Tips for How to Appliqu Circles – Quilting Daily

Last week I blogged about tricks for machine stitching in circles. Today, I thought I’d share how to appliqu a circle.

Curved piecing and hand appliqu make this
table runner by Brigitte Heitland distinctive.

Whether you hand appliqu or machine appliqu, the trick to getting a nice, smooth edge on the circumference. You want to avoid puckering and pleating.

In her tutorial on how to make this Marbles Table Runner, Brigitte Heitland shares her tricks for getting smooth curves on the background pieces and the circle appliqu patterns. Here is the how-to for the circles, adapted from the article, which appeared in International Quilt Festival/Quilt Scene 2011.

1. Cut circles the desired size out of freezer paper.

2. Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper circles onto the wrong sides of assorted print fabrics. Leaving a ” seam allowance around each freezer paper shapes, cut out all of the circles.

3. Sew a row of running stitches close to the edge of the fabric circle. Pull the running stitches carefully to gather up the edge of the fabric circle around the edge of the freezer paper. Press, creating a sharp, folded edge.

4. Carefully pull out all of the freezer paper templates. (Alternatively, you can use a cardboard circle template and, after pressing, loosen the gathered stitches slightly to remove the cardboard.)

5. To hand applique the circles to the background, position the circles onto the runner and pin them in place.

6. Using a matching thread, slipstitch the appliqu edge in place by passing the needle through the folded edge of the appliqu and then through the background fabric. Proceed to blindstitch all around the shapes.(Alternatively, if you prefer to machine appliqu the circles in place, use an invisible thread and your sewing machine’s appliqu stitch.)

It takes a little more time and fussing to create the circles using the freezer paper. But many quilters find this technique makes the circles easier to appliqu and yields a smoother, more professional finish.

You’ll find so many tips like these, plus projects and gorgeous quilt galleries in past issues of Quilt Scene, now available in the International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene 2009-2011 Collection.

P.S. Do you hand or machine appliqu quilt? Share one of your tips with us!

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