Turtle Applique Using Accuquilt Die Cut Shapes and a Giveaway

I have been digitizing some embroidery for all kinds of quilt blocks from Rose of Sharon to whimsical blocks for children’s quilts. I love applique done with the traditional applique or blanket stitch, but find it difficult to cut accurately enough to make it work as perfectly as I would like using the embroidery machine. In addition, it is important to me to have as few thread changes and steps as possible and still have beautiful embroidery. So that was my challenge. Because of a love for turtles, that was my choice for this.

Initially, I digitized my own turtle drawing and then cut the fabric and made the applique turtle. Several issues were immediately apparent. When I cut the shape, it didn’t fit exactly the way I have digitized it – even though I drew the pattern from the stitched embroidery lines. Part of the reason for that is the width of the drawn/cutting line. Another thing that was a real problem was the amount of time it took to cut the shapes. These two things alone made me realize how important it is to use die cuts for machine embroidery.

After that experiment, I determined which shapes I would need to make a turtle using the Accuquilt dies. I chose the large hexagon and a medium circle for the body and shell, the curved feather shapes for the legs, and a small circle for the head. I took those shapes (with fusible on one side) and pressed them onto parchment paper to see how this would look. Here are some of the versions of what I got. It took several iterations to get the eyes, legs and head exactly the way I wanted them.

Here are some of the various versions.  The final version has eyes like the one with the green body and  checkered shell, legs like the one with the red body and yellow legs, and a shorter tail.

Versions of the turtle


Shapes for turtle


Turtle Dies


Hoop the fabric, stitch the dielines, then remove the hoop from the machine for fusing the shapes.

Die lines for placing turtle shapes

This is the dragonfly, but shows how I fuse the shapes. Because all fabric has a slightly different hand and the fusible also adds some variables, the shapes should be pinned to fit the dielines exactly–you may have to give a little “stretch” to it or “scrunch” it in a bit to make it fit. In the end, it looks great because of the wonderful forgiveness of all those variables.

Pinning shape to dieline


I remove the pins as I press.

Pressing shape onto dielines

Next comes stitching the tail, then fusing the shapes to the dielines.

Stitch tail, then fuse legs, body, and head

Stitch the embroidery around the shapes.

Machine stitch the embroidery

Then stitch the dieline for the center circle, fuse the fabric to the dieline, and stitch.

This is the end result:


Finished size: 6.05 x 8.15 inches (154 x 207 mm).

If you would like to have a copy of the embroidery file for this turtle, please leave a comment on this blog and become a follower of this blog, LIKE  Accuquilt on Facebook, by Friday, April 22. I will email a link to the file to each commenter. In addition, one lucky person (random drawing) will receive ready-to-fuse die cuts for nine brightly colored turtles – just enough to make a baby quilt. Enter to win the shapes even if you don’t have an embroidery machine – you can still use the applique stitch on your machine to make a very cute baby quilt.

No-reply bloggers will not get a response as I must have an email address for the winner–make sure your email address is included in some way.

36 Replies to “Turtle Applique Using Accuquilt Die Cut Shapes and a Giveaway”

  1. Those turtles are adorable. My daughter saw them, and thought they would be cute on a pillow. Would love to have the design. I use PES. Love working with my GO and embroidery. What a cool combination. Thank you for offering this.

  2. Really cute, Marjorie. Since I’ve recently gotten an embroidery machine (a D1) I’d like to give it a try. Would love to have a set of turtles for a small quilt!

  3. This is a really inventive use of the diecuts and I’d love to have your digitized outlines. Did you draw round the shapes, scan and take into your software to get the digitized lines?

    1. Hi Annette, I used the paper from which die cuts were made (essentially a trace), scanned them, then created a vector file and edited it as stitch files using embroidery software. A lot of stitches have to be reworked to get the applique stitch to behave in corners and around curves. Glad you like it.

  4. That is so cute, you are so clever. I will have to make a turtle quilt now. Thanks, I will now follow your blog as well.

  5. Now this is just too cute!! I love turts and would love to make a quilt for my grandbabies! What a VERY creative way to use the dies. I would love to be entered in your contest, and thank you for the chance. 🙂

  6. Love it! Let’s see, I have the circles. I have the hexagons. I don’t have the leaves (yet). I see a good reason to dust of the old embroidery machine!

