The first step in making perfect appliqué circles is a product appropriately called Perfect Circles, by Karen Kay Buckley. The package consists of a whole bunch of circles which range in size from 2 1/4 inches to 4 1/2 inches. They are made from heat resistant plastic, and will not melt when ironed. There is a package with even smaller circles available as well, but the large ones are the ones I have used.
First step is to trace the size circle you are making on the wrong side of your fabric. I needed a four and half inch finished circle, so I had to guestimate a quarter inch seam allowance all the way around. It gets turned over, so precision isn't critical.
I grabbed my cut out circles and went out to the porch where the light was good to baste my circles. Here is how I did it:
Here is the wrong side of my circle resting on my leg while I baste it about an eighth of an inch from the edge.
Once you baste all around the edge of the fabric, place your template plastic circle on top of the wrong side of your fabric circle, centering it. Gently pull both ends of your gathering thread until the edge folds over evenly all around the circle.
Here is my little set up on the ironing board. By the way, I am using my Steady Betty board on top of the ironing board so I have a super firm surface for pressing. I sprayed a bit of liquid starch into a little bowl. I applied it with the brush all around the inside edge of the circle. You could also just spray the whole circle with the starch but it made a mess and seemed wasteful of the starch. Using the brush just apply the starch where you want it.
Once you get the edges pretty saturated with the starch, iron all around your turned edge. I then let everything sit for a bit to thoroughly dry out before removing the plastic circle.
And there is my finished perfect circle. Took longer to explain than to make it!
These circles will get cut equally into quarters to be appliquéd to the wedge sections. More on that in a future post.