I Love Appliqué - Lesson III

Posted by deonnstott on Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Lesson III ~ Turned-Edge Appliqué Basics

Turned-edge applique

and "SUNDROP" Basic Shades by RBD

Course Instructor, Deonn Stott
I love sharing tips and tricks that make the process of quilting easier (and sometimes easier on the budget), which consequently makes quilting more satisfying and enjoyable.  My motto:  If there's an easier way... let's find it!

Course Description
Next in a series of Appliqué lessons, Lesson III is a study of several quick ways to prepare applique' pieces with turned edges for a finished look.  We'll also talk a bit about the different ways to apply those prepared appliqué pieces to your quilt.

Lesson I's Raw Edge Machine Appliqué Basics can be found HERE, and you may want to try Lesson II's fun Chenille Appliqué technique HERE.  Next time, the series will wrap up with Traditional Needle-Turn Appliqué.

Let's take a visit to the kitchen and around the house to collect our supplies!  Get out the old pinking shears, too!  When trimming any curved edge, pinking shears are perfect for trimming out little wedges so the curves can be smooth.
You'll also need:

Turned-edge applique 
*Empty cereal boxes
*Freezer paper
*A clean, old dishtowel
*Used dryer sheets
*Paper-cutting scissors
*Pinking Shears
*Marking tools
*Large pins
*Glue Stick
*Lids, coins, cups, CD, etc., items that can be traced into circles.
Course Instructions

I.  Dryer Sheets
Gather some used dryer sheets.  Lightweight and cheap.  You may need to run them through another washer/dryer cycle to remove all traces of fabric softener.


Turned-edge applique
1)  Place dryer sheet over right side of fabric and trace desired shape.
2)  Stitch all the way around the drawn line; overlap beginning stitches.
3)  Trim 1/4" seam allowance using pinking shears.
4)  Make a slit in the dryer sheet, then turn appliqué piece right side out through the slit.
5)  Press, smoothing out seam allowance.  Your piece is all ready to stitch in place.

NOTE:  This method also works with lightweight fusible interfacing - just stitch with the fusible adhesive side right toward the right side of your fabric.  Finger press to smoothe out the curves, then PRESS into place, ready to stitch down.

Turned-edge applique  

II.  Freezer Paper
(A) Shiny side down
1)  Trace shape on the dull side of Freezer Paper.

Turned-edge applique
2)  Press freezer paper, waxy side down, onto wrong side of fabric.  The wax will adhere to the fabric without leaving residue.
3)  Trim fabric to 1/4" seam allowance with pinking shears.
4)  Lay a dishtowel over ironing surface then starch edges of appliqué piece.  Spray starch directly onto fabric, or spray a bit of starch into a lid until it collects a bit, then apply to fabric edges with a small paintbrush or cotton swab. 
5)  Press edges around freezer paper, holding iron in place until fabric is dry and edges hold their shape.  Remove freezer paper, and your appliqué piece is ready to go.

Turned-edge applique

(B)  Shiny side up
1)  Trace shape on the dull side of Freezer Paper.
2)  Use glue stick to lightly adhere dull side of freezer paper to wrong side of fabric.

Turned-edge applique
3)  Trim fabric to 1/4" seam allowance with pinking shears.
4)  Iron seam allowance to shiny/waxy side of freezer paper to turn edges.  Fabric will stick to waxy side of freezer paper.  Use a lower setting on the iron.

Turned-edge applique

Turned-edge applique

5)  Do not remove the freezer paper yet.  Machine-stitch appliqué to foundation using tiny zigzag stitch with monofilament thread.
6)  Trim out back side of fabric beneath appliqué, leaving a seam allowance.
7)  Remove freezer paper.

III.  Starch & Cereal Boxes  ** My Favorite **
An adaptation of Great-Grandma Hoopes' cardboard template method.  Remember that all cereal boxes are not created equal.  I like to use boxes that are sturdy but not too thick to easily cut.  Take long, smooth cuts with the scissors to keep the edges smooth.  Your appliqué piece will only be as smooth as your cutout.  If necessary, use a nail file smooth out the rough edges.
1)  Trace shape, cut out cardboard.
2)  Trace cardboard template onto wrong side of fabric, then trim fabric to 1/4" seam allowance with pinking shears.