  7. great turtles. I am trying to teach myself to digitize with my embroidery software, but so far no sucess. I am happy to see it can be done!! katie

  8. Baby quilt, did you say baby quilt, just what I was looking for, and only today I was thinking about underwater beauty, the corals and fish and other amazing creatures like turtles which populate the sea and that would provide interest for babies (of which we seem to have a good supply of at present, 3 boys and 2 girls in our extended family) and is why I stopped to read your facebook messaage. I love what you’ve done and would certainly love to use your ready cut turtles, thank-you for the opportunity and inspiration.

  9. I have digitized the ROS die, but not brave enough to do blanket stitch applique yet, mine are all nice wide satin stitching. Nice job, and the turtle is so creative! Way to go! A very generous offer as well. I saw your post on the Accuquilt FB page, so I hope you get a lot of new followers. Looking forward to seeing you in May too!

  10. BTW, in lui of fusible, I have you thought about just basting the fabric in place with glue stick? We are doing that in my ROS Bom class I’m teaching at the Bernina store and so far, it has worked fantastic (and every single student I’ve had in the class since the first of the year is now doing it). It reduces the stiffness of the block, specially where there are multi-layer roses. I glue stick just inside the placement line and around the entire outside edge. Doesn’t gum up the needle either.

    1. Hi Judy, yes, I do use glue stick a lot for ME applique. I’m a real fan of Sharon Schamber, so I also use liquid Elmer’s for piecelique. For the applique stitch, I wanted a crisper edge so used fusible. The fusible I used is Mistyfuse and it is so light that I have really come to like it the best. The quilts I made for my children 30 years ago were done with Stitch Witchery – similar to Mistyfuse – and they are still beautiful and light as a feather. The lighter Wonderunder has worked well for me too. I have definitely had issues with some of the heavier fusible.

  11. Marjorie, those turtles are absolutely adorable. The ability to use die cuts to digitize machine embroidery is the reason I bought my GO! It is a great combination.

  12. I love your turtle! I would love to have a copy of the file as I have all of those dies (so please don’t enter me in the give-away – let someone who doesn’t have the dies win). I now follow your blog and I already like Accuquilt on FB! Thank you so much!

  13. Absolutely the most adorable sea turtle! I just found your blog! I collect turtles, I accuquilt Go, I embroider and I quilt. I need to make this turtle applique! Thank you for sharing your design.
    Hugs, Suzanne

  14. Love the whimsical turtle. Have a friend who’s really into turtles. Would like to make one for her. I do not have an Accuquilt but have used it before. Would love to win one!

  15. Marjorie – this is so clever ! Love how you have utilized the die cut shapes in such a neat way ! Love your blog and always learn something.

  16. So original and creative! I have all those dies and can’t wait to get started…….there are just so many variations possible using the flower dies! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Love your idea! I too have all the dies and would just like to have your digital pattern. Thank you for such great ideas!

  18. Such cute turtles, perfect for baby quilts. Can’t wait to make my own turtle!!

  19. This is such a neat tute for turtles. I have a Granddaughter who at age 12 is still entralled with them and I try to always include a “turtle” somehow when we give her gifts! Thanks so much.

  20. I love, love, love your turtle. This is just want I’ve been looking for, a clever way to use my Go with my embroidery machine. I’m now a follower of your blog. Found you on Accuquilt FB page. Have all the dies. My only problem is my embroidery hoop size is 5″ x 7″. Sew sad.

    1. I can sympathize about the embroidery hoop as it seems most designs are made for smaller hoops, but the dies are not that small. I am working on some other designs that will fit smaller hoops.

  21. Marjorie,
    I love the turtles! I mainly do baby & toddler quilts & also prefer the swimming sea-turtle style to the side view. I would love the embroidery file, not sure about the hoop fit yet. I have been a follower for a while now & thank you for showing the multiple-pass cutting you do on the with AQ dies. Hope things are well with the sweet grand-daughter.

  22. How cute! I do have an embroidery machine I just don’t have the Accuquilt (been trying to win one!). Thank you.

  23. I love the turtles. You have some really great ideas. ionly see the shapes but am design impaired. You are gifted. Love them

  24. This turtle is so cute and makes great use of the accquilt go cutter and my embroidery machine.

  25. I just happened upon your blog tonight while browsing Youtube videos on marking my Accuquilt Dies. I absolutely adore the way you created the turtles! I only wish I found your blog sooner!

  26. I like those turtles too!its amazing what can be done with the accuquilt dies. i know im a little late for the drawing, but wanted to comment anyway.

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