Thursday, July 30, 2009

Simple Circle Applique -- TUTORIAL

I love to have a project to work on while I'm traveling or watching tv. Nothing good ever came from idle hands! Anyway, if I have a long drive coming up and nothing to work on, circle hand applique is my old standby. It travels easily, it's not hard at all, and I love the result!

Today I will show you my method!

First you will need to gather your supplies:

freezer paper
compass or round object to trace
paper scissors
a sharp pencil (mechanical pencils are great!)
spray starch or spray sizing
fabric scissors
fabric scraps
needle and thread

Step One: Pull out a length of freezer paper and trace as many circles as templates you want. I like to do a whole bunch at one time.

Step Two: You will need a total of three layers of freezer paper, so whack around your group of circles and cut out two more layers to go underneath. Place the bottom layer shiny side down on your ironing board and press it directly to the ironing board on medium-ish heat. Then layer the second layer, press, and add the third layer with the circles on top. Allow it to cool, then gently peel it away from your ironing board.

Step Three: Cut out your circles. Don't use your good fabric scissors for this!

Step Four: Press a circle shiny side down to the wrong side of one of your fabric scraps and cut around it, leaving approximately 1/4" seam allowance. Then you will snip almost to the edge of your freezer paper template (but not all the way to it!) all around your circle, about 3/8" apart. This will make it easier to turn the edges under.

Step Five: Lightly mist the wrong side/back with your spray starch, then pull the edges around onto the freezer paper template and press. The spray starch will make the fabric stick to the template, and also helps the fabric to keep its shape.

Step Six: Allow it to cool, then gently peel away the template. The great thing about these freezer paper templates is that you can reuse them multiple times!

Step Seven: Pin your circle onto your background fabric.

Step Eight: (I used red thread so you could see my stitches.) Use a single strand of thread (don't double it when you knot it). Take your needle from the back a scant 1/8" from the edge of your circle to begin. You will then poke your needle down past the edge of the circle into the backing fabric, then turn the needle and poke it back up a short distance away from your first stitch, again a scant 1/8" from the edge of the circle. (Since I am right-handed, I sew clockwise around the circle.) Check out how uneven my stitches are! Who cares!! When you get all the way around your circle, knot it at the back.

(If you like, you could machine applique your circles using a narrow zigzag, blind stitch, or blanket stitch.)

You are done! Now you can machine piece together your circle blocks however you like!

This picture shows a section of my favorite quilt that a) I actually kept, and b) I actually use. It's another one of those "ugly" quilts, where I used all different not-necessarily-cute-together fabrics, grouped together to make one fantastic quilt!

This is an unfinished quilt top that I made using Amy Butler's Charm line. This was another one of those "uncuttable" fabric groups. I could only bear to cut a small piece out of each one! Of course, since then I have whacked away at it, but I do still love this quilt and need to finish it!!


mckay said...

I love that I think all your "ugly quilts" are gorgeous! Makes me chuckle.

craftytammie said...

I have a bunch of charm packs I haven't been able to decide on a project with. I think I may have just found it! Thanks for the ideas!

6 Berries said...

Thanks so much for this technique. I've used the freezer paper then glued the seam allowance around it and then I have to wet and pull all the paper off after sewing. It takes forever. But with the starch it's so much easier. Brilliant!

Ms Muffin said...

I am working on the baby quilt and include some circle applique. (Somehow my quilt projects keep changing alot as I am working on them) :-D Who knows what I will end up with!
While I was working a question popped up ... if I would be doing the circle applique to a quilt top that has all the same color (like your Amy Butler one) - couldn't I just sew all the circles to a big piece of fabric instead of sewing it to little squares and piecing the squares together? This is probably a weird question ... and I am quite sure that no quilter would probably consider doing it - I am just curious, would it work?