I was asked by several how I am making my circles to applique for the scrappy quilt that I am working on.  Instead of explaining – pictures are much better!  Of course I am using my new camera that Mike got me for Christmas.  I didn’t realize I had the date/time stamp in the bottom corner – I have turned it off but it is there in these photos.

step one - take one of the sampler squares from the Moda Box - or if you don't have that :) use a 2 1/2 inch square, using a 2 inch round circle from my mylar collection of circles draw around it in pencil.
I like to have plenty of room to work with so I cut about an 1/8 of on inch on the other side of the drawn line.

I like to have plenty of room to work with so I cut about an 1/8 of on inch on the other side of the drawn line.

using strong thread on the right side of fabric sew a basting circle - size of stitch does not matter

using strong thread on the right side of fabric sew a basting circle - size of stitch does not matter

next, use the size circle that you are supposed to for the circles - I think this one was 2 inches - place it in the middle of the circle

next, use the size circle that you are supposed to for the circles - I think this one was 1 3/4 inches - place it in the middle of the circle

put your finger in the middle of the circle to hold it still.  Using your other hand pull the thread tightly to bring it up tight against the mylar plastic

put your finger in the middle of the circle to hold it still. Using your other hand pull the thread tightly to bring it up tight against the Mylar plastic

use a little spray starch - either spray it on the circle of fabric or brush with a stencil brush by putting some starch in a small container.  This will help hold the circle stiff while you are working with it.  Some people don't use the starch but just use plain water - it is up to you.  I like the extra stiffness the starch gives.

use a little spray starch - either spray it on the circle of fabric or brush with a stencil brush by putting some starch in a small container. This will help hold the circle stiff while you are working with it. Some people don't use the starch but just use plain water - it is up to you. I like the extra stiffness the starch gives.

holding on to the thread tail make sure you have it pulled tight while you are pressing the circle.  When the starch is dry and it is pressed, flip it over and press down on the top side.

holding on to the thread tail make sure you have it pulled tight while you are pressing the circle. When the starch is dry and it is pressed, flip it over and press down on the top side.

now loosen up your thread where you had finished the gather at.  Loosen it up just enough to remove the plastic circle.

now loosen up your thread where you had finished the gather at. Loosen it up just enough to remove the plastic circle.

pull your gathering thread lightly to tighten the circle back up - this should be fairly easy as you do have it pressed and it normally pulls back into the circle easily.  Press your cirlce again on both sides and trim your gathering thread tail off.

pull your gathering thread lightly to tighten the circle back up - this should be fairly easy as you do have it pressed and it normally pulls back into the circle easily. Press your circle again on both sides and trim your gathering thread tail off.

your finished circle with the template removed.

your finished circle with the template removed.

fold your white square (3 1/2 inches) in half and finger press or iron and then in half again and press.  Center your circle in the middle and pin in place.  Your circle is now ready for you to applique.  Once you get the hang of this method it takes minutes only to prepare each cirlce.  I have 4 pieces of mylar template the same size so I work up 4 at a time and then start all over again.  When I have about 12 circles ready to applique I sit down and get the stitching done.  Take a break and work on something else and then try to do another set before boredom sets in :)

fold your white square (3 1/2 inches) in half and finger press or iron and then in half again and press. Center your circle in the middle and pin in place. Your circle is now ready for you to applique. Once you get the hang of this method it takes minutes only to prepare each circle. I have 4 pieces of Mylar template the same size so I work up 4 at a time and then start all over again. When I have about 12 circles ready to applique I sit down and get the stitching done. Take a break and work on something else and then try to do another set before boredom sets in :)

When you have your circle appliqued in place you can from the back trim off the back ground and also trim some of the gathered circle off from the back.  I use a little extra fabric here because I want the circle to be a bit puffy – I did not trim off from the back.  I have found that when I make circles like this the added puffiness makes it look like it has trapunto after it is quilted when I use the 100% cotton batting that I use and wash the quilt and dry it in the dryer.  It gives that nice antique look to quilts and it this case the circles will look a little more 3 dimensional without having to add the extra batting in from the back.  If you do not want the puffiness but do not want to trim from the back you can make your gathering line in closer to the size circle you want – I have excess in mine for the purpose of puffiness.

My white ironing mat has gotten stained up already – it was white not a short time ago – I think it is the spray starch that does it.  You can find Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley at this link.  These circles are made from Mylar and are safe to iron.  This set comes in many 15 sizes.  I order a lot of my notions and little handy items for quilting from Connecting Threads and from Keepsake Quilting .  I have had a lot of luck with these two quilting sites and I receive their catalog all the time.  I have been ordering from both sites for years and have never had a problem with either. I just discovered Karen Kay Buckley’s web site and blog though and I see she has a store also and sells the perfect circles on her web site.  I am going to check out her store and the next time I need something by her I will know I can order from her.

14 Responses to “Making circles to applique – tutorial”

  1. Love, love, LOVE! Thanks for the tutorial, I have it bookmarked!
    .-= Aunt Spicy´s last blog ..Merry Christmas To All! =-.

  2. Nice tutorial. When I do circles this way, I always get little points on the edges. But my seam allowance isn’t quite as big as yours. I’ll try a bigger seam allowance and see if that will help. Thanks!
    .-= Gina E´s last blog ..My Family =-.

  3. I enjoyed the lesson also, I hope that you all are stayin warm.

  4. our temperatures only got to the mid-30s for a short while today and we still have our snow on the ground – very little of it melted!

  5. Great tutorial Karen, we make circles pretty much the same :0)

    Crispy

  6. I love Perfect Circles too! Good tutorial!
    .-= Mary L´s last blog ..Christmas 2009 =-.

  7. Very nice tutorial.

    Thanks for the notes and ideas.
    .-= Arlene Klatt´s last blog ..Love my new scanner/printer/copier/fax =-.

  8. Karen, Thanks for the great visual tutorial. It is very clear and precise as are your circles. This looks like a great way to prep for a carry along project to meetings, appointments, etc. I’ll bet the yellowing of your pressing board is from the spray starch as you suggested. Probably the heat from the iron “scorched” the spray that landed on the board. I have a “big board” mounted on my ironing board that is very discolored from all the pressing that I do on it. Looks ugly but works great. The only thing I don’t like about it is that I accidentally iron some fusible on it … yep, I turned the fused side of fabric the wrong way and made a mess!!! Oh well, that’s certainly not earth shattering. I look forward to seeing your circle and 4-patches sewn together. It should be a lovely top!

  9. yes I thought it was the spray starch that caused my matt to start turning brown in places.

    thank you everyone for stopping by.

  10. Very nicely done! That is the exact same method I learned a few years ago when I took a class on applique. Your tutorial brought back memories of that fun class, and now I can remember exactly how to do it. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Merry Christmas! =-.

  11. Karen, Thanks for such a great tutorial. I had seen the Perfect Circles demonstrated a long time ago at a quilt show, but I had forgotten about them. I like that they can be ironed. I will bookmark this page for future reference. Do you hand applique your circles? I’m not very good at hand applique, and never quite sure how I should be doing it. Do you have a great tutorial on that as well????
    ~~Lori
    http://beyonddirtmycreativejourney.blogspot.com/
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Happy New Year! =-.

  12. Thats about the way I do my circles. One of the first techniques I learned when I started quilting. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..The Child Thief by Brom =-.

  13. This has answered my questions about applique circles. There is no substitute for demonstrating how to do things in pictures. Well done.

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