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What's the difference

Hawaiian Quilts vs. 2 Fabric Applique Quilts

You may have wondered what exactly are the differences? What determines whether one of our patterns is Hawaiian or 2Fabric Applique?

Woodland Lei Hawaiian Wall Quilt Pattern

First, here are the similarities:

  1. Both use two contrasting fabrics.
  2. Both are applique.
  3. The theme of the quilt is sometimes, but not always, tropical in nature.

Now, here are the differences:

  1. Radially symmetrical designs, generally to the eighth, but can be to the fourth.Hawaiian Pattern diagram
  2. Because they are symmetrical, you fold the applique fabric first, mark the pattern, cut the applique fabric, unfold it onto the background fabric, baste and then applique. (The gray and white image to the right is the pattern for Woodland Lei quilt.)
  3. The applique method is almost always hand needleturn.
  4. Most commonly seen with an echo quilt pattern. Echo quilting is where the lines of quilting are spaced about 1/2" to 5/8" apart following the contours of the applique.
  5. Hand quilted, though not always. Our Hawaiian bed quilts are special heirloom quilts, so we take the time to hand quilt them. Wall quilts are sometimes machine quilted.
  6. A traditional quilt form that evolved in the Hawaiian Islands in the mid-1800's.
  1. Asymmetrical, pictorial designs.Dog and Daisy 2 Fabric Applique Quilt Pattern
  2. Because they are asymmetrical, you mark the pattern on the appliqué fabric first, baste it to the background fabric, then cut the applique fabric, and applique.
  3. 2FAQ quilts lend themselves to your choice of needleturn applique by hand, or fuse and machine applique, or raw-edge applique. Instructions for all three methods are included in our patterns.
  4. No specific quilting pattern. We let the design of the quilt and any print motif on the fabric inspire our choice of quilting pattern.
  5. Machine quilted, usually. We intend these quilts to be quick and easy to make, so we most often machine quilt them, though hand quilting is always an option.
  6. A contemporary quilt design concept that we developed and which Pacific Rim Quilt Company has published since 2004. We especially like the use of two fabrics for applique and bold graphic designs, so the asymmetrical format opened up new design possibilities.
In a nut shell it boils down to this: Hawaiian quilts are symmetrical, so the applique fabric is folded and cut like a paper snowflake, then basted onto the background. 2 Fabric Applique quilts are pictorial, asymmetrical so the applique fabric is marked first, basted on the background and then cut. With either design style, once the applique fabric is basted in place, the applique and quilting techniques are the same.
There is no difference in difficulty, they are both easy. Both styles require the same skills and are great beginning applique projects. Hawaiian quilt designs look more complicated, but that does not make them more difficult to make. Naturally, with some designs there are more inches to be appliqued, so those take a little longer, but they are not more difficult.
We always recommend you choose the pattern for the quilt you like the best, because that is the one you are going to want to be working on, and that is the one that is going to get finished.

Originally published in October of 2009

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