Turned-edge appliqueTurned-edge applique





3)  Spray or brush liquid starch onto appliqué edges.

Turned-edge applique

4)  Anchor template through the center with a large pin so you can rotate as you press.
5)  Press seam allowance over cardboard cutout until starch dries.

 Turned-edge applique

6)  Allow to cool, then remove cardboard.  Your appliqué shape is ready to place and stitch.
Turned-edge applique 

IV.  Other Methods $$
(A) - Mylar Template Plastic
Creates a sharp, flat edge without melting the template.  Available at quilt shops or online stores.  I don't have any of this product to demonstrate, but I would use the same technique as with the cereal box.
(B) - Appliqué StabilizerThis technique requires a specialty item designed by Sharon Shamber, and is only available on her website.  It is a leave-in product that after washing turns into fiber and gives a bit of a trapunto look to your appliqué.  
1)  Trace and cut out stabilizer, pin to wrong side of fabric.
2)  Trim fabric to 1/4" seam allowance with pinking shears.
3)  Glue seam allowance around edges of stabilizer to turn the edges, and you're ready to appliqué! 

Turned-edge applique 

Turned-edge applique
1. Freezer Paper Template,   2. Applique' Stabilizer,   3. Cardboard Template

OK, now a word about applying the appliqué - the appliqué-tion...  Some of the same methods used in our Raw-Edge Machine-Appliqué lesson can be used to stitch on Turned-Edge applique' pieces as well:  Straight Stitch, Blanket Stitch, Zig-Zag.  You can see examples of these methods HERE.  The Blanket Stitch is also nice when stitched by hand.

Hand-stitch appliqué:  Basically the same stitch used when binding a quilt.  Using a single strand of thread, tie a knot in one end.  Secure your thread beneath the appliqué piece, then take a stitch so that the needle comes out of the folded edge of the appliqué, and directly into the fabric behind it.  Travel a bit through the background fabric, then come out into the appliqué piece trying to keep as close to the fold as possible.  Then either bring the thread directly out of the fold and back into the background one stitch at a time, or travel through the fold a bit and then bring the needle out at the fold, as pictured, commonly called a hemstitch.  The goal with this method is to make your stitches less noticeable. 
 Turned-edge applique
Hand-appliqué used to be a bit intimidating, but now I really enjoy it, especially the fact that it's portable!  This shot was taken last week while sitting on the hotel porch as the sun came up, waiting to go and teach a quilting class.  Bliss.
Turned-edge applique 
Hope this tutorial has given you some techniques to try, and maybe even taken the fear and trepidation out of the word "Appliqué"!  

By the way, if you'd like to stop by my BLOG, you can see a tutorial to make this fun Dresden block.  You're always welcome to stop by Quiltscapes any time!

Happy Sewing!

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Category: Sewing Basics


  1. Excellent lesson! Thank you!!
    by Angie in SoCal
    July 24th, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.
  2. I have been wanting to applique for a while. Had heard about using drier sheets but wasn't clear how. Happened upon your lesson which made it very clear. I like the different ideas offered and can't wait to try them out! Do you wash your quilt afterward to get out the starch or leave it in? Heard rumor that starch attracts silverfish. Haven't washed my unstarched quilts. Would Best Press work well for applique and be a better choice?Thanks for your note, Karen!  I have never had a problem with silverfish, but yes - once the applique' is attached and the quilt is quilted, it can be washed.  Best Press is a great starch substitute as it does not flake like starch can.  It also comes in different scents, too.  If the cost isn't an issue it is a great choice.  Try a few techniques, then see what works best for you.  It's all about the joy of expressing your creativity!  ~ Deonn
    by Karen in Fenton MI
    February 15th, 2015 at 5:19 p.m.

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