I mentioned on a previous post recently that I had tried lots of different methods for applique- this was mainly to just trial them and see which I prefer. While doing blocks for my ‘Lollipop Tree’ quilt, I’ve had ample opportunity to try them out! I finished another block this weekend…
..so thought I would show the method that I like the best, using freezer paper. First of all, I trace the pattern pieces onto the freezer paper and then cut them out right on the line.
I will be ironing those pattern pieces onto the wrong-side of the chosen fabric. You therefore need to remember, when tracing the pieces, to use a mirror-reverse of the design if appropriate: this pattern I’m doing is symmetrical, meaning that the left side of the block is the reverse-image of the right, so I have two of every piece each at reverse angle to the other and then it doesn’t matter how I place them on the wrong side of the fabric.
You then cut out each piece, allowing for a quarter inch seam allowance all around. I’m showing below the last piece I usually put on each block which is the tree trunk. You can free-hand cut it out- you don’t need to mark it all first. The seam allowance just gets turned under so it doesn’t have to be exact.
I take a can of spray starch, spray some into the can lid, and then dip into it with an old paintbrush.
Dab with the brush onto the seam allowance all around the piece. While it is still damp, press the seam allowance over with a hot iron.
You can use the tip of the iron to flip over the edge as you move it along, and use a stiletto to aid you.
Press all the edges down. Going around curves can be a little touchy but I have a trick to ensure you don’t get any tucks or pleats: when pressing the allowance over, press with the tip of the iron only along the very edge of the shape, like only a millimetre or two, so that the iron is just pressing along the very edge and not the whole seam allowance. Once you have gone around the edge of the curve, without any pleats, you can then press the whole 1/4″ seam allowance- it doesn’t matter if the allowance gets a tuck or looks a little frilly as long as the very edge is smooth. Just press all that down afterwards. It gets hidden underneath when you stitch it down anyway. You only need to worry about what the edge looks like from the right side.
Now the piece is ready to applique down. Peel off the piece of freezer paper and the pressed edges will stay in place and it will have nice crisp edges to stitch down.