I’m working on the perfect little “hand bag” project. When I say “hand bag” I mean that it’s perfect to keep in your hand bag, and then to work on, while you’re waiting in the car for the kids to come out of school, or during their after school activities.
I get so much of my hand sewing done while the kids are at karate or gymnastics.
I posted a couple of pictures of my Applique Circle project on Facebook and Instagram. I received so many lovely comments, plus a few requests for a tutorial, so I thought I’d share it here today.
I first came across this method of appliqueing circles through a fab tutorial by Michelle of Button Tree Lane. I started following Michelle a while back on Instagram and that is where I discovered her gorgeous blog. If you’ve never been, go on and have a look at her quilts and projects.
The difference with my method, is that I use cardboard circles. I didn’t have Mylar circles for applique (but bought some the other week at the craft fair), so I used circles cut out of cardboard. I’ll definitely try the mylar circles for my next applique circle project.
Depending on the size of the quilt or project, you may need a few cardboard circles. They quickly lose their shape when they get wet with starch.
Cut a circle approximately 1/2” larger than the template.
Sew a basting stitch approximately 1/4” around the edge of the circle, on the right side of the fabric. In my project, I used a charm pack.
Flip the basted circle over and place the cardboard template in the centre.
Hold the template down with one hand and pull the basting threads with the other. Firmly, but not so firmly that you tear your fabric.
While holding down the basting threads with one hand, press around the fabric edge with a medium dry iron.
Spray some starch into the lid and brush the starch onto the edge of the seam with a small paintbrush.
This is where mylar templates would be great. The cardboard starts to warp a little bit with each circle you make and saturate with starch - have a few extra circles cut out and ready to go.
Press around the seam again and hear the starch sizzle. Once it’s all been pressed, I flip mine over and flip on the right side (making sure that the seam is all nicely tucked under and that I have a nicely shaped circle).
Remove the cardboard and cut the basting thread. Remove the thread.
Now it’s time to add a little bit of glue. Obviously, applique glue is best, but I use kids glue. It’s water soluble, cheap, easy to find and most importantly, it works perfectly!
Dot some glue around the seam, but not too close to the edge.
Turn it over, place it carefully on the background square of fabric and press it down. I just eyeball where to place the circles.
Let the glue dry, or if you’re in a rush (like I usually am) flip the square over and press quickly on the back.
And there you have a circle, ready to applique.
Find a comfy chair, put your feet up, flick over to a good show on the televisions and applique (with coordinating thread).
I’ve made approximately 35 circles blocks and I’m still not exactly sure how I’m going to incorporate them into a quilt… but it’ll come together.
If you make some applique circles, let me know how you go. I’d love to see your progress.
What applique tips or tricks can you offer to a beginner?
What is your preferred method of applique?
I used to blanket stitch everything but now it’s all little teeny tiny stitches.