Making Circles for Applique

There are lots and lots of different ways to make and appliqué circles, this is the way I like to do it.  (I was home alone when taking these pics, so some of them may look like they’re on strange angles as I juggled fabric, scissors and camera!)

First up, supplies

20160224-151937.jpgMost of what you see here you’ll recognise; those you don’t, I’ll explain along the way.

My circles are 2.5″ finished and usually a 1/4″ seam allowance is added. However with circles I like a bit of extra leeway, and so I’ve chosen a 3.5″ circle as my template. I’m using the Victorian Textiles Small Circle Set* as the circles are see through, allowing for a bit of fussy cutting.

Place the circle on the right side of the fabric (it’s often easier to see for fussy cutting than the wrong side)

20160224-152725.jpgand move it around

20160224-152746.jpguntil you’re happy with the circle you see (remembering there is a .5″ seam allowance)

20160224-153020.jpgUse a pencil to trace around the outside of the circle (I have a grey lead, plus coloured chalk penciled, depending on the colour of the fabric)

20160224-153129.jpgIf the circle is well into the body of the fabric, fold the fabric along the pencil line and use scissors to take a small nick

20160224-153250.jpginsert the scissors into the nick and proceed to cut out the circle

20160224-153326.jpgthe fabric might end up looking like Swiss cheese, but the surrounding area is more usable

20160224-153426.jpgThread up a needle with some strong thread and make a heavy duty knot. Starting about 1/4″ in from the edge, sew a small running stitch. Keep the stitches fairly small; smaller stitches make a smoother circle.

20160224-153654.jpgFinish the last stitch close to the knot and with the needle going to the right side of the fabric


20160224-153846.jpgI’m using Patchwork With Busy Fingers Circles (size 2.5″). Use the punch (mine is a .5″ circle shape) and clip the circle

20160224-154203.jpgPlace the paper circle onto the wrong side of the fabric circle

20160224-154244.jpgand draw up the running thread, pulling the thread diagonally across the circle to help the gathers form.

20160224-154336.jpgTurn over to the right side and check the fussy cutting. This is where the extra seam allowance comes in handy; there is enough leeway to move the fabric and adjust the circle if required.

20160224-154535.jpgTurn over to the wrong side and finish the thread with a knot.

20160224-154653.jpgI then like to starch the circle and I use Best Press* (comes in a variety of flavours scents, but I prefer the “scent free”) to fill the tube on a Water Erasable Pen* (best done over a sink!!).

20160224-155022.jpgUse the brush to “paint” the starch around the edges of the circle.  (Squeeze the tube to get the starch down into the brush to get it going.)

20160224-155113.jpgPlace the starched circle between layers of an Appliqué Mat* and press with a warm dry iron.  (Using an applique mat means the circle is protected from the heat of the iron while pressing.)

20160224-155208.jpgIf, like me, lots are needed for a project, pop the circle into a box to await its turn……

20160224-155300.jpgIf the circle is to be used immediately, wait for it to cool. Repeat! Wait For It To Cool (helps to keep the shape).

Audition a background.

20160224-155432.jpgTurn the circle to the wrong side and using the handle end of a fine Clover Hera Marker in the hole punched earlier,

20160224-155924.jpglift out the circle. (The circles can be used again and again.)

20160224-160005.jpgThe circle may need to be tweaked a little after taking the paper out.

Fold the background in half and finger press the edges,

20160224-160045.jpgand repeat on the other side

20160224-160117.jpgDo the same with the circle

20160224-160140.jpgmatching the first folds to get the second folds

20160224-160209.jpgMatch the folds of the circle with the folds of the background and pin the centre to secure

20160224-160315.jpgPin north, south, east and west ensuring the folds match. I also pin in between (probably overkill but it won’t move!)

20160224-160438.jpgUse an appliqué thread to match the circle and a straw needle and appliqué into position

20160224-160538.jpgJob done!

20160224-160601.jpgI hope this helps.

Meredithe x

* these products are available from the supplier Victorian Textiles; ask at your local shop for the stock. If they don’t have what you require, get them to order it in for you from Victorian Textiles.