Applique Tips & Tricks

With so many different ways to applique, we all have our favorite methods and new ones are coming along all of the time. I like trying new ideas, and methods, and so am always open to what I can learn that’s new. Whether I end up liking it or not.

So with that idea in mind, I decided to just do a tips and tricks page of things I like or do often in applique. I am a machine user, I do not do it by hand unless it’s absolutely necessary and then I’m more than likely going to hire someone to do it for me. So please bear in mind that while some things on this page could be used for hand sewers, these are geared for the machine user.

Editing Designs

Sometimes when we are creating a block, we get it in our minds that we’d like to change something. This happens to me more than I can say, so I will talk about how I do this.

Most of the time I already have the freezer paper shape cut out and because I use printable freezer paper now I am hesitant to waste a shape.

So I draw on the fabric as in the case below. I knew.. that I was going to create a dimensional bow on Little Treasures 03, but did I remember to design the block that way.. Nope.. I sure didn’t, I even got the face all stitched out with the outlines before I realized I’d forgotten to reshape it.

I did do the hair, so I’m going to show you how I reshaped the hair prior to stitching it out. I did redo the face, so I learned a bit of a lesson in that respect.


Here is the hair shape, I needed to edit the bottom sides where you see the curves, make them straight in other words.

So I used my Sewline pencil and drew them in.


This worked perfectly and when it was finished stitching out this is how it looked


Thus when the bows went on, noone was going to see the background or frayed edges from the face and hair if they weren’t covered.

Cutting Shapes

This isn’t about cutting shapes in particular, it’s more about techniques that should be done while you are cutting.

We all know to cut that 1/4-inch seam allowance around our freezer paper shapes, so that’s not anything new and I’m not sure that this part of my tips has anything you don’t know already, but let’s just see ok 🙂


In the above shape, I know it well enough to know that I didn’t really need to cut the inner squarish area. So I didn’t. Not only is it a piece that doesn’t get turned under there’s a small chance it wouldn’t get covered, so why take the chance. I chose not to.


With this above piece, these trims are on what I call a hard curve. You do not want to cut at the top of the curve, what happens if you do is you end up with a pointed effect. Instead, cut your slits at the edges of that curve. Trim seam allowance to 1/8-inch.


These seam allowances haven’t been cut as yet, but they were trimmed again after the cuts because of the skinniness of the stem. The inner curve on this stem had quite a few cuts, keep in mind that you won’t always know their is a curve, so keep a pair of scissors handy so that you can easily give it a snip.


When cutting corners or points, instead of cutting points, cut across the point, you can then lower the seam allowance to 1/8-inch around the points. It’s important to cut points and remove enough fabric to prevent bunching when turned inside out or turning your seam allowance for applique. Bunching creates a “knot” like feeling when touched.


As you can see once this was totally turned, their is quite a bit of curving going on.

Holding With Pins

I LOVE this tip, OMG.. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself to be honest… Last year I was watching a video on youtube about applique, and this woman was showing how when she is putting her glue on, she places a pin in the shape to hold it in place.



It works great, while it’s awesome for the small pieces it works even with the pieces like stems.


I’ve read quite often that people like to use freezer bags, or there own pre-made storage bags to store there small pieces of scraps. While I do use freezer bags, I don’t use them right off that bat. To me, the freezer bag is really for a more permanent storage of the scraps until I want to use some scrappies.  So as I’m cutting and sewing I tend to throw my scraps into a bin this isn’t a permanent solution but it’s nice for me because I don’t have to constantly worry that the bag will fall off the sewing table, or that I can even find the bag.


I use these bins to also keep projects I’m working on in. They are handy and I can keep everything I need for that project in the bin. I usually have about 5 of these bins in use and another 5 ready to be used. To say I’m a hoarder is true, when I buy something I don’t usually just buy 1.. I’ll buy 5 or 10 of them. LOL Especially if I like it.


Blindstitching is not a difficult thing to learn to do, but you do have to watch it as your sewing, even if your using the blind hem foot.

I test my blindstitching lengths before I start stitching. I like using wide zigzags at times and short ones at other times so I test for which stitch length I need. I should have made these samples with colored thread, but I tend to use invisible thread in my needle.


I start out with a few scraps of fabric


I start with the default stitch and move into the widest after a few stitches


I write them down as I find the lengths that I like.

Keeping Things Together

Once everything is ready and I’m ready to stitch my shapes to the background, I gather everything by the fabric color, not the shape. If I do it by the area, it’s always harder for me to find the shape I need than if I keep it together by the color.


These are shapes from Little Treasures 02. I piled them up by color and pull them as I need them as I’m stitching.

As I think of more little tips, I will add them to this page.. Stay Tuned!!



2 thoughts on “Applique Tips & Tricks

  1. i love to watch and read your posts …i am learning so much …you make it look and it is easier…thank you so much …i think i have been on here for over an hour…take care and enjoy showing us that are new to this that it is easier than what you think and i can and will be able to do this …

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