Monday, 17 June 2013

How I do applique tutorial

I start by drawing out the complete design onto freezer paper. Freezer paper is nice and fine so if your design is in black ink you should be able to trace right through. If you want to make the freezer paper larger than it comes off the roll then lay two pieces side by side, both face down on your ironing board and overlap them about 3/4". Iron that overlap down, let it cool and peel it off your ironing board.  I then iron the complete design to another piece of freezer paper (if there is a join, then stagger it). This way with two thicknesses it is nice and stiff to work against the edge.
Then cut out your shapes and put little marks on the edges which will go under another piece as you don't want these folded under. Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of your fabric. I tend to do this whilst my fabric is in one piece then cut it out roughly as in the photo above.

Then cut neatly arround the outside using about a 1/4" but this might be wider or narrower depending on the fabric. Snip two or three times into the concave curves just a thread or two away from the paper (if you have trouble remembering which is concave and which is convex, then just think a cave is something you can go in to).

Run glue stick over the edge. Some people like to run it on the freezer paper edge, I prefer it to go onto the fabric, do whichever suits you after you have tried both ways. I use the blunt end of a bodkin, a wooden stirring stick from Starbucks or the pointy end of embroidery scissors to smooth out the  convex curves. Try sticking down in the middle of the convex curve first, then halfway along, then halfway between again until you have a nice smooth edge. Be very gentle when pulling over those snipped bits on the concave edges.

Use a glue stick to position the piece onto the background fabric. If there is an area where another piece will have to go under, I leave that part glue free until the next piece is ready.

If I have too much fabric left on the edge which has not been glued under, now is the time to snip off the excess.

Now I can glue the stem in position and cover up those raw edges.

 Then you can build up the layers. Once the whole block is prepared stitch by machine or hand whichever you prefer.

Soak the completed block in warm water for about five minutes, them squish and squeeze it a few times to loosen the freezer paper and rinse out the glue. Cut out carefully behind each block and remove the freezer paper. It should very satisfyingly come out in one piece. Some times it doesn't.... The reasons for this can be your iron was too hot, in which case you have a problem! Or because you have stitched over it where another piece goes over or under. In this case use a pair of tweezers to pull it out. Don't fret too much over a tiny piece which will not play nicely. Only you will know there is a sliver of freezer paper there I promise you. If the fabric dries whilst you are doing this, damp it down again. It is much easier whilst the paper is wet. Once the paper has been removed,  iron the block upside down on a towel until it is dry. Get the background fabric where it has been cut to lie flat whilst you are ironing it dry.

The block on the left is the one in my last blog post completely stitched down, the one on the right is waiting to be stitched down, it is just glued in place.

I go to Quilts UK most years. It is held at the Three Counties Showground. Yesterday we went to the Three Counties Show. I thought I knew my way round the showground but I lost my bearings over and over again. This is a huge show covering the entire place and the fields the other side of the road become the car parks. Luckily I had a traders pass to a much closer carpark. I fell in love with the Alpacas. I don't know if it is there lovely soft large eyes, their furry legs, their long fringes, or the way they move their ears and necks in unison with each other, but they seem to be the most fabulous creature on the planet.


  1. What a lovely tutorial, Sally! As for the alpacas, I agree — and the yarn made from their coats is just lovely to knit. :)

  2. Such a pretty flower design. I have, in the past, tried the method you use for prepping applique and was not very successful. I need to try again. I do needle turn.

  3. Great tutorial! This is the way I do applique if I don't do fusible. Did you design the baskets? Thanks so much.

  4. Hi, Sally. I just 'found' you! I would like to view your machine applique tutorial, but the link will not open. Please help. Thanks!