding what fabric to use for the binding. I was afraid a light fabric would detract from the lightest mountain. I was afraid a dark one would make the darkest mountain even heavier visually. White didn't seem right. And then it hit me--a flanged binding! 

    I had never tried one before, and this felt like the perfect opportunity! I followed method 2 of this tutorial with fabric G as the main and fabric A as the flange. It framed the block perfectly and ended up looking like a little window which was exactly what I was hoping!!!

      That’s it! I hope you enjoy this block! Share your blocks on Instagram with #SWMBlueRidgeMountains

      Grab the templates for the Blue Ridge Mountains appliqué quilt block here! 

      Get More Free Mountain Blocks!

      This post is part of #QuiltBlockMania, a monthly free quilt block pattern blog hop hosted by Carolina Moore. Please check out all the free mountain block patterns below from lots of great designers! (Note: patterns are guaranteed free for 30 days but may become paid patterns or be otherwise unavailable after that.)

      Snow-Capped Mountain by Carolina Moore
      Mountain Tunnel by Patchwork Breeze
      Driving through the Mountains by Crafty Staci
      Snowdon Lily
      Mountain by Inquiring Quilter
      Boondocking by Scrapdash
      Blue Ridge Mountains Appliqué by Sew Worthy Mama
      Purple Mountains Majesty by QuiltFabrication
      Misted Mountains by Patti's Patchwork
      Hiking Bear by Colette Belt Designs
      Edelweiss by Tourmaline & Thyme Quilts
      Forest Bird by Slightly Biased Quilts
      Mountain Forest by Oh Kaye Quilting
      Snow Hat by Amanda Harris
      Rhododendrom by Emerald Falls Quilts
      Log Cabin by Appliques Quilts and More
      Take a Hike by Epida Studio
      Winter Night by Studio B Quilt
      Sedona Red Rocks
      Almost Heaven

      Past #QuiltBlockMania Patterns From Sew Worthy Mama

      And check out my past #QuiltBlockMania posts, too!

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      June's Pinwheel

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