Plant Your Our Garden Quilt Pattern

Appliqué Made Easy

Sewforever’s mission is to help you confidently increase your quilting skills while making the most of your creative time.

Thank you Elizabeth/Quilter’s Candy for the opportunity to share Innovative Appliqué.

Source: Becky Campbell/Sewforever Quilting 

Innovative Appliqué introduces you to time-saving tips and techniques for appliqué.

Turned-edge appliqué made easy.

No tracing, needle-turn, or cutting freezer paper from the back of your project.

Achieve precise results without hours or years of practice.

Sew Simple Appliqué Pattern

 This pattern is the Sew Simple Series

I fell in love with a set of patterns for (4) round seasonal table toppers.                       

I did not know how to appliqué and I wanted it to be turned edge appliqué.

I needed to learn turned edge appliqué.

Appliqué table rounds

I took a number of appliqué classes. My results left a lot to be desired.

There were all kinds of things that slowed me down.

Needle turn was going to take a long time to master.                                       

Freezer paper offered the best control over fabric shapes, but the tiny iron method was dangerous. 

Cutting freezer paper out of the back of my work was an accident waiting to happen.

I laid awake at night thinking of ways to work around those tasks.

Why trace, when we can copy and print?

Why iron freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric, stitch it down, then cut it out?

I will spare you more whys and show you the techniques I developed to eliminate those whys. 

Innovative Appliqué developed from my nighttime wandering.

I want you to feel confident and enjoy turned edge appliqué.                          

Don't gasp, deep breaths, it is possible.

Even experienced quilters say these techniques improve their progress.

June Tailor's Perfect Piecing Placement Guide

Let's create a placement guide.                                                                            

No need to trace a vinyl placement guide.                                                         

Place a sheet of Perfect Piecing in the copier's paper tray.                                

Place your pattern on the copier and press print.                                                

You just created a placement guide.                                                                           

If your pattern is larger than 8-1/2" x 11", copy and print in sections.

Freezer Paper Templates

Let's create appliqué templates.                                                                          

Lay a sheet of heavy-weight freezer paper in your copier's paper tray.              

Place your pattern on the copier and press print.                                          

Instant templates, no tracing.

My patterns are designed with Pattern A (overlay) and Pattern B (templates).               

I separate the shapes, number them in the order they go down on the right side of the background fabric, and mark dash lines in areas that lay under another shape.

That does not mean you have to use only my patterns, although I would love that.

Cutting templates out

Cut the freezer paper shapes out on the solid lines, exception-the dashed areas. 

Dashed areas lay under another shape.                                                             

Leave extra freezer paper to remember to trim extra fabric.

Ironing freezer paper templates to the right side of your fabric

Iron the freezer paper templates to the right side of your fabric.                        

That is how we avoid cutting freezer paper out of the back.

Cutting seam allowance

Trim a 3/16" turn allowance. That sounds technical, but it is not, 4/16" is a 1/4".    

You want it to be a bit less than a 1/4" to make it easier to turn the cut edge down.  

At the dashed lines trim extra fabric in those areas, 1/4"- 1/2".                              

It is not necessary to actually measure, it is an estimated guide.

Karen K Buckley's Prefect Scissors

These scissors are the bomb.  (FYI - This is an affiliate link)                                                                           

Most people trim small shapes with tiny scissors resulting in a choppy cut.           

I trim out the fabric shapes with purple scissors.                                            

They have one serrated blade that pulls the fabric to your cut vs pushing it away.   

So you are cutting exactly where you intended.                                                  

The serrated blade also helps keep the fabric cut from fraying.                             

Plus the handle design does not fatigue your hands.

Roxanne's Glue Baste-It

Roxanne"s Glue Baste-It is a water-soluble glue (it washes out).                           

It tacks faster than any glue I have tested. I do not want to wait for the glue to take hold and slow me down. I can not out turn this glue and I can turn pretty fast.

The ergonomic bottle design eliminates hand fatigue and makes it easy to apply just the right amount of glue.

This glue has been on the market for years. If you have an old bottle that is continually clogged, this new design eliminates that problem. You can refill this bottle with your previous purchase by carefully removing the pink part and refilling. Although you will use so little glue it will take a long time to use up this bottle.

Turning cut edge down

You have trimmed the fabric shape, now apply a thin line of glue.                        

This line looks pretty thick, the picture is magnified, think half that.

The best turning tool I have found is a Clover seam ripper.                                      

It has a flat side that aids in turning the fabric down.                                                

The freezer paper (see it peeking out) is on the right side of your fabric, holding the fabric shape, and only the cut edge will turn down.

