Applique - The Freezer Paper Method

Thursday, July 31, 2014

There are many different methods of applique and they're all good for different reasons.  Today, I'm happy to share with you a quick tutorial on my favorite method of applique ~ The Freezer Paper Method!  This is the method I use 95% of the time and I like it for several different reasons.

Two of the main reasons I prefer this method over other methods 
is because:

1. The template is removed once the applique shape is prepared.
This is nice because there is no paper or other material left inside that needs to somehow be removed or is just left there 
to cause stiffness and bulk.

2. The shape is perfectly prepared before glue basting it in place.
This is nice because (A) you don't have to fiddle with and hope that you're needle turning skills will do the job and keep your shape looking as it should and (B) you can then position the shapes exactly where you want them and don't have to worry about your pieces shifting.

One downside to The Freezer Paper Method, is that it does require some prep work (but I don't really mind - my OCD tendencies like that part!)  Once you get your shapes prepared you are then able to take them with you in the car or or to a soccer game (or wherever!) and you're free to stitch away along the perfectly crisp edges you've already prepared.

So are you ready to try it out?

To get started you will need:

- Freezer Paper (which you can get at most grocery stores.  It is located by the wax paper and foil.)
- Spray Starch (I prefer the Faultless brand that you can get at most grocery stores.  I prefer the Regular Starch with the red lid but my store was out of it last time I checked.)
- a paint brush
- a small bowl or the starch lid
- a pencil
- scissors for paper and fabric
- basting glue (I prefer Appli-Glue by Jillily Studios)
- a pattern
- fabric for the applique shape and the background
- thread that matches the applique piece (I usually use 100% cotton, the Guitermann brand.  Some people prefer silk thread (it's nice too because it practically melts into your fabric but I've heard it's not as durable.)
- an applique needle (I use Milliners Size 11 Large Eye Needles by Richard Hemming & Son).

Step 1: Trace your pattern onto the paper side of freezer paper.

Step 2: Iron the freezer paper on top of two more pieces of freezer paper (paper sides up) to create one sturdy piece of template material.

3. Carefully cut out the shape.

4. Press the shape onto the wrong side of your fabric with paper side up.

5. Cut around the shape leaving a 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance.

6. Spray a little bit of starch into a small bowl or the starch lid.

7. Use a small paint brush to paint some liquid starch onto the seam allowance.  Just paint a couple inches at a time.

8. Carefully press the seam allowance onto the paper side of the template - wrapping the fabric around the edge of the template (without bumping the template too much where it would bend or distort the shape).  If your shape has a strong curve to it you may want to make some small clips in the seam allowance about 1/2" apart (being careful NOT to clip right up to the template).  My orange leaf (here) has a gentle curve so it was not necessary to clip the seam allowance. Also, if your shape has a crevice (such as at the top of a heart) you will need to clip in there too.

9. Continue to press the seam allowance around the entire template.

10. If you end up with these little dog ears, simply fold the part that is showing back underneath the template and press in place.  Use starch for extra hold.

11. Carefully remove the template and press the applique piece one last time. 

12. Apply small dots of basting glue about 1/4" apart on the seam allowances.

13. Adhere the applique shape onto your background fabric and press with a warm iron to set in place.

14. Thread a thin, sharp needle with coordinating thread.  Make a quilter's knot at the long end.

15. Starting at the backside of your fabric, bring the needle and thread through the background fabric (under your applique shape) and out through the fold of your applique shape.

16. Then take one stitch through the background fabric (starting directly under the point where your needle came out before).  Bring the needle and thread back through the fold of your applique shape about 1/8" away from the first stitch.  Continue taking these stitches around your shape until you get back to your starting point. Tie a knot on the backside of your fabric and you're done!

That's it!  I hope that if you have never tried applique (or don't think you're very good at it) you will try this method.  Practice makes perfect!  And coordinating thread sure helps too!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber