Making circles to applique – tutorial
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.
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
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
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.
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 circle again on both sides and trim your gathering thread tail off.
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 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.