Most people tend to hold the seam ripper down low and try to scope the fabric over.

Work from above. Hold the seam ripper like a pencil and pull the cut edge towards the glue.

Turn the cut edge over with the Clover seam ripper and press in place with your finger. 

Turn and finger press, working your way around the shape.                                 

Do not turn dashed areas. Those get out of jail free, with no need to turn or stitch.

Awl vs Clover seam ripper

The tool on top is an awl, normally used in appliqué.                                             

The long pointed part is round and tends to slip off when pulling the fabric over.  

It is good for holding a point in place but not so much for turning.

The tool below is a seam ripper, as you know. 

I call out this particular seam ripper because it ergonomically fits in my hand. 

Are you sensing a theme? At my age or any age, the more comfortable you can work the more enjoyable.

Placement Guide for Appliqué

Recognize this?  Different pattern but you get it?                                                                                                     

It is a Perfect Piecing placement guide printed from whatever pattern you are using. 

Pin it to the right side of your background fabric, as pictured. 

You want it to open like a book, which only requires two pins on the left side.

Apply a little Roxanne's glue to the wrong side of the turned edge shape.                 

Slide the shape under the placement guide, position, and finger pressing in place.

Drum roll.                                                                                                             

Now carefully pull the freezer paper off the shape you just glued and finger pressed to the right side of your background fabric.

No cutting freezer paper out of the back of your work.                                               

Do not stitch anything at this point.                                                                        

The glue holds everything in place. No pins are needed, and no thread tangling on the pins.                                           

Continue placing all the shapes in the same manner.

Placement guide for appliqué

When all the shapes are in place, unpin the placement guide.                             

Now you are ready to stitch.

Stitching appliqué

Knot your thread and stitch up through the background fabric.                         

Your knot will be on the wrong side of the background fabric.                         

Stitch back down catching the background fabric a bit under the edge of the shape. 

Stitch back up into the fold of the shape, and continue stitching all the shapes down.    

Congratulations your appliqué is complete!

Want to know a super simple trapunto technique?                                          This is how it works.                                                                                            

Feel free to skip this step. It is optional.

Trapunto easy technique

I wanted to create dimension but found traditional trapunto overwhelming.        

So I developed a workaround to make it easy.

Copy Pattern B, the one you used to make the templates to Hotfix Adhesive Sheets, 8.5"X11"

Print N Fuse used to be my chosen product for that product but it is no longer available.

Ironing for trapunto technique

Iron the printed sheet of Hot Fix Adhesive Sheet to a piece of low loft batting.                               

Low loft, simply means not real fluffy batting.                                                        

My favorite batting is Dream Cotton but use what you have.                                  

If you iron to polyester batting you may need a pressing cloth so it doesn't stick to your iron.

This time cut the shapes out a bit inside the solid line including the dashed areas. 

We want the shapes to fit inside our stitching lines on the wrong side of the background fabric.

Remove paper for trapunto

This is a cut shape, remove the thin layer of paper to reveal the fusible.

Please ignore the piece of webbing in the picture.                                                

This is the best picture I have of removing the paper from a shape.

The fusible side of the shape goes against the wrong side of your background fabric.  

Position the fusible shape inside the corresponding stitching lines.                         

Iron in place.

Trapunto made easy

See how that works?                                                                                              

The fusible side is ironed to the back of your project.                                              

Iron one shape at a time.                                                                                         

If you lay them all down at once, they tend to move, not ending up inside the stitching line.

Now add a regular layer of batting, backing, and quilt as desired.                         

Quilt the background/overall quilting first to stabilize the project.                     

Then stitch in the ditch to lock the batting under the shapes in place and create the dimension.

Trapunto adds dimension

Can you see the dimension?

The batted shapes are not put under the individual appliqué pieces.                 

They are ironed to the back of your project after you have stitched everything down.

I am repeating that because this method is counterintuitive.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope I have inspired you.

All my patterns include picture directions similar to or the same as what you see in this post.                                                                                                                          

I do not want you to have to figure out what I am trying to explain when I can show you a picture.

To browse my patterns visit Sewforever.                                                               

Feel free to share this post on social media or with your friends.          

I do love comments and questions.

I created an On-Demand Innovative Appliqué class to offer you a hands-on experience.

For two hours I cover time-saving techniques that result in precise results without hours or years of practice.

This class covers the entire process I follow: bonus sections, turning small circles, and creating perfect round eyes.                                     

This post includes affiliate links to make it easy for you to find the products at no additional cost to you

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free download for the Tulip pattern that is included in the Innovative On-Demand Class.

Visit my blog which is published when I have time-saving tips to share.                

Thank you,





Back to blog

Leave a comment